Looking for the best board games for kids? Here’s my list of 50+ games for kids from toddler to age 10 (and games adults will enjoy playing, too). There’s no such thing as having too many board games…
What are the best board games for kids?
Sign me up for a good game night: I love board games. But kids…. hmmm… it gets a little trickier trying to find games for kids that are still fun for adults or older siblings.
Over my tenure as a parent (my oldest is 9), I’ve looked high and low for the Holy Grail of board games: games that works for the whole family.
RELATED: Looking for more toy ideas for kids? Check out my list of 100+ toys broken down by age!
Board games are awesome for kids
I give my kids a new game for every birthday or Christmas – we have grown quite a collection over the past years and I am here for that!
I truly think of board games for kids as a “write off” toy: you can’t have too many.
Board games teach our kids so many amazing skills and we need these powerful tools in our lives. Here are just a few of the many skills developed in board game play:
- Communication skills
- Taking turns
- Winning AND losing graciously
- Rule following
- Math skill (most board games have a math element to them when you really think about it…)
RELATED: Need some more gift ideas? Try my guide to the best puzzles for kids!
When can kids start playing board games?
How young is too young? How early is too early?
For my kids, age 3 was the golden ticket number for each kiddo with “entry level” game play. These are games like Candy Land and Memory – simple to understand and limited rules to follow.
Around age 3 is when I started helping my kids amass their board game collection and board game repertoire.
How the game list is organized
I’ve separated this list into age categories based on when a child may first be interested in this game.
This does not mean this is the only age group that will enjoy the game, as these games are fun for many years. Do not fly past games on this list. These work for broad ages of kids – not only the grouping I placed it in.
List revealed: The best board games for kids
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A cooperative play game – Outfoxed is a team game (there’s no winner – everyone works together to catch the fox). It’s a bit like clue for kids with some really cool elements that make it even fun for adults.
Note about Outfoxed: This is a truly special game that will be enjoy by kids well into elementary school. The first time they will be interested in it is late preschool-age.
Hoot Owl Hoot!
A cooperative play game where everyone works together to win (or lose together). These games are fun for little ones to learn basic game play skills (like taking turns).
This is the most adorable game with gems, dice, and cute wooden unicorns. It’s a sweet game for little learners – and one that big kids and adults won’t mind playing.
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!
This game gets 10k reviews on Amazon, and I can add 3 more five-star reviews from my kids. It’s a sweet little game with cute pieces.
The Fairy Game
A cooperative learning game (win together or lose together), The Fairy Game pits the players again “Mr. Winter.” Will you help the fairies save the garden? This game is really fun.
Kids on Stage
This is the perfect charades game for kids – it’s just so well done. If you have drama-loving kids, acting it out here will be the best. My kids love this game still.
Animal Upon Animal
Roll the dice and stack the animals. This game is fantastic because not only is it fun… but the pieces make a great toy for kids to play with.
An absolute whole family favorite and works from age two to 92. It’s a lot about luck in this game of building color matching snakes. This was the first “board game” my oldest ever played.
Need a travel game? A car game? A diaper bag game? You need Spot it! It’s part matching, part Where’s Waldo and really just about the best “toy” to always have on you. Fun for all ages of kids.
Hi Ho Cherry-O
It’s a GOAT for a reason. If you are looking to add hands-on counting and math skill games into your playroom, this should be on your short list.
This “eye spy” style game is really fun and enjoyable – it’s one that you will really like playing with your toddler or preschooler (and my big kids love it still).
Yeti in My Spaghetti
What a perfect game for toddlers on up to elementary school – it’s been a favorite here for half a decade. It’s got a very Jenga-element: remove the spaghetti without letting the Yeti fall.
It’s a little bit memory, a little bit carnival game. The ducks move on a rotating track and my kids LOVE it. This 39 year old happens to really enjoy this one too.
A total game of luck and suspense: remove bananas carefully… but one of them will shoot the money sky high. It’s a riot.
Let’s Go Fishin’
Do you remember this one? The fish spin and you try to reel them in. I love this one because kids can play alone OR in a group.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
It’s a classic for a reason. Everyone should own Hungry Hungry Hippos. The End.
This is a just-right-for-kids BINGO!!! This is the best little game for kids and parents – a fun alternative to traditional BINGO.
Remember, these aren’t games that only 5 year olds will like. These are games where 5+ is the first age to begin playing it – but not the only age.
We love Monza! This game has a beginning and advanced board (double sided). As kids and adults get better at this race car dice game, you get more skilled in strategy. This is a cool game.
Throw Throw Burrito
This was the stand-out new game for my family in 2022. It’s an all play game (you don’t take turns) and each round ends with people in your family throwing foam burritos at each other. There just isn’t much more we can ask for from a game. It’s perfect.
I recommend 5 and 6 year olds partner with a family member at least in the beginning.
This is a really fun game for the older kids (the box says 8+, I’d say 5+). The goal is to wake up as many queens as possible… but it takes a little skill and a little luck to win. Side note: I would play this one with adults too. It’s that fun.
Hello to the favorite of my neighborhood for all of last winter. Ages 4.5+ on this one and have the best time trying to avoid the rat and find the cats. This one plays in fast rounds, best with 3+ players (IMO).
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
An absolute winner!!!! I’m not sure how to explain this one: it’s a rapid fire card game with a slap jack element. Can you just take my word? Kids over about age 6 (and adults) will love it. Ah! There’s just something about this game. *Chef’s Kiss*
Guess In 10
Basically 21-questions as a card game but it helps focus kids and give them hints, clues, and actually interesting information about the animal the other player is trying to guess. Reading skills are helpful with this one or play in teams.
Other Guess In 10 options:
Another “all play” game (no taking turns). It’s fast-paced and wild. Work to restore the habitat of your National Park… it’s easier than it sounds. A great learning opportunity and a truly fun game for adults, kids, or a mix.
This game took our neighborhood by storm (ages 4-14 playing). Each kid gets two ribbon wrist bans. They “fight” to get them off like flag football. It sounds simple…and yet, there’s something incredible about it.
A true classic – there’s something so adorable about kids playing such an old fashioned game. My 3 kids (6, 7, 9) absolutely love this one and have for many years.
Another game that took my family by storm this year. Players draw cards until one “explodes” (very Russian roulette) and the anticipation builds…then strategy comes into play.
My kids introduced Exploding Kittens to their aunt and she immediately bought it for her adult friends. It’s that good.
Do you remember this game? You need to add all the pieces back into the puzzle before the timer pops them all loose. It’s fun for kids with the pressure and even without the timer turned on – and it’s all about spatial awareness…
Ok technically not a board game but this is the best. It’s not easy but trying to follow the verbal directions of the game with a physical motion is hilarious. Perfect for littles, bigs, and adults (not to toot my own horn, but I do have the neighborhood record right now…).
Did you play Mancala as a kid? I did. Then as a K-1 teacher, I watched hundreds of students fall in love with this. Now, I’ve watched the same magic come over my kids. Mancala is a joy.
You had it as a kid and guess what? It’s still fun as an adult. It’s simple for little ones but still challenging for adults (I’ve still yet to complete a full operation without the buzzer)…
Gnomes at Night
This is another cooperative play game – but the 5-6+ crowd. It’s a maze based game and my kids always grab for it at the neighbor’s house.
A single player logic game like no other – it’s just hysterical. The player is given clues about the arrangement of a crime scene (who knocked over the plant?) and must work to figure out which dog is guilty.
Who doesn’t love playing Connect 4? The ultimate game of thinking skills – every house should have it.
Original Uno (I linked to it) is one of the first great “adult” card games kids can begin playing around kindergarten-age. Uno Attack is the version we love the most – this comes of road trip vacations with us.
No Stress Chess
Do you have a child interested in Chess? This is a great way to start them off. Players flip cards over that tell them what to do each turn. While it does take the logic out of Chess, it teaches children the moves of the game and lays a great foundation.
Dinosaur – Mystic Island (Logic Game)
This solo play logic game is so much fun – we actually have 3 total games that are similar. My 8-year-old says this one is the most complicated.
This really is Monopoly for kids – it’s so good, such a great first step, and so perfectly done. My son latched onto this game at age 4 and spent most of the year obsessing over it. It plays in about 15 minutes, unlike regular Monopoly.
10/10 game with many elements. Think Jenga, House of Cards, and Uno rolled into one game with a tiny wooden Rhino as the kicker. This game is excellent for ages 6 to adult (caught my wholesome husband playing it alone).
This game both simple and incredibly challenging (it’s definitely both a kid game AND an adult game). It’s all about visual discrimination and seeing groupings of shapes.
Super cool game (and game series) with multiplication elements so be ready for that. Players are connecting kingdoms like dominoes in this fantasy-based tabletop game.
This has been a family favorite since I was in high school. When my then-8 year old could play, it was my full circle moment. Create sets of 3 or more cards which sounds simple enough in round one… but the last round has 13 cards. It’s so fun.
This is an easy one to forget about in the shuffle of fancy new games – but there’s so much good that comes from Yahtzee (and so much math).
Set in a mythical forest, Dragonwood is rich with strategy opportunities and game play critical thinking. A great first step before some of the more complex tabletop fantasy games.
I love this game – and I loved it as a kid. It’s like “Scrabble for beginners.” Instead of only playing words on a flat 2D surface, Upwords allows players to build off of already played words. “Mouse” can be changed to “mount.” It completely levels the playing field.
We love this. By we, I mean, my kids AND my husband and me. In fact, my husband and I regularly play this without the kids. It’s like a game of Tetris but actively hindering the person next to you. So much strategy and critical thinking.
I know the box says 5+. I disagree. Maybe 7+. Definitely a hit at age 8+.
A very tricky single-player logic puzzle series. The game comes with a deck of cards and dog game pieces. The goal is to lay the pieces on each card per the puzzle specifications. It’s not easy.
Direct from my then 8-year-old: “This is a very fun game, but hard at first. You’ll get the hang of it. This game is fun and I just beat my dad twice.” This game is awesome but definitely 8+.
Can you build some of the Ancient Egypt monuments like Imhotep? Using little boats and blocks, this strategy game is my 9-year-old’s favorite and takes just under an hour to complete.
There is a reason this is one of the most popular games in the 10+ category. With a new playing board every time you play, Catan can be played on repeat. It also helps children develop skills in strategy and critical thinking – this game is a legend.
A strategy board game using mosaic tiles, my 9-year-old and husband love this game. It’s competitive, strategic, and take under 45 minutes to complete.
Based around trade routes and jewels, this strategy game is fun for 10+ to adults. My sister-in-law taught this to my son and he was blown away. Game play is faster for this one compared to similar games (just about 30 minutes to play a round).
Absolutely the most beautiful – but most complicated – game on this list. It comes with tiny eggs, a bird house to build… it’s really something else. You also learn a lot about birds from playing it which is a fun bonus. Wingspan will take some time (and Youtube videos) to learn, but it’s worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of our board games are stored in clear zipper pouches rather than boxes. This saves space and makes it easier for my kids to find the games they’re looking for. I wrote about how to store board game here.
I noticed my kids were first interested in games around age 3. This seemed like a great time for my family to start game play – but remember, all families are different and have different kids. You’ll have to make this call for your family.
Most kids are. This isn’t something unique to just your child. Kids don’t like losing… humans generally don’t. With board games, we build our understanding that losing and failure have no impact on our value, worth, or who we are. That’s an important lesson to learn and carry throughout life.
As the adult, what can you do? Win at board games. Let kids lose. Let them learn how to manage and process those feelings. They can only do that with practice, so buckle up, be supportive, and model/normalize losing when it happens to you.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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