I love the way a fun board game can bring together a family. When the game is right everyone can have fun and you make the kind of memories that kids think back on the rest of their lives. We have board games that everyone from the toddler to the grown ups can play in our game cupboard. Here are some favorites.
The following board games are favorites in my family or were recommended by readers. You’ll find them listed in sections, along with links to further recommendations for games for each age group:
- Board Games for Toddlers
- Board Games for Preschoolers
- Board Games for Younger Kids
- Board Games for Big Kids and Grown Ups
The ages listed come from personal experience as well as looking through reviews for each game, so they may not be the same as what the manufacturer recommends, but they’ll work for most people.
Links to games are Amazon affiliate links.
Roll, it’s your turn!
Best Board Games for Toddlers:
(Games good for approximately ages 1, 2 & 3)
The most successful board games for toddlers involves action and movement. Toddlers over age 2 or so may begin to be able to play board games with simple rules of play. Top recommendation in this list for long lasting play value is Snails Pace Race.
Thinkfun Roll and Play Board Game – Age: 18 months+ Parents and older siblings can play this game with the toddler, Players: 2+, Cooperative: yes
Toddlers get to roll the soft die and the cards prompt fun interactions and movement ideas that a parent or older sibling can do with the youngster. Easy to involve the whole family, because who can resist making a toddler smile? Now they’ve come out with a dance version too: The Move and Groove Game – cute!
Ravensburger Snail’s Pace Race – Age: 2 – 5, Players: 1-6, Cooperative: It doesn’t feel very competitive if you don’t present it that way.
I recommend this game because my kids have all enjoyed it and played it both together and on their own. The older kids can help the toddler with the board game and the snails and dice are pretty wooden pieces. As they roll the colors to move the snails it can create happy conversation about, “What snail do you think will win the game? Go blue go! Only ___ more spaces!”.
Haba – My First Orchard – Age: 2+, Players: 1-4, Cooperative: yes
My First Orchard is the younger version of Haba’s extremely popular Orchard game. In the toddler version of this board game the pieces are larger and the play is simple. The wooden fruits are beautiful and everyone can work together to save them from the hungry crow. Haba also has one of the biggest selections of games for toddlers with their “My First Games Series“.
Not a game exactly, but good for prompting lots of pretend play with your toddler like, “Can you chomp like an alligator?!” These animal flashcards come on a ring so you don’t lose them and are illustrated with cute pictures your toddler will recognize.
Find more of our favorite board games for your 1, 2 or 3 year old, with descriptions here: More of the Best Board Games for Toddlers
Best Board Games for Preschoolers:
(Games good for approximately ages 4-6 with some good for 3 year olds)
Richard Scarry Busy Town Age: 3-8, Players: 2-4, Cooperative: yes
This game for preschoolers comes recommended by readers as well as parenting bloggers I talked to. The game comes with a large map of Busytown for a game board and players get to work together to find items and get to the the ferry to go have a picnic. One reader said her kids favorite games are this one and the Richard Scarry Airport Game which is similar and her kids love it because it comes with little airplanes.
Hisss Age: 3+, Players: 2-5, Cooperative: no
Hisss has remained a well loved game for two years for my boys. It’s simple enough that after a few games younger kids can play it together on their own. It’s not thrilling for adults, but I don’t mind playing with them either, and it isn’t one of those never-ending kid games. You are matching snake cards according to color to try and create entire snakes. We all have fun going HISSSSS when we pick up a snake we’ve completed.
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game – Age: 3-7, Players: 2-4, Cooperative: no
Players have to use little tongs to pick, steal or put back an acorn, depending on what the spinner lands on. The action of using tongs is great for coordination. Recommended by readers as a new favorite, this is one I’m leaning towards getting for my five year old.
Gobblet Gobblers – Age: 4+, Players: 2, Cooperative: no
A great game that is fun for parents too. It’s played almost just like tic-tac-toe (so, VERY easy to learn) but you have the fun of being able to “gobble” pieces, making it so sometimes your four year old catches you off guard and wins. The pieces are high quality wood, the game play is quick, and kids begin learning strategy – highly recommended.
Catch Me! Tin Game by Haba– Age: 3-7, Players: 2-4, Cooperative: no
Players try to snatch their mice away to safety and save them from the cat in this cute game. Lots and lots of laughter as players try to save the mice.
Find more of our favorite board games for 4, 5 and 6 year olds here:
More of the Best Board Games for Preschoolers
Best Younger Kid Board Games:
(Board Games good for approximately ages 5, 6, 7, 8+)
Chickyboom – Age: 4+, Players: 2, Cooperative: It can be if you decide to work together to “save the chickens!”
Chickyboom is another game that’s fun for kids and grown ups. It relies on steady hands so younger players may be at a disadvantage, but your 3 or 4 year old could join in if the other players are willing. We usually play it as one team trying to save the chickens, so this isn’t a problem. My kids love to do pretend play with the nice wooden pieces. We all shout chickyBOOM!!! when the board falls. – highly recommended.
Labyrinth – Age: 8+, Players: 1-4, Cooperative: no
In this game with sliding maze pieces players have to find treasures and get back home. You have to visualize how the maze will change taking a turn making it very engaging. We used to have this game when I was a kid and my brother and I both agree that it really sparked our imaginations. Finding treasures in the maze is an enchanting experience.
eeBoo Obstacles Game – Age: 5+, Players: 2-5, Cooperative: yes
Comes recommended as a fun game for stimulating creative thinking. Everyone works together to come up with solution to the obstacles and make their way to the finish.
Spot It – Age: 5+, Players: 2-8, Cooperative: no
After having this game recommended to us over and over we got it as a Christmas present. Players try to be the first to spot the only two similarities between two cards. This game travels well due to size and there are multiple ways to play, as well as multiple different versions such as Disney Frozen Versions, and Educational Sets.
Find more Fun Games for Young Kids here:
Favorite Card Games for Kids
Board Games for Big Kids and Grown-Ups
(These are games you’ll want to play even without kids.)
The following are board games that we can play with the kids, so they’re great for a family game night, and also you might find yourself choosing these games even if you’re not playing with the kids. When we get together with the extended family on holidays, we wait until the kids are asleep so all the grown ups can play these.
Ticket To Ride – Age: 8+, Players: 2-5, Cooperative: no
It involves strategy as you try to claim the most train routes. This is a fun game for adults and kids. You can read the in depth reviews to find out more about how this is played. My only warning would be, this is a difficult game to play with toddlers around – lots of little train pieces. When my oldest son was little he loved looking at the game board and lining up the little trains, but that isn’t as easy to supervise with more than one kid.
Qwirkle – Age: 5+, Players: 2-4, Cooperative: no
This game of colors, shapes, and strategy can be played by kids as young as 5, but we stayed up late on Thanksgiving playing as kids slept. The tiles are beautiful, shiny wooden pieces, and the game play is simple yet strategic. I don’t see our kids “outgrowing” this game.
Morphology– Age: 13+ or 8+ for the Jr. version; younger kids had fun being on a team, Players: 4+, Cooperative: no
This game is hilarious. My stomach hurt from laughing so much. It’s like pictionary with objects and somehow elicits the most ridiculous and funny guesses. There’s also Morphology Junior for kids 8 and up, which might be a good choice for families with all young kids. The junior edition is played very similarly to the regular version; it’s fun for grown ups too. Kids do need to be able to read or team up with readers. The cards in the Jr. version include an optional hint and they might be considered “easier” than the regular game version, also the Jr. game pieces are slightly larger. Either game is a ton of creative fun.
Settler of Catan – Ages: 10+ (8 or 9 year olds may enjoy playing, depending on patience level), Players: 3-4 unless you buy an 5-6 player expansion, Cooperative: no
This is such a classic board game. Kids as young as 8 years old or so can learn to play it, and it is a family favorite for everyone. Once you get the hang of the original version you’ll probably want to get one of the expansions (note that you do need the original version to play the expansions). We have enjoyed the Sea Farrers expansion, and next on our wishlist is Cities and Knights.
Do you have any favorite fun games for kids I should take a look at? What is your favorite board game for toddlers, preschoolers or big kids? I’d love to hear your suggestions!