Game On! The Ideal Guide to Board Games for Kids

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Board games have been a popular entertainment and bonding activity for families for generations. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the world of board games for kids, including their benefits, popular types, age-appropriate options, tips for family game nights, must-have games, and more.

What are Board Games?

Board games consist of counters or pieces to be moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or “board” according to rules. These games can be great fun and learning for kids, providing valuable experiences and skills. One of the benefits of board games for kids is the development of strategic thinking and decision-making skills. By playing board games, kids learn to think ahead, plan their moves, and anticipate the consequences of their actions. This can help them enhance problem-solving skills and know how to make intelligent choices.

Board games also provide opportunities for social interaction and cooperation. When kids play board games with others, they learn to take turns, follow rules, and work together towards a common goal. This can help them improve critical social skills such as communication, teamwork, and sportsmanship.

Furthermore, board games can also help kids improve their concentration and focus. Many board games require players to pay attention to what is happening on the board, think critically, and stay engaged in the game. This can be mainly beneficial for kids who struggle with attention and focus.

In addition to these cognitive and social benefits, board games can also be an excellent method for kids to learn new concepts and skills. Many board games are made to teach specific academic or developmental skills, such as math, literacy, problem-solving, and critical thinking. By playing these games, kids can reinforce what they have learned in school and practice essential skills in a fun and engaging way.

Overall, board games are a valuable and enjoyable activity for kids that can provide them with a range of benefits. Whether it’s improving their strategic thinking, social skills, concentration, or academic skills, board games can be an excellent source of learning and fun for children of all ages. 

Benefits of Playing Board Games for Kids

Playing board games offers numerous benefits for kids, including improving cognitive skills, enhancing decision-making abilities, and promoting social interaction. Board games also help kids develop strategic thinking, patience, and the ability to follow rules and take turns while having fun. Moreover, playing board games can help kids develop communication skills as they talk and strategise with other players. It can also teach them to be gracious winners and good sports when they lose.

Board games come in many styles and themes, enabling kids to explore their interests and learn new things. Whether it’s a game about geography, animals, or history, kids can gain knowledge and expand their horizons while playing board games.

Furthermore, playing board games can be an excellent way for families to engage and spend quality time together. It creates a fun and relaxed environment where parents and kids can enjoy each other’s company while engaging in friendly competition.

In addition to all these benefits, board games offer a break from electronic devices and screens. Kids can improve their concentration and attention span by unplugging and engaging in a board game while reducing screen time.

Game On! The Ideal Guide to Board Games for Kids
Family playing board games in sitting room

Choosing the Right Board Game for Kids

When selecting board games for kids, it’s essential to consider their age, interests, and the number of players. Look for engaging, educational games that promote family bonding, ensuring a rewarding experience for everyone involved. For younger kids (ages 3-6), simple games like Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, or Hi Ho! Cherry-O is an excellent option. These games help develop counting, colour recognition, and turn-taking skills while being fun and visually appealing.

For kids aged 7-10, games like Sorry!, Uno, or Memory are popular choices. These games require more strategy and critical thinking, helping to enhance their cognitive and social skills.

For older kids (ages 11-14), more complex games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, or Codenames are suitable. These games involve more strategic thinking, negotiation, and problem-solving, providing a more challenging and engaging experience.

It’s also important to consider the kids’ interests when selecting board games. Whether they are into animals, sports, mystery, or fantasy, there are games out there to cater to their specific interests and keep them engaged.

Lastly, consider the number of players when selecting a game. Some games are made for two players, while others can accommodate larger groups, so choose a game that fits the number of players participating.

Ultimately, the goal is to choose fun board games, provide a valuable learning experience, and promote positive social interaction among the kids. By considering their age, interests, and the number of players, you can select the perfect board game for kids that will provide hours of enjoyment and bring the family closer together. 

Classic games like Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble, and Chess have been favourites for generations, providing timeless entertainment and learning opportunities for kids and families alike. These games offer an exciting way to pass the time and help develop essential skills such as critical thinking, strategy, and problem-solving. For example, Scrabble encourages literacy and vocabulary skills, while Chess teaches players how to think multiple moves ahead and anticipate their opponent’s next move.

In addition to the cognitive benefits, board games also provide chances for social interaction and bonding. Whether it’s a family game night or a friendly competition with friends, these classic board games can bring people together and create good memories.

Furthermore, the simplicity and accessibility of these games make them an ideal choice for all ages. Children can learn worthy skills while having fun, and adults can enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane, recalling the games they played in their childhood.

Card Games for Kids

Card games are famous for kids, offering various options, from memory and matching games to more complex strategic card games catering to different ages and preferences. Some popular card games for kids include:

  1. Go Fish: A classic matching game in which players try to gather sets of four cards of the same level.
  2. Uno: A fast-paced game where players try to be the first to finish all their cards by matching them with the main card on the discard pile.
  3. Old Maid: A simple game where players try to make pairs and avoid being left with the “old maid” card at the end of the game.
  4. Crazy Eights: A strategic game where players try to be the first to get rid of all their cards by matching them with the same suit or level as the top card on the discard pile.
  5. Slapjack: A fast-paced game where players try to be the first to hit the pile when a jack is played, winning all the cards in the pile.
  6. War: A simple game where players compare the main card of their deck, and the one with the highest card wins both cards.
  7. Memory: A matching game where players take turns flipping over pairs of cards to make matching pairs.

These are just a few examples of the many card games available for kids. They offer a fun and engaging way for kids to develop cognitive skills, strategic thinking, and social interaction. 

Board games LearningMole
colorful game pieces with dice on board.

Family Board Games

Family board games are designed to be enjoyed by players of all ages, encouraging interaction and cooperation among family members. These games often incorporate strategy, luck, and skill elements, making them engaging for every family member. Some popular family board games include Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan. These games require players to make decisions, think critically, and communicate with one another to succeed. They also provide an excellent opportunity for families to spend quality time together, engaging and creating lasting memories.

Family board games can also teach good life skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and teamwork. They can assist children in developing their cognitive abilities, social skills, and emotional intelligence while navigating gameplay dynamics.

Moreover, playing board games as a family can promote positive values such as sportsmanship, respect for others, and fair play. It can also provide a break from technology and screens, allowing families to disconnect and engage in meaningful face-to-face interaction.

Age-Appropriate Board Games

For preschoolers, board games with colourful designs, simple rules, and interactive gameplay can help develop early skills such as counting, colour recognition, and cooperative play. Some popular board games for preschoolers that fit these criteria include:

  1. Candy Land is a colourful and simple game that helps preschoolers recognise and count colours.
  2. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game is a game that involves picking up colourful acorns with a squirrel-shaped set of tweezers, helping preschoolers develop fine motor skills and colour recognition.
  3. HiHo! Cherry-O is a classic counting game where players pick fruit from trees and fill buckets, helping preschoolers develop early math skills.
  4. Chutes and Ladders is a game that teaches preschoolers about taking turns, counting, and simple strategies.
  5. Snail’s Pace Race is a cooperative racing game where players throw a die and move their snails forward, teaching preschoolers about taking turns and working together.

These board games provide entertainment for preschoolers and valuable opportunities for learning and skill development. 

Board Games for Elementary School Kids

Elementary school kids can enjoy various board games, including educational games that enhance their knowledge and understanding of multiple subjects and promote critical thinking and decision-making skills. Some popular board games for elementary school kids include:

  1. Scrabble Junior: This classic word game is adapted for younger players, allowing them to build their language and spelling skills while having fun.
  2. Monopoly Jr.: This simplified version of the famous property trading game allows kids to practice math skills as they buy and trade properties.
  3. Outfoxed!: This cooperative deduction game teaches kids logic and deduction as they work together to solve the mystery of who stole the prized pot pie.
  4. Math Bingo: This educational game helps kids practice their mathematical knowledge in a fun and interactive way, with different versions available for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  5. Guess Who?: This guessing game encourages kids to ask strategic questions and analyse the responses to eliminate the characters and guess their opponent’s mystery person.
  6. Brain Games Kids: This collection of different brain-teasing games and puzzles challenges kids to use critical thinking and mindset to solve problems and complete challenges.
  7. Uno: This classic card game helps kids improve their number recognition, matching, and strategic thinking skills as they try to be the first to get rid of all their cards.
  8. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game: This game teaches young children critical skills like colour recognition, matching, and strategic thinking as they try to collect acorns for their squirrels.

These games provide a fun and engaging way for elementary school kids to learn and practice various skills while enjoying quality time with friends and family. 

Board Games for Preteens and Teens

Preteens and teens can engage in complex board games requiring strategic thinking, planning, and social interaction. These games can give older kids a sense of challenge and accomplishment while fostering positive social experiences. Some popular complex board games for preteens and teens include Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and Pandemic. These games involve resource management, negotiation, and teamwork, all valuable skills for young people to develop.

Playing these games can also allow older kids to connect with their peers and strengthen their social skills. They can learn to communicate effectively, work together towards a common goal, and gracefully handle victory and defeat.

Complex board games can also help preteens and teens develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Through gameplay, they can learn how to assess different situations, make strategic decisions, and adapt to changing circumstances, all essential skills for success in school and life.


Board games play a significant role in fostering family bonding, creating memorable experiences, and strengthening relationships through shared enjoyment and interaction.

Introducing kids to the world of board games and passing down the tradition of gaming within the family ensures the continuation of this enriching and enjoyable pastime for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

The world of kids’ board games is ever-expanding, with new and exciting games continually entering the market, providing kids and families with a vast array of options for entertainment, learning, and quality time together.

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