The right board game can make a tech obsessed young’un, drop an iPhone like a hot potato.
In this era of cool gadgetry (which of course, we love), sometimes it’s good to dial things back a notch.
Remember a time when the family would gather around the kitchen table, pick a board game and play? Together. No checking for texts, emails or feeding a Candy Crush addition. Just sheer, unadulterated family time with jokes and laughter and conversation.
To this day there’s no other toy or plaything that has the ability to unite a family more than the humble board game. So, we did some research. We asked a few ardent board gamer friends for their opinions on the best board games for kids, preschool age plus. This is what we came up with.
Best Board Games for Kids – Preschoolers
1. Feed the Woozle (Recommended age 3 year olds and up): This big, hairy monster has a pretty large appetite. It’ll eat almost anything to satisfy it’s never quest for food.
In this 2-6 player game, you take it in turns to approach the Woozle with a spoonful of snacks – things like toenail toast, chocolate covered flies and deep-fried socks… yummy! If you drop any of the snacks, the Woozle goes hungry. And you don’t want a hungry Woozle.
The number thrown on the dice determines how many snacks the Woozle gets.
There are 3 levels of play to this game. The first level is just regular walking to the Woozle and back. Level 2 involves a spinner, which will have you bunny hopping or hula dancing your way to the Woozle. Then there’s level 3, which is the blindfold challenge where you rely on the guidance of the other players to get you to the Woozle.
Popular board game for pre-schoolers because: It’s a game that grows with your little ones skill level. It encourages cooperative play, improves counting ability, fine motor skills, coordination and balance, and so much more.
2. Raccoon Rumpus (Recommended age 3 year olds and up): Each player gets a card of a raccoon standing in it’s underpants. Love it! Bound to raise a giggle with preschoolers.
Players take turns to roll 2 dice – a color dice and costume dice – then dress Mr Raccoon according to whatever the dice say. For example, if the color dice lands on blue and the costume dice lands on a shirt, then you have to find two cards that match both dice.
Alas, if the costume dice lands on the picture of the underpants, then you have to strip Mr Racoon back down to his undies. The winner of the game is the first player to dress the raccoon in 5 different costumes.
Great board game for 3 year olds+ because: It’s a fun 2 to 4 player game that will teach kids about colors and costumes while developing memory, matching and social skills.
3. Sequence for Kids (Recommended age 4 year olds and up): It’s essentially a strategy game, where every player starts off with 3 cards.
The cards have pictures on them and each picture matches up with a corresponding picture on the board. When you find a match, you place a colored chip on the board. You keep going like that until you manage to get 4 same colored chips in a row.
Sounds simple right? Just watch out for the dragon cards. They’re special wild cards that, when used by your opponent, knock your chip off the board and sabotage your attempts to win. It’s all good though because there are unicorn cards too. These allow you to place your chip anywhere on the board.
Great board game for 4 year olds+ because: It’s simple, fun and easy to learn with lots of strategy thrown into the mix. Plus the kiddos will develop their cognitive reasoning skills, pattern recognition, reading comprehension and forward thinking ability.
4. Enchanted Forest (Recommended age 4 year olds and up): Dare we say, an enchanting 2-6 player children’s board game? It’s an old classic which has been re-released several times over and is popular pick among board game fans.
The goal of this game is to find the treasure, as requested by the king. The king in this case is a deck of cards.
Each card features a classic fairy-tale treasure, like Cinderella’s glass slipper or magical beans from Jack and the Beanstalk etc, etc.
To play, you move around the board, peeking under trees in search of treasure and memorizing where it’s hidden. When a card with your matching treasure shows up, you can claim it. The first person to claim 3 treasure cards wins the game.
Best fantasy board game for pre-schoolers because: It develops critical thinking skills and strategy all while training the memory.
5. Chutes and Ladders (Recommended age 4 year olds and up): I guess we’re all familiar with Chutes and Ladders (or Snakes and Ladders as they say in the UK). This is one of those really simple games that you just want to play over and over again.
If the kiddos don’t have a version of this game knocking about in the home, go get it. Now. It’s just good family fun all round.
Best classic board game for 4 year olds because: It helps improves counting ability, adding up skills, aids learning number sequences and patterns.
6. Hoot Owl Hoot! (Recommended age 4 year olds and up): Owls aren’t big fans of daylight and in this game, they’re relying on you to help them navigate back to their nests before the sun comes up.
Each player has 3 color cards which are used to move the owls 1 or several steps closer to their nest. Alas there are also sun cards in the pack. Sun cards progressively turn the night sky into daytime, so you have to act quick.
Great pre-school kids board game because: It teaches color matching, strategic play and promotes good teamwork practices. A good pick for kids who don’t enjoy competitive games.
Best Board Games for 5 Year Olds and Up
7. Pie Face (Recommended for kids age 5 and up): OK, so this isn’t going to be the game for you if you’re seeking board games with high educational value.
But this is one of the best board games for kids who have a wacky, pie-in-your-face kind of humor. Which would be most kids. And a fair few adults too. It’s so easy to play, it needs no explanation.
Popular kids board games for 5 year olds+ because: It encourages players to laugh at themselves when they lose, promotes messy play and is highly entertaining.
8. Qwirkle (Recommended for ages 6 and up): The rules to this game are really, really simple. You build lines of tiles that are all one shape or all one color.
For every matching line of tiles you build, you earn points. The person with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Of course you need to apply a bit of clever thinking to outsmart the other players, which just adds to the fun.
Best board game for kids 6+ because: It develops pattern recognition, strategic and math skill. Plus, it’s so easy to learn that mixed age groups can play together without anyone getting bored. A top family board game pick.
9. Catan Junior (recommended for kids 6 and up): This is a 2-4 player adventure game when the kiddos get to build cool pirate hideouts in Spooky Island.
Players have to collect valuable resources such as wood, gold, weapons and food. The more hideouts you build, the more treasures you uncover.
But it’s not all plain sailing. You’ll have to watch out for the ever-so menacing Ghost Captain.
Great kids board game for 6+ because: It helps develop strategic thinking and promotes teamwork. All in all it’s good, clean, swashbuckling fun for the family.
10. Carcassonne (Recommended age 7 year olds and up): A medieval spin on the classic tile-laying game.
The goal of this 2-5 player game is to build the French city of Carcassonne by laying down land tiles that represent, roads, cities, fields and cloisters.
Each player has 8 followers (also known as meeples), which are used to claim points once sections of the game have been built.
The player with the most points by the end of the game is the champion.
Great board game for kids 7+ because: It’s all about strategy and thinking like a total boss. And, the kiddos get to develop their urban planning skills in the process.
11. LEGO Minotaurus (Recommended age 7 year olds and up): A 2-4 player game that adults will love just as much as the kids. Well, it is a LEGO board game after all.
Each player takes turns to navigate through the maze. The goal is to be the first to reach the sacred temple. But the temple is protected by a gruesome Minotaurus, who will stop at nothing to thwart your attempts to get there.
You also don’t want the other players from getting to the temple before you do, so you have to figure out ways to block them, while avoiding the Minotaurus.
Great board game for kids 7+ because: It’s all about strategy, solving problems, being brave and a little bit cunning.
12. Blokus (Recommended age 7 year olds and up): A colorful 2-4 player strategy game that’s fun, challenging, yet so easy to learn.
Basically, the first person to get rid of all their colored tiles wins. But of course, winning is never straightforward.
You’ll need to adopt a serious game plan in order to stop your opponents from beating you to the finish.
A top kids board game for 7+ because: It helps develop logic, spacial thinking, empathy, matching and math skills.
Best Board Games for 8 Year Olds and Up
13. Labyrinth (Recommended age 8 year olds and up): A game that involves a lot of treasure hunting and an ever-changing maze.
Each player is given an equal number of cards which when played, reveal the treasure they need to find (and move their game piece to).
Be the first to get rid of all your cards and you’re declared the victor of the Labyrinth.
Thing is, each player has the ability to slide out a maze piece of their choosing, which then changes the maze. You may find yourself intentionally or unintentionally blocked on your quest to reach the treasure, and lost in the Labyrinth forever.
Great kids board game for 8 + because: They’ll develop non-verbal reasoning, planning, logic and matching skills.
14. Incan Gold (Recommended age 8 year olds and up): This is an awesome treasure hunt game, where players turn explorers. Indiana Jones style. There’s a temple with different rooms to venture into.
Each room has treasures aplenty, but the further into the room you go, the more likely you are to run into a few… issues. Like mummies, giant arachnids and flames of hell.
You have to decide whether to keep the treasure you’ve already found or forge ahead and brave the challenges for even bigger wins. A case of go hard or go home.
Great board game for 8 year olds+ because: It helps improve critical thinking, analytical skills and develop a risk-takers mindset. It can also be played with up to 8 players, making it great to play at sleepovers or family gatherings.
15. Dixit Board Game (Recommended age 8 year olds and up): We’re told Dixit is a moreish board game with mass family appeal.
Players gets 6 picture cards and take turns to play the role of storyteller.
The storyteller picks a card from their stash and describes it to the other players, who have to match the description to one of their cards. Make sense so far?
All players vote for the best matched description and the player who has the best guess, wins the points.
Great board game for children 8+ because: It enhances creative thinking and storytelling skills. Plus you get to feast your eyes on a set of beautifully illustrated cards
16. King of Tokyo (Recommended age 8 year olds and up): An interesting and unique game where chaos and devastation is a good thing.
In this 2-6 player game, players morph into mutant monsters and other ghastly destroyers in an attempt to crush Tokyo. The last creature standing in the aftermath wins the title of king.
Great board game for children 8+ because: It’s fun, strategic and has a video gaming quality that just may tempt stubborn gamers away from their video consoles… for a while. It’s also super easy to teach and play.
17. 7 Wonders Game (Recommended age 10 year olds and up): OK, so this is more of a card game, but it still has that board game feel to it. It’s also a super popular board game for older children, so we just had to include it.
This 2-7 player game gets participants building magnificent structures from around the world.
There are a few challenges along the way though. Such as making sure you have the right resources in order to reach your goal and protect your city. You’ll be needing a strong military presence to defend against enemies vying to tear your city down.
The player with the most civilized (AKA complete) ancient world is declared the winner.
Best board games for 10 year olds+ because: There’s leadership, decision making, empire building and a whole lot of strategic planning and thinking going on with this game.
18. Forbidden Island Game (Recommended age 10 year olds and up): A 2-6 player tile and card game where everyone works as a team to collect 4 treasures from the forbidden island.
Thing is, the island is booby trapped. And by booby trapped we mean parts of the island is rigged to sink into the ocean on the turn of a card.
With this game you get to build the island first (it’s never the same island twice), then take on the identity of a character.
Each character has a special ability and it’s up to you to use that ability for the greater good of your fellow adventurers.
To win the game, you and your team need to find all 4 treasures and escape the island before it sinks beneath the sea.
Great kids board game for older kids because: It’s a good cooperative game with an engaging story line and a game that will develop strong problem solving skills and strategic thinking ability.
Do you agree with our picks for the best board games for kids? Think we’ve missed out on one heck of an awesome game? Let us know. We’re always updating.