We’ve been itching to play board games for kids with our family for a while, so once everyone was on board (no pun intended), we hit the ground running, seeking out what all three of our children can enjoy together. Here are 13 ways to spice up family game night!
We’ve played and tested these games over the last year, so much that I can play in my sleep. My four-year-old, six-year-old, and seven-year-old have kept my husband and me on our toes with this collection, and I cannot wait any longer to share them with you.
And boy, did we find some winners! – And, of course, I’ll leave the ho-hum games we tried off this list. Why add something that doesn’t spark joy?
The Best Toys for Kids
Choosing the best toy for kids can be a daunting task.
Here are the BEST toys for kids of every age and stage.
Why Play Board Games with Kids?
Do you remember board games as a kid? It is safe to say you do. We grew up with some fun classics! I couldn’t get enough from Clue to Mall Madness (I realize I just dated myself). Board games make the best birthday or holiday gift. The AAP has a good read about 3 ways your child builds important life skills through play here.
What Board Games Teach Us:
- How to win
- How to lose – and what that feels like
- Communication skills
- Taking turns
- Playing by the rules
- What to do when a player cheats
Math + Literacy
- Number recognition
- Number sense
Related: Have some baseball players? Check out this homemade baseball game!
How to Make a Board Game for Kids
The funny thing is that we played board games with our kids long before we purchased them from the store.
We got pretty great at making homemade board games for kids, and they eventually took the lead in setting it up. This rainbow DIY board game is the perfect example of how fun and simple this can be!
Related: Board games this indoor activity list are great for winter!
How to Make a Board Game for Kids (7 Simple Steps)
- Tape and White Paper: First, tape down your white paper.
- Outline and Section: Use a black marker to create the game’s outline and divide the twisted circle into small sections.
- Color Code Sections: Use colored markers in a few sections of your board game with different colors. Leave a few blanks.
- Create “Backwards” Stickers: Next, use three to four stickers and place them on your board. Mark these spaces for going backward in the game.
- Create “Forward” Stickers: Add three to four stickers and place them on your board. Mark these spaces for going forward in the game. Add ladders for opportunities to advance.
- Get Placeholders: Place your placeholders in the start section of the game.
- Use Cards or Dice: Place a deck of cards or large dice next to the board to start the game. If you’re using cards, the number on the card pulled is the number of moves.
Once you play a few rounds of your homemade board game, you’ll be ready to dive into more! It is incredible to watch the different variations they come up with on their own.
Related: How do we store our board games? Check out toy storage and solutions.
13 Best Board Games for Kids
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Need an easy game? Try TROUBLE. If you have been following us for some time, you understand why I need to add TROUBLE at the top of this list. TROUBLE is the first game my four-year-old feels capable of playing.
This board game helps my son recognize number symbols and helps him slow down moving from space to space. This game also teaches us that sometimes our playing piece gets sent back to the start. Losing is a skill that may take time and practice to lose graciously.
This memory-matching game is the BEST! We love many Eboo products, and this memory game takes the cake. My seven-year-old seems to swipe in and scoop up all the matches as I try to remember where I left my water bottle. – Let’s say me playing is probably a good thing for my brain! We are so hooked on memory games that we enjoy the I Never Forget a Face variation.
Calling all actors and actresses! Our family cracks up when all three of my boys show off their acting skills, trying to guess one another’s cards. It is delightful to watch our youngest son. His acting is on point! No reading is required because there is a picture included on each card. This is a lot of fun for the entire family!
Have you played Monopoly with your kids? Super Mario Monopoly was our introduction to Monopoly, and I am so happy we started here. It simplified the parts and pieces needed to advance players and purchase properties with only two coins to play. My boys also love the Mario Brothers, so this game was a winner as soon as the boys unwrapped it.
Talk about hand-eye coordination! This game has all ages holding a steady hand as the fish connects to the small fishing pole. We’ve played this game since my boys were three. It’s a great game to keep at the grandparent’s house to play together.
A friend suggested this Ticket to Ride board game for kids for my six and seven-year-olds to play. It has inspired lots of strategic thinking! The goal is to complete train routes by gathering cards of coordinating colors. We like to play this game before bedtime and get everyone involved. If you are looking for a new board game for elementary-aged children, THIS IS IT!
Another winner was suggested to us by a friend! Roll the dice and plug in the wooden circles. The goal is to fill in the missing spaces using the different puzzle pieces. Players can play this game alone or challenge a friend to see who can complete the puzzle in time. The Genius Square is SUCH a fantastic board game for elementary-aged children and beyond.
Zingo is easy to learn and fun for ages 4+. Build language skills by matching simple words with their image—clear instructions to play.
Jenga is another game that works well with many different ages. Stack the pieces up and carefully pull one at a time without having the tower tumble over. Steady hands and a slight risk are the focus of this game.
You may have seen this classic before. Just like Jenga, Don’t Break the Ice presents a fun challenge to hold a steady hand and take a little risk without causing the ice to come crashing down.
Qwirkle is a game we can introduce at a young age. The idea is to build lines by matching the tiles based on color or shape. Younger children can play with matching tiles. Older children can deepen the play by adding spatial recognition, planning, and problem-solving skills to collect points for each line created—an excellent game to extend concepts such as sorting objects by more than one attribute.
Try These Board Games for Kids today!
What we learn in school may be the foundations, but playing board games allows us to put the concepts into practice! Let’s improve on what we’ve learned through play. Board games do just that! Board games for kids have entered our home and are here to stay.
Which game will you introduce to your family first? I cannot wait to hear which board game you pick.
More Toy Ideas for Kids:
Frequently Asked Questions
My older three-year-old really enjoyed Trouble and Sequence. I start by teaching my preschooler how to play correctly and modify based on maturity. For Trouble, we had some time where we focused more on recognizing number symbols and total amounts over the strategy of sending players home.
My boys really enjoy Super Mario Monopoly. Use coins to buy properties, build houses, and win! This game also teaches them strategy and how to lose.
Losing isn’t easy, which is why we practice. We shake hands at the end of each family game night and say great game. This builds sportsmanship. The more we play, the more wins and losses to practice feeling both.