The Best Board Games for Kids
Whether it’s a school break, a rainy weekend, or a car trip, we’ve all been in the dreadful “nothing to do and now my child is on the verge of mutiny” boat. But fear not, because I have the answer to your problems and it requires exactly zero screen time.
As I’ve been making more of an effort to provide the kids with screen-free entertainment, I’ve rediscovered my childhood love of board games. Even better, now that I’m a parent I can really appreciate the developmental component of board games, and I love that I can help my kids learn while they have fun.
I know you may be thinking that board games are better suited for kids and not toddlers, but I promise you there is a game on this list for almost any kid. Plus, there’s no Commissioner of Board Game Rules, so feel free to change or simplify the game so that younger and older kids can enjoy them.
Finding the Perfect Game for You
If you’ve ever walked down the games and puzzles aisle at a toy store (or browsed on Amazon), it can get pretty overwhelming! When I’m on the hunt for a new game for the kids, I like to keep a few things in mind:
What are the age limits? If A game is recommended for a child slightly older than yours, go ahead and try it out! They may be able to grasp more of it than you think. And if not, you’ve got games covered for a few months down the line.
Avoid small parts! This is especially important when you have a crawler or younger toddler around. Save yourself the hassle of trying to keep all of the pieces out of mouths and in the box by going for games that have larger and fewer pieces.
Buy used when you can. Kids are hard on everything and that includes games. If you’re near a thrift store or a kids’ consignment shop, stop by and see if you can find any games there. They’ll definitely be less expensive than brand new and you won’t have to worry about keeping the game in it’s “good” condition.
Where I Shop for Games
Without our beloved Toys R’ US in business, I was a little stumped on where to look for games in a physical store. So far I’ve had great luck at these chain locations:
Barnes & Noble
Any museum store or gift shop
Depending on the services your local library has, you may be able to check out games and puzzles for free from their kids’ department! Not only is that a huge cost saver, but it makes it easy to bring new finds home. If your library doesn’t have a games section, consider switching games with some momma friends for a week or two to mix things up for both of you.
One // Move and Groove Dance Game // This option is perfect for younger kids. The size of the cards are perfect for little hands to hold and the plush cube makes it easy to create an interactive play space.
Two // Alphabet Go Fish // Learnings disguised as fun? Sign me up! I love using the Alphabet Go Fish game to practice letters and since it doesn’t require a board, it can be played in the car or on a plane.
Three // Crazy Eights // Crazy Eights is a classic card game and I love that this version is designed specifically for kids. The cards are large and easy to keep track of and the compact case makes it another perfect travel game.
Four // Charades for Kids // Four words, rhymes with yum, and it’s what we’re doing right now. That’s right, having so much FUN. Since the game is intended to be played with kids, the concepts are easy to act out and fun for the whole family to get involved.
Five // I Can Do That! // Inspire some confidence, develop motor skills, and practice following directions all with one awesome game that is perfect for kids big and small.
Six // Connect 4 // I know I keep saying it, but board games are awesome for developing critical thinking and other skills. Connect four is better suited for kids (vs. toddlers) and is a great way to work on counting, colors, and strategy.
Seven // Sorry! // The updated version of Sorry! goes beyond the board to bring digital content and real life fun together all in the span of one game night. Games like Sorry! are a perfect way to mix your childhood memories with new family traditions.
Eight // Spot It! // Each card has only two matching symbols - can you be the first to find it? Spot It! is a great way to help your kiddos practice identifying shapes and practice matching objects.
Nine // Pop: Balloon Games // With 50 games in one box, you’re sure to find something that appeals to everyone. Pop is a great way to bring board game fun outdoors, especially when you need to burn some energy and time.
Ten // Let’s Go Fishin’ XL // Double the fish and at least double the fun, the Let’s Go Fishin’ XL will keep your kids entertained while helping them to develop fine motor skills as well as other soft skills like patience and concentration.
Eleven // Twister // Was a sleepover even really a sleepover without a game of Twister? Not in my house! Twister is another great game to help kids identify colors and body parts, not to mention the fit of laughter that’s sure to come when the kids get twisted together.