The Best Games for Kids

The BEST Family Board Games By Age

These are the best family board games for fun & connection with recommendations by age–toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. All favorite kids games for family fun!

The Best Family Board Games and Card Games by Age

This post contains affiliate links.I come from a game-playing family.

Playing board games, card games, and any other fun games are ways to connect with other people in a lighthearted way while also developing critical thinking skills such as memory, strategy, literacy, arithmetic, visual patterns, and more.

Besides, who doesn’t love playing games? I love games. I think all kids love games. When I go visit my 87 year old Grandma, she loves playing games.

Games are just plain fun.

The Best Family Board Games

These are some of the best kids board games and card games with recommendations by age—toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. A great list of our favorite family games!

Best Family Board Games for Toddlers for Fun, Cooperation and Learning

The Best Board Games for Toddlers

  • Goodnight Moon game – A matching game based on our favorite Margaret Wise Brown book.
  • Thinkfun Roll and Play – An active play game for toddlers and their grown-ups.
  • Hello Sunshine Game – Another fun toddler game by Think Fun; hide and seek with the sunshine plush.
  • First Orchard – Toddlers cooperate to collect  wooden fruits in a basket before the raven eats them.
  • Other games from your lap as part of your team

Best Family Board Games for Preschoolers -- Game Lovers in the Making

The Best Board Games for Preschoolers

The Best Card Games for Preschoolers

We love the eeBoo card games for this age! They are fun, artful, and memorable.

Card Holder for Young ChildrenTIP: These card holders are genius in helping little hands hold cards as well as everyone else around the table.

Luckily they are inexpensive!

Definitely buy one for your littles. And include one when giving a gift of a kiddo card game.

Best Family Board Games for School Age Kids

The Best Family Board Games for School-Age Kids

These are some of the best family games for ages 5 and up. (Suspend isn’t exactly a board game, but it’s not a card game either, so I’m leaving it here.)

  • Catan Junior – Catan Junior is a great strategy and world-building game for kids and a good intro to the Settlers of Catan family of games.
  • Suspend – Such a fun balancing game!
  • Ticket to Ride – Build train routes and travel around the country in what is one of the most popular board games ever.
  • Qwirkle – Match colors and shapes in this visually attractive strategy game. A new favorite in our family!
  • IQ Twist – A one-player game that challenges spatial reasoning and logic. Both my 9yo and my husband have gone through phases of being addicted to this game.

The Best Card Games for Kids

Many of our favorite family games are actually card games!

  • Sleeping Queens – This card game was an instant hit with both my kids and remains a favorite.
  • Set – Called “the family game of visual perception,” this is a game in which players identify matching patterns across different cards.
  • Uno – A classic and still a winner!
  • Skip Bo – A sequencing card game by the makers of Uno.
  • Spot It – A fast-faced matching game that kids love!

These are the best family board games for fun & connection with recommendations by age--toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. All favorite kids games for family fun!MORE of the Best Family Board Games

How about you? What are your family’s favorite games for kids?

We are always looking for new ideas for kids games that challenge and entertain at the same time! (And I don’t think I speak just for myself here…)

Related Posts

  • Lola
    September 23, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Thank you Jean!! We have just started discovering board games and this list is wonderful, my wish list is now sooo long!!!
    We’ve been enjoying this summer “Spot it” and “Hey, that’s my fish”

  • Andrea
    September 23, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I’ve been looking for more game for our family to play, especially now that both of my girls are in the “school age” category. We’ve been playing a lot of Spoons and Bunco. Spot It and Uno are also big favorites.

  • Heather
    September 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Sequence for Kids is a wonderful game for the preschool age. We found the Kids of Carcassonne was a great early introduction to European style board games. Labyrinth and Chateau Roquefort are great strategy games for early elementary aged kids.

    • Jean Van't Hul
      September 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Thanks, Heather! Carcassonne has been on our list; will check out the others as well…

    • Laura
      September 25, 2014 at 9:32 am

      For school age children, I would recommend just purchasing the original Carcassonne. Play without placing “farmers. This is really the only difficult mechanic in the game. Then it is easy to spice up the game with more challenge as the kids get older without purchasing a new game.

      • Susan
        August 3, 2015 at 7:09 am

        Ours kids love it! Definitely a favourite with mom and dad too ;)

  • Gina
    September 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Great suggestions! We started our kids playing early (age 2-3) so now that they’re 8-10 they’re really into strategy and EuroGames. For us, it’s so important that there’s an even playing field between kids and adults (like you have with Ticket to Ride). We really like The Amazing Labyrinth, Love Letters, and Kung Fu Panda right now.

    • Jean Van't Hul
      September 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Ooh! I’ll have to check out those other games! Thanks, Gina!

  • KT
    September 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    My husband and I are big Euro-games, but we’re just starting to dip our toes in children’s game (the boy is 2). I would definitely second Thinkfun Roll and Play; we got it for him for his birthday and he loves it. I’ve been really impressed with how quickly he picked up on the idea of turns, and while it isn’t a game I will want to play once he outgrows it, it has been enjoyable enough for the adults as well. We’ll have to look at others in your first category.

  • june
    September 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I have to second the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel one! My son loves that one. I think we started playing that when he was three. We exaggerated all the non-number actions (ie, sad squirrel). After playing for awhile “sneaky snack” became a verb in our house. We also used “don’t be a sad squirrel” at times when he was upset and it worked well. A good game is definitely one that goes beyond the time you actually spend playing it.

  • Sara
    September 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    My husband and I love to play the game Munchkin, but we’ve found a game called “Kinderbunnies” that is a card game that has different levels of difficulty for ages, and we all like playing that :)

  • Erin
    September 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    My kids enjoy rivers, roads and rails – great play even without following the rules. For card games, we made card holders out of two same sized plastic lids placed top to top and joined with a brad. Personalized with sharpie decorations.

  • Jennifer
    September 24, 2014 at 2:47 am

    I have a 5 year old daughter who has never been fond of math. A friend got her the card game, “Sleeping Queens” for her 5th birthday. Now she tells us to be quiet because she is coming up with an equation. It has totally turned her around and she LOVES finding mathematical equations. And yes, she no longer limits herself to a three number equation.

  • Kristin
    September 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Pictionary. A classic. We use the adult version, and just draw a different card if it’s something my 9-year-old wouldn’t recognize.

  • Megan
    September 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for the list! Rat-A-Tat Cat is also REALLY fun – both for the kids (my daughter is 5 and wants to play it all the time) & the adults to play! :) It encourages memory, practicing addition/ subtraction, strategy, etc.

  • Clare
    September 26, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    These are all great picks. Happy to see you have SET on there for elementary aged children. Love that one! I’d add Frog Juice to that list. I have 4 kids and each one of them has gone through a Frog Juice obsession phase. :)

  • Mary
    October 5, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This is awesome! What is the metal structure the little girls is playing with in the very top picture?

  • Nikki
    October 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks for this list! My daughter is 2 1/2 and she already has a few games on this list but it is great to have ideas for the future and games that go beyond the standard commercial/cartoon character games that the brick and mortar toy stores sell

    • JulieG
      October 5, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Mary, I think that metal structure in the top photo is from the game called Suspend.

  • Kristina
    November 1, 2014 at 10:54 am

    The game, that happens to be our favorite game, is not included in this list, and it should be! You MUST try it – I think it will become your favorite, too. It’s perfect for your artful parenting. The game is Dixit. “Dixit Odyssey is all about letting your creativity juices flow. It’s a card game full of cards with very abstract and distinct illustrative artwork that let players’ imagination run wild.” – quote from The Board Game Family

    You can see a video here: http://www.theboardgamefamily.com/2012/09/dixit-odyssey-card-game-review/

  • unschoolingmom
    November 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Yes, Frog Juice!!! One of our favorite games ever :).

  • Janet
    November 2, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Our grandkids and I love to play Blokus. It is a game with colored tiles that fit onto a board. Young ones “play” while simply fitting the differently shaped tiles. Older ones strategically place tiles to block their opponents. Great game to practice spatial relationships and is quick. Also fun for adults.

    • Susan
      August 3, 2015 at 7:05 am

      We love Blokus!

  • Meribah
    November 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I just absolutely love this list for the great ideas! Thank you – I’ll refer to it for the next few years for birthday and Christmas gifts!

  • Kim
    November 8, 2014 at 8:41 am

    We love Ticket to Ride and Qwirkle! These are family favorites and we play them on Game Nights with friends. Also good for the 6-10 yr olds is Scrambled States of America. Kids learn where the states are located, how to spell them, capitals, and nicknames. We play several rounds at a time.

  • Jennifer L.
    November 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    We recently played a card game called Qetchup which is one of the best family card games I ever played. The game has won 2014 Game of the Year award from Creative Child and I came to know about it while reading a kids’ magazine. The game teaches the construction of a healthy meal with cards. You should look it up and may be add it to your next list of family-friendly games/ toys!!

    • Jean Van't Hul
      November 21, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Haven’t even heard of that one, Jennifer! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to look for it… What ages would you say it’s good for?

      • Jennifer L.
        November 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        Hi Jean,

        I would say 2nd graders and up.

        I googled it for you and here’s a detailed review:

        Spielnacht.blogspot.com :)

        Thanks

  • Dan Souther
    December 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    My girl Autumn loves this game! If you love Apples to Apples you love Matt Kirby’s newest game Picaroon! Picaroongame.com

    • Athena Colin
      December 17, 2014 at 2:35 am

      Thank you for the info. I purchased the game and fell in love with it so much I bought one for my classroom.

      Athena

  • Celebrity
    December 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

    What’s up colleagues, its enormous piece of writing about
    cultureand completely explained, keep it
    up all the time.

  • Kayleen
    December 27, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Zooloretto. We played with our daughter starting at 5 years old. She didn’t get the concept 100% at that time but she played her way and it would sort of throw a bit of randomness into the game play for my husband and I and that was an extra challenge for us. She understands better now that she is 7 and she will play more strategically now. Although her main concern is still to get a mom and dad animal so she can get a baby animal. But who can blame her, they are pretty dang cute.

  • Laurie
    March 17, 2015 at 12:07 am

    We have so many favorites! Fluxx and Skip-Bo are favorite card games. My kids love Whonu, Apples to Apples, Suspend, Instructures, and classics from my childhood: careers, payday,and go for broke! Life Twists and Turns is a fun variant of the classic. Ticket to Ride and Mexican Train dominoes are new favorites. Thanks all for sharing yours!

  • Bethany P
    April 11, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    We are a game playing family! My son (7) learned to read at 5 simply so he could play Magic the Gathering with some family friends. Right now, in our regular rotation we have Machi Koro, Smash Up, Ticket to Ride, Dread Curse, King of Tokyo and Chess!

  • megan
    May 29, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Hello, Im curious what the metal balancing game is that your daughter is playing in the photo at the top of this post?
    :) thank you, Megan

  • megan
    May 29, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Oh, nevermind, I just read through the comments and found my answer! :)

  • Tami
    June 5, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I love boardgames. I have found youtube to be a great resource in learning or teaching kids to play a game. Also I am totally addicted to wil wheatons tabletop. They play board games and teach you to play it at the same time. I like it because it helps me gauge if the game is right for my family or not. We are currently in love with microgame Love letter batman edition.

  • Karla Cilliers
    June 20, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    My 2 year old and 7 year old love playing Max the Cat – a fabulous co-operative game where you try to get 3 animals to their safe place by enticing Max back to his home with treats. We built the game with Lego, because we can’t get it in South Africa, but I highly recommend buying it – although the Lego board is a good way of trying it out.
    Thank you for your wonderful and inspiring site!

  • Abhilasha
    June 23, 2015 at 1:11 am

    Kids gonna love this game:
    http://bit.ly/1L6a82v

  • Ellika
    June 23, 2015 at 6:16 am

    My daughter who just turned two _loves_ games, but ofcourse since she’s still so little it is a hard time for her to manage many of the kids games still. This, however, is what has been really working for us:

    Monster Chase:
    We got the german version of this game for our daughter for christmas when she was just one and a half and she got it immediately, well, a simplified version that is. The game is a cooperative memory game, where you a presented with a monster from under your bed which can be scared away by finding a certain toy. I Believe the fact that you don’t just find any pair but is “instructed” by the game which one to find makes this one simpler for small kids. The games comes with rules for how many times you can try is you should win the game, but we skip that and just let her find the card as soon as possible,.

    Memory
    Now, at the age of two, we also play regular memory; but then she has been playing monster chase A LOT for half a year. I do not Believe she would have managed memory otherwise.

    GuloGulo
    This game is a bit adanved for my daughter as it involves a move for start to goal along a track, and she doesn’t get that yet. The movement is not roll and move though, instead your are inclinde to grap a wooden egg of a specific color without setting the other eggs in too much motion. My daughter loves both finding the right color egg (is has to match the tile you want to go to) and to grap it from the pile. But so far, this is more of an activity than a game for us.

    Mucca Pazza
    This German game involves paring up parts of animals which has been mixed up. The game says form four years, and in the original game, you are supposed to slide the animal parts to create the animal you want. When we introduced this game, she has a hard time getting it, as she only recognized the animals heads, and didn’t at all get the match with arms and legs. Now, she can see how each animal fit together, but the sliding part is still to complicated, so I just give her a part of an animal and she puts it were it belongs, and so, it is more of a puzzel.

    I understand that a lot of the games I mentioned are to complicated for a two year old, so we are just excerizing on one single mechanism from each game. But my daughter loves it, and I Think it is a good introductions to games that I am sure she will have a lot of fun with in years to come

  • Busy Mum
    July 25, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks for the list. We like Shelby’s Snack Shack, Crokinole and Yatzee is becoming very popular this summer. And good old snakes and ladders is always a favourite.

  • Stephanie
    August 2, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    My preschooler LOVES 10 in a Bed (a counting game) and Kerplunk ( fine motor skills)

  • Kate
    August 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Here are a few of our favorites beyond what you and others have already mentioned:
    Fish Eat Fish, Fish Sticks, Obstacles, Go Bananas, and ChickABoom.
    My girls are 5 and 9, and love to play games, though not always together!

  • AlisonI
    August 2, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I don’t see our favourite game for little kids mentioned: Doodlebugs. It is great for all ages, but even little ones can play it. Simple and fun!

  • Susan
    August 3, 2015 at 6:51 am

    We found “In a Pickle” at Value Village, and in our family of 6 (4 kids, ages 3-8), it seems this game is now always being played by someone. My mother and I played round after round one night AFTER the kids had gone to bed! We’re a huge gaming family, and this newest addition has been VERY popular. :)

  • Mamamajuly
    August 3, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    5 Crowns Junior: it’s been my now 8 yo’s favorite game for over a year!
    7 families, by Djeco has been our family’s favorite for a long time too.

  • paper bag puppet
    August 11, 2015 at 5:56 am

    The best game I found for my kids that kept them happy for a while is creating puppets out of paper bags. It’s simple yet effective…

  • Tre
    August 20, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Robot Turtle! Awesome game that grows with your child.

    • Jean Van't Hul
      August 23, 2015 at 10:47 am

      I’ll have to check that out, Tre. Thanks!

  • Sarah
    August 24, 2015 at 10:57 am

    My favourite game to play with the kids (6 and 7) is the BBC Blue Peter game! You get to travel all round the world, putting together maps and pretending to be on an awesome expedition. I’m looking forward to when they get old enough to play Constellation (http://www.milestonegames.co.uk/board-games/educational-and-young-gamers/constellation-space-race-boardgame)
    Definitely need to get hold of Junior Catan – is it as good as the original?

Copy link