Best Board Games for Kids at Every Age – 2018 Edition

Learning and fun have always come easy when it comes to board games. Whether you’re trying to sharpen your memory reflexes, or you’re looking to relax and reduce stress....
boy playing jenga

Learning and fun have always come easy when it comes to board games. Whether you’re trying to sharpen your memory reflexes, or you’re looking to relax and reduce stress. Maybe you’re wanting to purchase something for your child this holiday season. Whatever the case may be, there are specific board games that work well for all age groups. In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of board games for kids of all ages, the factors you should consider before purchasing, as well as tips to know before diving in.

For years, there have been studies and articles trying to prove if there were any educational benefits to using board games. While it’s been proven time and time again that some are fantastic for introducing your lesson plan into their lives, not every board game will have educational properties to them – and that’s okay!

With each age range comes a difficulty range. Not every five-year-old can be as quick as one another, and your board game choice may reflect that. With some of the games we mention, you’ll find that some work better than others. We’ll even have some simpler games for those that don’t want to be too strict with their kids.

Benefits of Buying Board Games for Kids of All Ages

It’s no secret that not all kids are the same with their interests, especially when it comes to board games. We’ve all been there: too tired or too uninterested to actually play, and you practically forfeit your turn every round. When the board game is something all kids can enjoy together, the group can have fun as a whole, and no one will be left in that “I’m bored and don’t want to play” daze.

Benefits board games for all kids:

A very obvious, but acceptable benefit of buying board games for kids of all ages includes the entertainment aspect. Whether you’re trying to teach them in class or bring in a bit of fun at home, introducing your methods via a board game is extremely effective. Maybe your lesson plan wants them to learn about history or strategy, and a board game may be the choice for you.

There are board games for every niche you can think of, and those that want to bring in a bit of fun to the classroom or at home with critical thinking, math, and logic, can do so with ease. Of course, you should know what type of board game is best for what age range, and your basic 2+2 game may not work for those that are in double digits and ready for something more solid.

Best Board Games for 3-Year-Olds

When playing a board game with a three-year-old, you don’t want to be too serious. They’re young, full of imagination, and don’t have to worry about being crazy good at strategy just yet. During this time, you mostly want to focus on fun games that allow your child to sharpen their reflexes – but nothing too intense. Here are the best board games for 3-year-olds.

Yeti in My Spaghetti

yeti in my spaghetti

Manufactured by PlayMonster, Yeti in my Spaghetti is an adorably fun game that tests the reflexes of those playing. It’s silly, and quite easy to play with minimal rules. Features include:

  • Includes 30 noodles, yeti, bowl
  • Best played with more than 2 players
  • For ages 3 and up

The objective of the game is to place noodles within the bowl, with the yeti sitting on top. Each turn, you’ll take away one noodle string, but you can’t let the Yeti fall! When he falls in the bowl, the person that removed that piece of spaghetti loses.

The Advantages of this Game

This is a fun game that’s unpredictable each turn you play. If you want to keep your kids busy, in a fun and non-competitive manner, try out Yeti in My Spaghetti. One of the better advantages is that someone can’t win before someone loses, so super competitive children won’t feel too bummed about an unexpected win.

The Disadvantages of this Game

Unlike the picture on the cover, the noodles aren’t as condensed and compact. They’re actually needed for supporting the yeti, so it may not be as easy as you think!

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Candy Land – The World of Sweets

candy land

One of the most notorious children’s games on the market, and has been for decades, Candy Land brings a world of color, sweets, and fun to the table. Features include:

  • For ages 3-6
  • A 2-4 player game
  • Sweet version includes racing to the castle
  • Gameboard, 4 pawns, and deck included

Wanting to combat your child’s sweet tooth? Give them this instead. While we don’t encourage your child scarfing down sweets, they won’t have to taste the real thing when playing this infamous game! Featuring everything you need to get started, including a new race to the castle (an upgraded feature from the retro version), your kids will have tons of fun!

The Advantages of this Game

We love the sweet version because of the added race to the castle. It gives kids a bit more to play with, and they can further immerse themselves in the world of Candy Land.

The Disadvantages of this Game

If you want to teach your child strategy, we don’t think that this is the best option, although it’s a great beginner game for those that just want their kids to have fun!

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Best Board Games for 4-Year-Olds

Four-year olds are just old enough to begin communicating with others properly, which is great for board games. Three-year olds can be adorable when it comes to board games, but four is when they start maturing a bit to play their own hand against their opponents. While we don’t recommend Battleship or anything strategic like that, there are other types of strategy or educational games that they can benefit from. Here are some great games for 4-year-olds:

Monopoly Junior Board Game – Hasbro

monopoly junior

We don’t think you should introduce the real and full game to them just yet, as it takes hours on end and can get a bit one-sided for the adult in the group. Features of the Monopoly Junior board game include:

  • Properties aren’t boring places; they’re ice cream shops and skate parks
  • Fast-trading for those that are younger
  • Easier to play for kids, but has the classic Monopoly roots
  • Cute player pieces like a puppy and kitten

Even as an adult, the junior version sounds like something I’d want to play. We love the idea of making it shorter, and making the properties more fun places that children can relate to. Beyond this, the game isn’t as hard as the original version, which means that even adults can play kick back, relax, and play!

The Advantages of this Game

You don’t have to teach your child intense strategy just yet, but they can learn the stepping stones before you introduce them to the original game of Monopoly. Beyond this, the inclusion of a cat and dog is great to keep their attention and make them want to play more.

The Disadvantages of this Game

This game only includes $1.00 bills, and the player begins with $20.00. If you wanted to teach your child more about bigger denominations of money, then you’ll have to do this another time, and not with this game; however, we think that the lowered amount is great for youngsters, as they’re learning numbers.

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Sequence for Kids by JAX

sequence for kids

Next on our list is a cheap game called Sequence. In short, this board game revolves around making a sequence. It’s a light strategy game that’s great for youngin’s to get into the world of board games. Features of Sequence include the forth coming:

  • For 2-4 players
  • Ages 3 to 6
  • Reading not required to play
  • 4 colors for playing chips
  • Folding game board and playing cards

The basic objective of the game is like Connect Four, but in a flat sense. Once your color has created four in a row, then you win! In doing so, you create a sequence of your color, and complete the game’s objective. While it’s not the most intensive game, it’s great for little ones to play around with colors and minimal strategy.

The Advantages of this Game

The kid’s version is much easier for young ones, as the “adult” or normal version has a bit of a harder concept for them to understand. Beyond this, the cards in the game contain animals. Keep their attention by playing a short game that involves colors and animals!

The Disadvantages of this Game

This game doesn’t require any reading, so if you’re hoping for a game that does, you won’t find it here, but you’ll find the early stages of a strategy board game!

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Best Board Games for 5-Year-Olds

Between five and seven is a tricky age range. They’re young, but they’re also not only enough to be playing tween games, unless they’re really mature. Five-year olds are capable of handling a little bit of strategy, but not that intense. Board games that are introduced within this age range are usually math or word related, and some that are use hints of strategy. Allowing them to learn can help theme excel in school at a young age.

Sorry! 2013 Edition Game – Hasbro

sorry

First on our games for 5-year-olds includes the classic game Sorry! This game is a mystery-solving game, where your child must use strategy to get the player’s pawns bumped out of the game. You’ll also want to get your own pieces in the safety zone, so they can’t do this. Features include:

  • Gameboard
  • 12 Sorry! Pawns
  • 45 Cards
  • 2 power-up tokens

If you want your child to learn a bit of strategy, but in a fun way that doesn’t require them to read anything too complicated yet, this game may be for you. With a teensy bit of math and a little bit of strategy, you can improve your 5-year-olds cognitive abilities.

The Advantages of this Game

The clever usage of strategy and the turn-based ideal is great for this age range, and doesn’t require much thought or skill.

The Disadvantages of this Game

Want something a little more in-depth? While this classic game is great, there may be others out there better for your child to learn strategy from.

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Connect Four – Hasbro

connect 4

Another classic game, this Sequence-like game allows your child to use colorful strategy to help them win the game. While it’s not too much strategy, there is some that you need to think of to stop your opponent from winning. Features include:

  • Includes grid, legs, slider bar, 21 red and 21 yellow discs
  • Get four in a row and you win – diagonal, up and down, or flat across!

Having fun with your kid isn’t hard, especially when you incorporate colors in an educational way that doesn’t seem boring. Exposing your child to strategy at a young age is great, and this doesn’t require them to learn anything new.

The Advantages of this Game

Your child won’t have to learn an entirely new concept just to play, and over time, they can sharpen their cognitive skills and strategy.

The Disadvantages of this Game

There are no word cards, and no math involved. Those that want educational values beyond strategy may want to look elsewhere.

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Guess Who – Hasbro

guess who

A classic game that has been around for decades, Guess Who is a great game for anyone – even adults, and helps kids with recognition and defining characteristics of people. Features of this game include:

  • Great for ages 6 and up
  • Requires only 2 players
  • Playtime depends on the player’s guessing skills

This game doesn’t need much of a breakdown, but the basic idea of this game is that you choose a card which has a specific person from your board on it. You must keep this card hidden and faced away from your opponent. The opponent must try and guess who is on your card by looking at their board and describing defining characteristics. Knock each face down as you check each person off the list and guess who your opponent chose!

The Advantages of this Game

For youngsters, this is a great way for them to learn characteristics of a person’s face, which will come in handy as they’re young and meeting new people.

The Disadvantages of this Game

This isn’t a game based on luck or chance, and is a type of strategy game that narrows down the selection. If you’d like a board game that is a bit more intensive, this may not be the game for you and your kids.

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Best Board Games for Kindergarteners and Elementary School

Now that your child is in school, and not staying home waiting to meet new people and learn, they’re going to have a very different selection of board games. There are some for 6-year-olds specifically, as well as those in a small age range. Each will be catered to what they’re mature enough at that age, and what they may be dealing with subject-wise in school. First, let’s start off with the best board games for 6-year-olds:

Best Board Games for 6-Year-olds:

HeadBanz – Spin Master Games

hedbanz

Manufactured by SM Games, this one is a ton of fun. Specifications include the following:

  • Be the first to guess, and win!
  • Comes with sand-clock timer, 6 headbands, 24 chips
  • “What am I?” game
  • No strategy involved
  • “Think on your toes” kind of game
  • Time played is based on how long it takes to guess the animal or thing

The players must wear a headband without knowing what animal or thing is on the front, and the others have to say phrases that relate to what’s on the headband. The person wearing the card must guess what they are in order to win.

The Advantages of this Game

It’s a great game to familiarize your children with various animals or items, even at a young age. While it’s not incredibly strategic, it’s a great way to help people think on their toes.

The Disadvantages of this Game

There is no actual board that’s to be played on, so if you’re looking for something more traditional, we have other great products for you on this list!

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Charades for Kids – Pressman

charades for kids

One of our favorites on this list, Charades is a great game for young children to become familiar with various animals, inanimate objects, or different people. Features of this game include:

  • Great for ages 4 and up
  • Requires 3 or more players
  • Comes equipped with 450 charades, 150 cards, dice, timer, and rules

Those who want to explore their more creative side will love this game, as they’re able to act out anything they can to help their teammate guess their card correctly. A fun game that doesn’t require an intense amount of strategy, your child will be able to learn what specific items do, and help them see certain actions acted out.

The Advantages of this Game

The ability to act out phrases or words and learn what some of the more advanced items do, can help your child become familiarized in the future.

The Disadvantages of this Game

Your child might not be interested in an acting-style of game, and would prefer a board game.

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Best Board Games for 7-8 Year Olds

Those within this age range are becoming more mature, and are able to play many games that require reading, math, and strategy. Because of this turning point within the age range for board games, we’ve curated some that hold great educational value.

Scrabble Junior Game – Hasbro

scrabble junior

Scrabble is a fantastic game to learn new words while incorporating strategy to dominate your opponent. Features of this board game include:

  • For 2-4 players
  • 2-Sided gameboard for advanced levels
  • Advanced level allows creation of words
  • 4 colored tokens for youngsters to use

A basic word game that introduces the Scrabble concept to young ones, this game includes four adorable and colorful figurines for gameplay, along with the creation of words. The main side of the board is great for younger kids, while the advanced side is perfect for kids wanting to learn a bit more and use even better words.

The Advantages of this Game

Even if this junior version is too “kiddie” for your 8-year-old, the backside of the board allows for an advanced version in which they create their own words.

The Disadvantages of this Game

If your little one has trouble with words, this game might be hard for them at first, but It’s great for them to sharpen their skills.

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JENGA Classic – Hasbro

jenga classic

Next on our list is one that doesn’t really come with any sort of word or math aspect, but is a game that requires reflexes and staying as still as possible. Features include:

  • 54 Jenga hardwood blocks, stacking sleeve
  • Timeless game that’s simple, with a bit of strategy
  • Pull out blocks without the tower tumbling to win!

In this easy to learn, simple-in-thought strategy game, players must slip out blocks without the tower tumbling. The first one to get the tower to tumble loses!

The Advantages of this Game

JENGA classic is great for most ages, but great around this age to help sharpen the reflexes of your child, as well as their strategy skills. Who knows, you may have a future architect or engineer on your hands!

The Disadvantages of this Game

This game requires strategy, and can be “messy” to clean up afterwards. If you lose pieces, you may need to build the tower slightly different, as well.

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Best Board Games for Tweens

By this age, tweens know math, and reading, but they could be sharpened a bit; however, they’re able to handle more mature types of board games.

Best Board Games for 9-10 Year Olds

The ages of 9 and 10 are funky – they’re young, but they know better and are mature enough to play games with a bit more strategy. Some of these games may come in handy for your tween.

Reverse Charades Board Game

reverse charades

This classic game with a twist is great for a party of friends to get together and team up to do great things. Features of this game include:

  • Team acts out a clue for one member to guess, rather than the opposite!
  • Same traditional rules, but with a twist

This game doesn’t require much to make it “reverse” other than the fact that there’s a team that acts out what’s on the card for one person.

The Advantages of this Game

It’s a great party game for people to learn how to work co-operatively together – at this age, it’s pivotal!

The Disadvantages of this Game

You could probably just use some of the cards from traditional charades to bring the reverse aspect of it – but not all are meant for groups like the reverse game!

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Concept Board Game – Asmodee

concept game

While we’re sure you’ve heard of many games on this list, it isn’t a surprise if you haven’t heard of this one! Features include:

  • Easy rules, can play within minutes
  • Use your imagination to solve riddles
  • Visual clues included

Introduce more complex ideas (but not too hard) with this Concept board game. Solving riddles with visual clues, your tween can learn better problem-solving skills within minutes. Beyond this, it’s great for the entire family!

The Advantages of this Game

Help your child hone their problem-solving skills with this riddle mystery solving game! Visual clues are included, and you’ll be able to get your tween to keep their feet on their toes.

The Disadvantages of this Game

Not everyone is into problem-solving or riddles, and that’s fine! This isn’t necessarily a math-based game per-se, either, so there may be better options for your tween’s brain.

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Best Board Games for 11-12 Year Olds

Whether your child is in middle-school or ending their middle-school career, they’ll probably want more fun games that keep them on their toes, but bring the laughs. They’re getting to the age of puberty where they’re able to handle more responsibility or more “on the spot” games without getting too upset.

Spontuneous – The Song Game

spontuneous

This game is a bit more fun, and requires the musical side of your child’s brain to participate. Features include:

  • 4-10 players recommended
  • Ages 8 and up
  • A word is given to the group and one must blurt out a song that reminds them of that word
  • Music teacher approved, Award-winning, Amazon’s choice

While there is no board included, this Spontuneous game doesn’t require talent, but requires those to have fun – regardless of their voice! You have to stump other players and then sing your own song to gain advantage.

The Advantages of this Game

Your child doesn’t have to sign, and they can shout it if they want.

The Disadvantages of this Game

If your tween is a bit more shy, then you might not want to use this game and pressure them.

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5 Second Rule – Play Monster

5 second rule

A fun game, even for adults, 5 Second Rule makes players stay on their toes and sharpen their mind’s reflexes. Features include:

  • 3 or more players
  • Fun-sounding timer
  • More than 575 questions

The object of the game is that everyone must name 3 things within 5 seconds that relate to the subject on the card. It’s a tongue-tied fun game for everyone in the family!

The Advantages of this Game

You don’t have to be young to play, but it does allow youngsters to sharpen their mind and act quickly on their feet – a great skill for school and work in the future.

The Disadvantages of this Game

Not as fun with just three people, but still playable!

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Best Board Games for Teens

Teens – they’re tiny adults, and with board games, they can be treated as such! Most can handle more strategic games, and more complex styles of games. Here are the best board games for teens:

Phone Phever Board Game

phone phever

Looking for a fast-paced solution? Phone Phever is a game that uses smartphones and trivia for a hilarious combination.

  • For ages 13 and up
  • 3 or more players required
  • For those with smartphones or access to one

Use your teens smartphone addition as the basis of the game, while sharpening their trivia skills! There are around 1200 unique questions for them to go through, from a number of niches including: history, law, politics, and tech!

The Advantages of this Game

Fuses modern elements with the traditional trivia niche.

The Disadvantages of this Game

If you don’t want to include a smartphone in your family game night, this isn’t the game for you!

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Scrabble Deluxe Edition – Hasbro

scrabble deluxe

Last on our list is a more mature version of Scrabble Junior – the original, deluxe version. Features include:

  • For 2-4 players only
  • Includes deluxe carrying case
  • Two slide and store trays
  • 100 Wooden letter tiles
  • 4 deluxe curved tile racks

With a more modern board than the original, and with bending tile holders to hide from your opponents, your teen can master the art of word and language with this deluxe and modernized version.

The Advantages of this Game

Your teen can enjoy the adult version of scrabble, modernized for current play.

The Disadvantages of this Game

Want something more math-based? There are plenty of other options out there!

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Buyer’s Guide for the Best Board Games for All Ages

board game with pawns

Types of Board Games

There are a number of genres when it comes to board games, include the following:

Classic board games – These are the games most people are familiar with. You know – Monopoly, Pictionary, Candy Land, Sorry!, Clue, Battleship, Chutes and Ladders, etc. Some can be a bit too hard for kids, but others are a great way for families to bond together or for kids to show their friends.

Roll and move game – Typically based on chance, these types of games are great for those that don’t want to introduce an incredible amount of strategy or skill just yet. Types of games in this category include Cooties, Mouse Trap, Chutes and Ladders, Don’t Wake Daddy, and more.

Strategy games – A great type of game to graduate with, your child can get their big boy/girl pants on and become on with the teens. Pretty much the exact opposite of roll and move games, this board game genre type relies on strategy, skill, thinking ahead, and working towards the defeat of your opponents. A classic, but strategic game in this genre includes chess.

Word games – My favorite types of games lie in the word genre, and include games like , , Boggle, Typo, , Yahtzee, and more. They are great for learning a teensy bit of strategy, while learning bigger and better words than before. When you keep their mind searching for the best word or letter in peculiar places, they learn words, placement, strategy, and more.

scrabble tiles and bag

You may also run into games that don’t lie within a specific genre we mentioned at all. Games like “Pie in the Face” are just plain fun, and don’t really rely on anything at all other than luck. There are no dice to shake and drop, there’s no keeping track or keeping score, all that matters is your luck and if you’re the person who’s going to get pied in the face.

While we’ve covered quite a few benefits that you should know of board games, there are also factors that need to be considered, depending on the child and the type of board game. Is your child one that requires a bit of practice in being a good sport? If so, there are many games that aren’t co-op, and are based on a player being their own team. Introducing one of these games that require only one of the bunch to win, seeing others lose, too, may not make them feel so bad – but this is a subconscious thought, and they don’t see it as everyone but that one person losing.

As they grow older, they’re going to learn that only one person or team can win, and it’s nothing to do with personal things, it’s just the game and the strategy. If they want to win so bad, you can set them aside for practice games with learning strategy. Another factor you should consider if their age. While some youngin’s under 7 may be able to play a math-based game that has pictures and doesn’t require a lot of thinking, others that are over 8 may want something a bit more strategic.

kids playing together

Co-op games are great for introducing the idea of teamwork, but may not be realistic for every single game, as kids will have to learn how to play and think for themselves, and take their own turns.

Before making your final decision for board game night, note how many kids are going to be playing and their ages. If you think you’re going to be able to keep 5-7 kids well behaved as they’re playing games with their friends, you may be in over your head. If you have multiple groups in a classroom, this may work out better. Multiple groups of kids will allow everyone to have their own turn, and the board will be easier to see/play on; however, this isn’t to say that a classroom full of kids can’t play one single game together, they just may not be able to play most board games as a whole – plus, many have player limits.

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Instead of constantly gaming and not working, I've decided to try and work in the world of gaming. While I don't design games, or write for them, I test accessories and gaming products out and bring quality content directly to you – in an unbiased fashion.

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