Entertain The Rugrats With The Best Board Games for Kids
As a parent, it would seem that you are expected to give up your own games in order to get involved with your kids’ activities, which often involve board games. But that doesn’t mean you have to be bored when playing these games with your kids. There are a great number of games for your kids that both you and your child can have fun playing.
Of course, Go Fish is only going to be so stimulating for so long. And that’s true for both the parent and the child. When shopping for the best board games for kids, you will run into a variety of different play styles and learning curves. That’s why we’ve broken down our list and our recommendations for the best kids board games into three different categories:
- Board Games for preschoolers – Ages 2 to 5
- Board Games for kids in grade school – Ages 5 t0 11
- Board Games for kids in middle school – Ages 11 to 13
Best Board Games For Kids List
|Best Kids Games||Age yrs||Recommended||Players||Playtime||Rating 1-5 (stars)|
|The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game||3+||3~7yrs||2~4||15 min||4.5|
|Disney HedBanz Game||7+||7~12yrs||2~6||30 min||4.5|
|Chutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad||3+||3~7yrs||2~4||15 min||4.5|
|King of Tokyo||8+||Boys||2~6||30 min||5|
|Hi Ho Cherry-O||3+||3~6yrs||2~4||15 min||4.5|
|Rory's Story Cubes||8+||8~15yrs||1 or more||15 min||4.5|
|Thinkfun Roll and Play Board Game||18Months+||1~3yrs||1||15 min||5|
|Richard Scarry Busy Town||3+||3~8yrs||2~4||15 min||5|
|Don't Break the Ice||3+||4~8yrs||2~4||15 min||4.5|
|Qwirkle Board Game||6+||6+yrs||2~4||45 min||5|
Our Favorite – Best Board Games for Kids!
Best Board Game for Pre-school kids – Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, other than being incredibly difficult to say ten times fast, is a great game for young children for a number of reasons. From a technical standpoint Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a game that requires some physical dexterity to play, as well as some strategic thinking to get your kids analytical brain involved. The gameplay is very simple: spin a wheel, take action indicated by wheel, next turn.
The game is played by a minimum of two players and a maximum of four. Each player is given a stump in which they can store up to five acorns, each acorn slot having a color ring around it corresponding to the different colors of acorns. The wheel you spin at the beginning of each turn allows actions like “steal an acorn” or “lose an acorn” to go along with the more typical “take an acorn of X color.” Once a player has an acorn of each color, that player wins and the game is over.
Kids will have fun using the tongs, or as they cleverly call them, “Squirrel Squeezers,” to pick up and move the acorns. The involvement of these tongs also helps improve fine motor skills, for parents concerned about substance in their kids’ playtime. This game is light at first glance, but it involves a surprising amount of thought from its young players, and will be a game every parent can enjoy playing with their child. Note: this game contains very small pieces that could be a choking hazard so it is advised that your child be above the age of three.
Best Board Game for Grade School Kids – King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is a game created by Richard Garfield, who is well-known as the creator of the popular card game Magic: The Gathering. This dice game is much simpler than that, and is absolutely perfect for a parent that is looking to add a little more complication to their child’s board games without making things too difficult. This game gets the players extremely involved with quick turns and lots of dice to roll, but still contains plenty of very interesting decisions.
This game supports up to six players, with each player representing a monster that is trying to destroy Tokyo Godzilla style. With a hit point and power-up system that is comparable to that of a video game, there are many things about this game that are accessible for younger children yet still fun for adults. As an adult, I absolutely love this game. I play it with my other, also adult friends all the time. But, that hasn’t stopped me from bringing it to my 9-year-old nephew’s house to show him this cool new game he’s going to love (which he did).
The combination of the dice system and the power-up cards creates a lot of great moments for strategy. There can be big swings in momentum, and no lead is ever safe. Even playing with five other people, I still felt like my turn was coming around fast and that my strategy was well thought out. Simulating a big fight between monsters as big as buildings is a great theme to draw in kids, and then once you open the box you realize that there’s more to this game than you thought, but not too much for a younger crowd. I highly, highly recommend this game. Boardgamegeek.com rated this game 7.5 and is #12 on their top family board games list.
Best Board Game for Middle School Kids – Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is a cornerstone of the tabletop gaming world. It’s simplicity allows for a brief, gentle learning curve that still allows for some highly strategic moments, forcing the best players think long term. At first, Settlers of Catan can look, to put it simply, boring. Unless you invest in one or several of the expansions, the vanilla game is spent gathering resources (clay, sheep, wheat, etc.) and building a select few number of structures. “Oh, so I just build roads?” Yes, and earning the “Longest Road” card is an accomplishment on par with winning a gold medal in the Olympics.
Catan is a bit slow to start, but by this time your child is nearly a teenager, so they can show a little patience, right? The dice keep things active while also instilling an exciting dose of pure chance into the game. The layout of the board is hugely variable and customizable, which adds a great deal to its replay value. This game has a number of expansions that add complexity to the game, but I wouldn’t dive right into any of them.
I advise someone new to the Settlers of Catan series to just play the core game for a while. Adding in features like oceans, boats, and warfare sound tempting, but they sound more fun than they really are. The base version of Settlers of Catan is a great way to get your middle school child introduced to board games that can be as fun as they are thoughtful. Catan is a gateway to a number of other fantastic games. Not only is this game one of the best board games for kids, but is widely considered as one of the best board games of all time. boardgamegeek.com rating 7.5