- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Best Board Games for Kids
I love board games. I am fiercely competitive and have lots of fond memories of Parcheesi, Sorry, and Clue as a child. Times have changed a bit over the years, but games are still a timeless way to bond. I have compiled a list of the best games that we've enjoyed with our young children. Why can I even consider myself an expert in this area? Aside from my passion for competition, I spent my entire high school career working at a high-end specialty toy shop. So take a risk with my reviews, and turn this Friday night into family game night. I promise, Candy Land is not on the list.
1. Little Trackers (ages 6+)
This game is so much fun. It comes in a little yellow box with four wooden animals and a bunch of card tiles. Each card has an animal footprint, and the game proceeds like a more difficult version of memory. It's adorable, challenging, and for up to four players.
2. Spot It (kids and adults- all ages)
This game is fabulous because it does not require you to read, so all ages (even adults) will enjoy it. Technically it isn't a board game, but a card game. The rules are simple, but there are directions for harder versions. You each get a card and have to find the icon on your card that matches the icon on the middle. It sounds easy, but your eye plays tricks on you and it's a high pressure fast game to call your answer out first. Our family loves Spot It and all five of us can play it. I would also rate this one of the best games to purchase if you have a birthday party gift to buy, or need a game for a long airplane ride. There is no limit to the number of players.
3. Blokus (older kids and adults)
There are two versions of this game. A travel version for two players, or the larger one for four players. It is a shape game, and each player must lay down as many of there tiles as possible. Opponents try to block moves with their tiles. It is enough of a challenge that you feel like you are working your brain, but don't be mistaken- you can still kick back with a beer while you are playing.
4. 15 Greatest Board Games in the World Book and Game (ages 7+)
This book is made by Klutz and features fifteen different board games. All the pieces, directions, and boards come with the game in a neat and organized way. All of these games are a bit off the beaten path and extremely fun. Adults will enjoy this collection as well.
5. Yahtzee (ages 4+)
There are a ton of versions of this dice rolling game. For younger kids, look at Mickey Mouse Yahtzee or even a cute vintage Mario Yahtzee that comes in a question mark cube. Older kids will enjoy the traditional Yahtzee, or if you are word freak- pick up Word Yahtzee.
6. The Tea Party Game (ages 3-7)
This premise is simple. You lay out a blanket and build your tea party. The teapot is a spinner and each player takes a turn. The choices the arrow can land on are teacup, plate, utensils, sandwich, fruit, dessert, and milk. The first person to complete their setting wins. The only trick is you can't claim your food until you've collected a plate. There is also a lose a turn option on the spinner to keep the game interesting. The well made pieces can withstand little fingers, and girls ages 3-7 will love pretending with pieces even when you aren't playing the game. This game is for two to four players.
7. Taboo (ages 7+)
This game is older, and probably has lot some of the spotlight in the world of apps and angry birds. However, it's a great game to play with a lot of people. You divide up into two teams and one person tries to get their team members to say a word. The trick is the one that has to describe the word can't use five key words that one would typically use. For example, if the word is dog- the card would prohibit you from saying the words canine, puppy, fur, woof, and tail. It's fun and loud.
8. Set (ages 8+)
Another game that is simple in concept, and challenging in play. Cards are laid out and players call out when they see a pattern. It can be played with any number of players.
9. Scrabble, Scrabble Junior (ages 6+)
I can't leave my most favorite word game off the list. Of course classic scrabble is for ages 10+, but there are various versions of scrabble junior, including a Dora variety and a wildlife version. It's a fun game and builds vocabulary skills too!
10. Angry Birds (ages 6+)
No no, not the app. This game is an actual building game, complete with birds and pigs and a catapult. Kids will love the pieces for building, and the cards in the game are a bonus. Good luck getting them to listen long enough to hear the rules.
11. Jenga (ages 6+)
Another oldie but goodie. Blocks are stacked higher and higher until someone topples it.
12. Settlers of Catan (ages 10-14+)
This game is more involved and for older kids, but it's a fabulous strategy game! The board is never the same twice, and there are a lot of aspects about it that are fun- negotiating, building roads, settling areas, etc. It does take awhile, so be prepared to settle in with this game.
Other classic games that are sure to be a success....