Playing board games is a great way to spend some quality time as a family, but let’s be honest, sometimes the games themselves can be a real disappointment! Nothing makes me cringe more than when my kids ask “Mom, will you play Mousetrap with me”? Games are also a great toy alternative for Christmas and birthdays.
We have come across a few gems in our journey, so today I’d like to share them with you. My hope is that this list will give you a jumping-off point to start creating some great memories for you and your family! These are great board games for family game night or just a fun afternoon at home. Here is our growing list of board games for kids and adults to both enjoy!
I’ve separated them out into board games for younger kids and games older kids might enjoy more.
Board Games for Younger Kids (5-10+)
These fun family board games (and card games) are great when you have younger kids wanting to play. There are definitely games in here that older kids can enjoy, too, so don’t skip past them!
I came across Enchanted Forest while browsing on Amazon for Christmas presents. It sounded unlike any other game we had, and it was on sale, so I grabbed it. It did not disappoint. The object of the game is to find the magical object shown on the card under the trees in the enchanted forest. The magical objects are from well-known fairy tales (Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Little Pigs, etc.), so kids really enjoy looking for the objects they’ve read about in storybooks.
Why we like it: This game has a unique concept that isn’t like any other game I’ve seen. It works the kids’ (and your) memory since you have to remember which tree is hiding which object. We also really like it because the younger siblings can easily join in. Our four year old can play on her own and our 2-year-old helps one of the adults look under the trees. Highly Recommended!
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Uno is a classic game that most people are familiar with, and for good reason! Uno is a great way to introduce young children to card games. There is little reading (really, no reading, as the “word cards” are quickly recognized by the child and they know what to do), the colors are bright, and it’s fun to skip your parents!
Why we love it: One of the things I love about Uno is that my 6 year old and 4 year old can play by themselves. And they actually play. The rules are simple enough that an adult doesn’t need to be involved. I also love Uno because the whole family can play together and enjoy it. There is just something so fun when your kids skip you (or you skip your spouse!). For families with toddlers, we let the 2 year old sit on an adult lap and help lay the cards down when it’s their turn.
We also love Uno Flip!
Sleeping Queens is a great family card game. We got it for our daughters, but have also bought it for two sets of nephews! There is no reading involved, so it’s great for the younger set, but still fun for adults or older siblings. Players try to get queens worth varying number of points. Different power cards let you steal queens, put them back to sleep, and get more queens. But, beware because your opponent might have a defensive card to stop your power card! The player who wakes the most queens wins! The box says 8+, but our 4yo was able to play with no problems.
I was introduced to Rummikub in my teens by my grandmother. We played it a lot as a kid when we were at our Dad’s. My husband and I actually got it before we had children because we enjoyed playing it just the two of us. One Summer, at my Dad’s, my grandmother taught my 6 year old and her cousin to play. Now we play at home and it’s one of her favorite games. Kids do need to be able to recognize their numbers and know how to put them in order, but otherwise, the rules are pretty simple. When we play, our four year old is starting to play on her own, but sometimes she still want to be on someone else’s team.
Why we love it: I love it because it’s actually an adult game, so my husband and I have fun, too! It helps with number recognition and counting, so this could easily be incorporated into a homeschooling time, if desired.
A classic game most 30-something parents will remember. And it hasn’t changed at all! This is another game I have very fond memories of from my childhood, so I was excited to share it with the girls. They are enjoying it just as much! Each player chooses a person, then they try to guess who the other player has by asking questions. It’s very similar to 20 Questions.
Why we love it: This is another one that our 4- and 6-year-olds can play without any adult help – Yes! It’s also fun for adults to play with the kids and the games are pretty quick, so it’s nice if you just have a short time, but want to have some fun. It also gets kids using logical thinking, which is an added bonus in the homeschool department!
Sequence for Kids
My husband and I had played the adult version of Sequence before, but I didn’t know they had a children’s version until my sister-in-law brought it along on our beach vacation a couple of years ago. I’m so glad she did! My girls enjoyed playing it so much, that I bought our own version when we got home. Children try to get four chips in a row by drawing cards from a pile and choosing where to place their chip. The cards are fun animal characters and there are two of each animal, so there is (or can be) some strategy involved.
Why we love it: Even my two-year -old can play! The kids really like the animals, so that makes them like the game even more. Up to four people can play, so one adult can play with three children and everyone is having fun. It’s a very basic introduction to strategy in game playing, so a good starter game for young children. The games are also relatively quick, which can be nice.
This was a cool find last Christmas and I actually bought it for my husband and I to play. But, as soon as the girls saw the sparkly gems, they wanted to play, too! The rules are very simple. The only skill needed is to be able to match colors. Players take turns placing two-colored pieces according to the matching sapphires on the board. If you place the last piece to complete a sapphire, then you get the gem. The object is to get one gem of each color. When we play with the kids, we usually just play “the most gems win”. So, feel free to adjust accordingly.
Why we love it: I can’t say enough how much my kids love the sparkly sapphires. They even call it “the gem game”. So, the visual aspect is a big part of this game. I also love that the concept is so simple that it allows very young children to play without having to be on an adult’s team. Our middle little was three when we got this and she played on her own with no issue. It also introduces strategic thinking, which really makes the kids start to think.
Ok, full disclosure, we haven’t actually played this one yet. But, I can tell it’s going to be fun. It’s from Ravensburger (who made Enchanted Forest, so I’m sure it will be great!) If it’s not, I’ll be sure and update here. The gist is that you are trying to move your player, well, through the labyrinth. But, on each turn, players can alter the game board by sliding new pieces in on the sides. So, you may be going along and then BAM! your path gets blocked. I can see lots of strategy and GOTCHA! moments ahead!
UPDATE: This game is AWESOME!! Definitely a favorite for everyone in the family. Our 4 year old can play it, too, so it’s great if you have a wide age range. There is no real age advantage here.
Why we (will) love it: It’s a little more advanced game, so promises to be fun for the adult playing. There is actually and adult version of this game, too. I love the strategy it involves and the skill of rethinking your plan as things change. It should be different every time, too, since we will be sliding in new pieces as we go!
Yep, the classic game you remember. This is one of the (few) examples of a game that is still great after all these years. When I was ordering this, there were a few reviews that complained about the “newly redesigned” game board. But, actually, I rather like it! Yes, it’s brighter and busier than the classic you remember, but the graphics are awesome and fun to look at for the kiddos.
Why we love it: Even little ones can play as they only need to be able to find the next color that matches the card they drew. Or find the special square that matches the sweet treat card they drew. They don’t even need to be able to count. This is great for families with little kids because the elementary aged siblings will still enjoy it, but the younger ones get to play and feel “big”, too.
Hoot Owl Hoot
I bought this children’s game about a month ago and it was an immediate hit! I’ve been looking at “cooperative games” for a while, but was always on the fence. I wasn’t sure if they would be cheesy or actually fun. Well, one day, when Target was having a sale, I decided to give it a go. And, I’m glad I did. I actually really enjoy playing this game with the kids! The object is to get all the owls into the nest before the sun “rises”. You either get a colored card, similar to Candyland, and move one of the owls to the next space of that color, or a sun card. If you draw a sun card, you must move the sun one spot closer to “rising”. If all of the owls get to the nest first, it’s a win. But, if the sun rises first, then everyone loses.
Why we love it: I actually ended up loving the whole “cooperative” concept. No one got made because they didn’t win. You know what I mean…. And there are enough sun cards that it really is tricky (and sometimes impossible) to get all the owls in. There are six owls, but the directions suggest starting with three and adding more if you want. We go back and forth. The directions also say that if you jump over another owl, you are supposed to “hoot”. Well, when my husband plays, he makes every animal sound except for a “hoot” (because what else would a fun dad do?!) and the girls just think it’s a riot!
I bought Qbitz and Qbitz Jr. at the same time. It is made my Mindware, which has some pretty good toys and games. I’ve gotten lots of things for my kids (and adults) there before. My husband and I like to play the adult version and race to see who can complete the design from memory first. The only difference between the adult version and the child version is the number of cubes used to make up the designs. The child version only has four cubes. Perfect for little minds just getting the hang of it. You can play a few ways. Look at the card and then try to recreate the design from memory. Or, you can look at the card and recreate what you see. We actually play a combo with the girls: my 6yo likes to look at it, then recreate it from memory, but that’s a bit hard for my 4yo, so she gets to look at it while she does it. And we don’t really do a race, just see if you can get it right.
Why we love it: This game is great memory work for elementary aged kids and great visual work for preschool kiddos. It can also easily be played as a single-player game, too. That’s nice for a some quiet time.
Bugs in the Kitchen
We got Bugs in the Kitchen recently after returning a game that we got as a gift, but already had. It is so fun! The bug, which looks like a cockroach, buzzes around the board and each player is trying to guide it into their “trap.” You roll a die to see what type of utensil you move to alter the path of the bug.
Why we love it: It’s fun, fast-paced, and easy to play. The concept is simple enough that my two-year-old can play by herself and doesn’t need to be on someone’s team. You can try to guide the bug into your own trap, but it becomes really fun when players also try to keep the bug from going into other traps. My husband and I always have a good laugh when the bug almost goes in one trap and then scampers over to another trap instead.
This is a great game for kids and adults to enjoy. I don’t even feel like I am playing a kids’ game when we get this one out! Each player is given a set of trains and you must complete routes around the country by collecting colored train cards. The first player to complete six routes is the winner, but we almost always play past that and whoever gets the most routes is the winner because nobody wants to stop playing!
Why we love it: This game would be fun even if there were no kids playing! It’s competitive, but not so ruthless that it leads to meltdowns. And each game is different since you get different tickets every time. It is only for up to four players so not great if you have a large family. Children as young as 4 or 5 can play on their own team with no help after getting the hang of it.
I bought Carcasonne a few years ago for my husband and I to play, but, truth be told, this board game is more fun! Each card has two sides, similar to dominoes. Players take turns choosing new tiles to add to their kingdoms, but each new tile must match at least one side of the tile next to it. And, Players can only build a 5×5 grid, so there is a bit of strategy involved to maximize your score.
There are also expansion packs: Age of Giants and Queen Domino. Queen Domino lets up to 8 players play, so that’s great news for larger families!
Why we love it: This is a great beginner strategy game for younger kids. the games are also short, so attention spans don’t get tired. My daughter has beaten me just as many times as I have won, so it’s really a level playing field, which is nice for the kids.
I have never been a fan of Monopoly with its endless games. You can imagine my delight when a friend told me about this card game version that can be played in just 15 minutes! All the competition and fun of Monopoly without the all-day play. Players work to collect three complete property sets, but there are special cards like Debt Collectors, Forced Deals, and Deal Breakers to watch out for!
Why we love it: I love card games because they are easy to store! This has all the fun of classic Monopoly, but without all the money and little pieces. The box says ages 8+, but I know plenty of 6-year-olds who play it without issue.
Here’s a bonus game: Perfection! Super fun to race against the timer to get all the pieces in their correct spot before the board pops up. It’s even a challenge for adults!
Board Games for Older Kids
I cannot wait until my girls are a little bit older so we can play this. Villainous is a Ravensberger board game, so you know it’s going to be good! Each player takes on the role of one of Disney’s most famous villains (Ursula, Captain Hook, Maleficent, etc.). You are trying to achieve your villain’s goal while attempting to thwart your opponents’. This game is different every time and there are several expansion packs that allow for larger groups to play or more villains to choose from.
Why we love it: I have such fond memories of Disney movies as a kid and I’m sure many others do, too. It’s fun to take on the characters we have watched for years. This family board game gets rave reviews and comes from a company with a stellar board game history.
In a future Italian city-state, you are trying to “bribe, bluff, and manipulate” your way into power in a corrupt government on the brink of collapse. Coup is a fairly quick card game where players are trying to be the last player with cards. The game is easy to explain and only takes 10-15 minutes to play, so you don’t have to set an entire afternoon aside to play. Or you could play more than once! A few people have said that they added a few rules to encourage people to “challenge” each other if they thought they were lying. There are almost 3,000 reviews and it is 4.9 stars, so that’s always a good sign!
Why we love it: I love card games because they are easy to store and take on trips. No huge boxes to lug around! This game also says it’s for ages 10+, but it sounds like there are multiple levels of strategy as your kids get older, so this game can grow with your family. This is also a good game for large families as the company states that it can be played with 3-6 players!
These are some of our favorite games to play at our house. I hope you found a few gems and you enjoy them as much as we do! What are some of your favorite games to play with your kids? Leave your top suggestion in the comments below!
My husband and I first played Pit years ago before we even had kids. We used to get together with friends for a game night and a friend brought Pit and it was so fun! It even brought our quietest player out of her shell and had her yelling for cards! You are simulating the trading floor of the stock exchange. Players offer and trade cards trying to get nine of the same type. Pit has been around since 1904 and for good reason!
The goal of Cover Your Assets to is t be the first player to get to $1,000,000 in assets. Players build a portfolio by stacking their assets in a pile. But, your assets are only “safe” once they are covered by other assets! Until then, other players can steal assets from each other, so the game gets competitive and fun quickly!
Azul is a great game of strategy with beautiful tiles! Each player is trying to fill their mosaic and earn the most points. Points are scored each round after all the tiles are used. But, players must pick tiles if there are any left, which can leave you with tiles you can’t use and lower your score! this isn’t a fast paced game, but it is full of strategy and suspense as you hope other players don’t choose the tiles you want before it’s your turn! The box says 8+, but we do play it with our 5yo and she often wins! I put it in the older category simply because the games tend to be longer and slower paced. There is also a more complex, Stained Glass edition, as well as a Summer Palace edition.