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Board Games for Children 8 and Up

Updated on July 28, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

Rose Mary, an occupational therapist since 1987, is experienced with pre-term infants, early intervention, school therapy, and home health.

These are classic board games for children 8 and up, with many suitable for “kids of all ages”. Featured games are some of my personal favorites from my time working as a pediatric and school-based Occupational Therapist, as well as from my own childhood. Inherent to board games is the facilitation of basic skills in visual, motor, cognitive and social development. I've also written on classic games for children 3- to 8-years old.

Board games were family staples 30 years ago. TV commercials depicting parents and their children gathered together around the dining table for a rousing board game were actually reality-based. These were the days of 3 television networks, no home computers and no cell phones. There was 18 hours of programming a day and no cable television nor VCR.

Parents and kids alike now tend to turn to electronics for solitary entertainment. Cable television and streaming provide unlimited entertainment options. We have adults and kids slaves to their cell phone, with non-stop texting and gaming. Video games have progressed through many iterations- Nintendo, Wii, Xbox, and on and on we will go.

I challenge you to return to the lost art of family entertainment with classic board games.

Games reviewed in this article:

  • Guess Who
  • Battleship
  • Hangman
  • Monopoly
  • Clue
  • Twenty Questions for Kids

Guess Who

Guess Who
Guess Who | Source

Number of Players: 2 players

Ages: 6 to 12 years old

Brief Overview: Players try to guess their opponent’s “mystery person”. Each player has a game board grid with 48 character faces. Eliminations are made by asking yes and no questions, such as “Is your person a female?” and “Does your person have a beard?” Kids really love this game.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.0 of 5 stars from 642. Chief complaint was not enough diversity of the characters to make it interesting, and prolong the game. Complaints such as not enough women, not enough with glasses, etc.

Skills: Visual discrimination, visual-motor, fine motor, reasoning and strategy.

Versions: Many versions, including Star Wars, Marvel, Finding Dory, Disney Princesses, and electronic version. Travel version available, which is more challenging to fine motor manipulation skills due to smaller size.

Guess Who Game


Battleship Game
Battleship Game | Source

Number of Players: 2 players

Age: 7 to 12 years old

Brief Overview: Players place their fleet on their vertical grid. Players then take turns calling out and marking coordinates, hoping for a “hit”. First player to sink opponent’s fleet wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars from 865 raters. Chief complaints were that pegs fall out too easily, and there is no storage for the pegs.

Skills: Fine motor, strategy and reasoning. Very challenging in visual perception and visual motor.

Versions: Multiple editions, including Star Wars, 1967 vintage version, and electronic. Travel version available, which is more challenging to fine motor manipulation skills due to smaller size.

Classic Battleship Commercial


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Melissa and Doug HangmanVintage Hangman Game
Melissa and Doug Hangman
Melissa and Doug Hangman | Source
Vintage Hangman Game
Vintage Hangman Game | Source

Number of Players: 2 players

Ages: 6 to 12

Brief Overview: Each player spells out a word with the tiles. Players take turns guessing letters. A piece of the hangman is exposed for wrong guesses. Winner must guess opponent’s word before his/her own hangman is complete.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.1 of 5 stars from 271 raters for Melissa & Doug game. Raters liked that letter pieces are attached, and can’t be lost. Raters did not like that the pieces are noisy. Multiple complaints about the dry erase pen.

Skills: Visual perception, visual-motor, fine motor, spelling.

Versions: Multiple variations on the basic game in game pieces and packaging. Travel version available, which is more challenging to fine motor manipulation skills due to smaller size.


Monopoly Game
Monopoly Game | Source

Number Of Players: 2-8 players

Ages: 8 and up

Brief Overview: Monopoly was created by an unemployed Pennsylvania heating engineer during the depression in 1934. The game is based on purchasing real estate in Atlantic City. Players have the option to purchase real estate when they land on various locations. They may also purchase houses and hotels. Other players landing on these locations subsequently must pay to the owner. As players advance around the board, they pay and collect from other players. There are also chance cards and other pitfalls and opportunities. This game could last for days.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars from 746 raters for classic version. There are very few complaints, mainly of slight downsizing of the board and money tray, 4 houses do not fit on a property, and the cards are too flimsy.

Skills: Visual perception, visual-motor, fine motor, basic math skills, planning and strategy.

Versions: Star Trek, Disney, Indiana Jones, Planet Earth, Simpsons, Seinfeld, Pirates of the Caribbean, National Parks, Game of Thrones, Bob's Burgers, Deadpool, Star Wars, Pokeman, Golden Girls, and Electronic Banking.

Modifications: Monopoly Jr for 5 to 10 year old players. Some versions of the game have instructions for shorter play time.

Monopoly Commercial


Clue Game
Clue Game | Source

Number Of Players: 2-6 players, with up to 10 players depending on game version.

Ages: 8 and up

Brief Overview: This game is more than 50 years old, and is a who-dunnit murder mystery. There are 6 possible suspects and murder weapons for the death of Mr. Boddy. Players collect clues as they advance around the Mystery Mansion on the game board.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars from 605 raters for classic version. There were very few complaints.

Skills: Visual perception, visual-motor, fine motor, strategy.

Versions: Clue Jr, Harry Potter, Simpsons, The Office, Scooby Do, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Legend of Zelda, Star Wars, 1986 vintage version. Update of the classic game features celebrity mansion and characters who look like actors in the movie.

Modifications: Clue Jr for 5 to 10 year old players. Children play to discover who ate the cake before dinner. The Harry Potter version has players solving the disappearance of a fellow Hogwarts student.

Twenty Questions for Kids

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Older version
Older version
Older version | Source

Number Of Players: 2 to 10 players

Age: 7 and up

Brief Overview: Game includes 150 cards with 20 clues each, for a person, place, thing or year. Players advance around game board while trying to figure out clues.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars from 19 raters. Some complaints from parents who bought the game for younger children. Notice I have rated it for 7 and up.

Skills: Auditory processing, reasoning skills.

Modifications: Cards can be used to quiz other players with no need to use game board. Good transition or break activity between homework sessions.

How to Play Twenty Questions

More Classic Children’s And Family Board Games







Trivial Pursuit





Hollywood Squares





Chinese Checkers

Tiddly Winks


Have I sparked any memories of your favorite games? I hope I have inspired you to revisit classic board games for your children, or better yet, for your entire family. Add board games to your Christmas and Birthday shopping lists.

© 2009 rmcrayne


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