Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written before about all sorts board games — including the best four-player board games, two-player board games, and board games for adults — here we’ve rounded up the best board games for kids as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated board game for kids
“It’s rare to find a game that everyone in the family loves. This is that game,” says one of over 3,500 five-star reviewers. They add, “There’s enough strategy in it that you can make or break your game on your own merits, but there’s also enough element of chance (and the strategy isn’t too deep) that younger kids will enjoy it too.” One reviewer describes the concept as “relatively easy, but it’s a lot of fun,” explaining, “The board is set up like a map of the United States, and each person is given routes that they have to complete. You get points for completing your route, or you lose those points if you don’t get them.” It’s rated for ages 8 and up, but some report younger kids picking it up quite easily. “Believe the hype on this one,” says one gamer, who’s since purchased a bunch of expansion packs. “I was skeptical at first, but I’m so glad I gave it a try. We are now huge fans of the Ticket to Ride series. We own Europe, Africa and the original, all of which are super fun to play, and they only take about an hour to complete, making it perfect for any evening.”
Best-rated (less expensive) board game for kids
Over 2,300 five-star reviewers weigh in to praise the classic board game Connect 4. Many purchasers highlight how easy it was for their kids to learn and understand how to play, and they also love that it doesn’t take too long to finish a game. “As a busy mom to three kids, it’s hard to juggle all I have to get done and still get in quality time with my children,” one reviewer writes. “It’s short enough that I can play a few rounds and then let the kids play each other while I finish up cleaning or whatever.” Many parents found themselves getting a little nostalgic too. “This is the same classic game that I played when I was a kid, and now I can play it with my children,” writes one. “We got the game at Christmas, and it’s now eight months later and they still pull it out to play all the time. I think this one will be a keeper.”
And now, some micro-picks for every type of board game for kids you might be looking for
Best simple board game for kids
Candy Land is rated for ages 3 and up, and a great deal of reviewers praise it as a great game to play with young kids. “I simply cannot think of a better beginning board game for your toddler,” writes one purchaser. “They will love the bright colors, as well as the speed and simplicity of the play. This familiar fame sets up simply and teaches basic concepts of rules, turn taking and paying attention.” Another reviewer agrees, calling Candy Land “the perfect game for little ones who can’t really use logic or strategy yet. They only need to know their colors and they’re set to go.” They add, “My grandchildren love playing when the come to visit. It’s definitely a hit in our family.”
Best collaborative board game for kids
“This game was the big winner at Christmas. We played it six times that day and have been playing it daily since,” writes one reviewer. Many also praise the “collaborative” nature of the game, which they say makes for a fun and accessible way to introduce the value of teamwork, like one who says, “I bought this for my 4-year-old daughter. She usually doesn’t like board games because she doesn’t like losing. But nobody loses in this game, so it is a hit.” Summarizing the concept of the game, one reviewer writes: “There are about ten magnifying glasses, a cardboard boat, six cardboard pieces of food, cards, a spinner, and a timer. The goal? Everyone has to make it to the boat and the boat has to make it to Picnic Island before the pigs eat all the food. The youngest person goes first.”
Best interactive board game for kids
This board game has over 1,700 five-star reviews, and we featured it on our roundup of the best gifts for 3-year-olds. Parents love the simple concept of the game, where kids pick up plastic acorns with a tweezerlike “squirrel grabber” and place them in their corresponding color-coded spots in a plastic tree-trunk piece. (And over 200 reviewers mention the “squirrel grabber” tool as a great way to practice “fine motor skills.”) One reviewer calls it, “Such a fun game to play with a toddler! I was nervous about playing a board game with him as sometimes I think it’s hard for me to explain the rules, but this game is literally SO EASY (in a good way!).” Another says, “The game’s concept is easy for my toddler to grasp and the gameplay is short; maybe ten minutes, short enough for little one’s attention spans.” As one purchaser puts it, “If you’re on the fence, GET this game for your kiddos, you won’t be sorry. It’s perfect for teaching turn taking and matching colors.”
Best family board game for kids
Another classic game, Sorry! is a hit with kids and parents alike thanks to its simple gameplay. “I played this years ago when I was a kid, and wanted to introduce it to my family,” shares one purchaser. “It was very easy to learn and we were all playing in no time. Good way to disconnect from tablets and TV and get the family together.” Another calls Sorry! “the perfect game for children and adults to play together! There’s an opportunity for counting and reinforcing rote memory, not many pieces to hang onto, and it’s easy enough for even the youngest player.” It’s rated for ages 6 and up, but many report their 4 and 5-year-olds playing the game without any issues: “My 5-year-old LOVES this game. And it’s fun for grownups too. Great for family game night.”
Best building board game for kids
Purchasers highlight the creative and fun nature of Mouse Trap’s gameplay. “The kids enjoy building the game almost as much as they do running the ball through the ‘Rube Goldberg’ setup,” one parent writes. One child therapist says it’s especially great for kids who like something more hands on and interactive. “If your child is a builder, I would get them this game,” they write. Others praise the quality of the many pieces that come with the game. “It’s extremely well made and the board accommodates the plastic trap pieces very snugly. Treat this gently and it should last for years,” a reviewer says. They go on to say it’s a “family-night favorite” for them and their 10 and 5-year old boys. “Who can resist setting up this trap and setting it off?”
Best card-based board game for kids
With over 2,400 five-star reviews, Sequence is described by many as pretty easy to learn — but they also tend to have a hard time summing up gameplay. “It’s a bit of bingo and poker combined,” writes one. Another says, “It’s like checkers and tic-tac-toe and rummy mixed.” However one chooses to describe it, the common denominator tends to be how much fun it is to play. “So much fun, really for the whole family. It’s no secret why this is such a great-selling game. It’s the perfect match between a card game and a board game, allowing fans of each to come together and enjoy hours and hours of quality time, face to face.” And many note that it has something for players of all ages: “An 8-year-old child will have as much fun as an 80-year-old grandmother,” writes one reviewer.
Best maze board game for kids
Of the 1,400 plus purchasers who left a review for this game, 89 percent gave it five stars. Many love that the board changes a bit with each game since the tiles move and are not fixed. “It has so much replayability since it’s never really the same game each time you play,” one parent explains. Another says, “The objective is to work your pawn around the game board to the assigned treasure. The trick is, each turn, players have the ability to change the board and the path of the maze.” And according to one reviewer explains, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. “There’s no reading needed to play the game, no counting, no questions to answer. It’s all about moving pieces on a constantly moving game board, so it works for all ages. It’s a game that takes just a minute or two to learn, and just a few turns around the board to get the hang of how to play.” Put simply: “If you enjoy board games that require strategy and include a fantasy aspect, this is for you.”
Best classic board game for kids
“This is the classic Monopoly that everyone loves,” writes one five-star reviewer. “It’s easy to learn and there’s instructions that you can refer to if you think anyone’s cheating.” Many others praise it as a “classic,” and as one purchaser says, “In this day and age of the kids always playing video games, this is something a family can sit down and play together.” Some joke about the game’s reputation for inspiring some serious competition. “I think you are supposed to let your kids win, but I mopped the floor with them,” writes one parent. Yes, plenty of adults are fans of the game, but this is first and foremost a game for kids. As one one reviewer says, “My kids absolutely love it.”
Best chess set for kids
“If you’re looking for a way to teach a kid chess without the pieces being thrown off the board, or them wandering away because they got frustrated, this is the game you need,” one reviewer writes. That’s because No Stress Chess contains a full chess set, intended to help teach the rules and strategies of the game with the use of an included deck of cards. One satisfied customer who bought this for their son writes, “Even on the first night that we played he was able to grasp the concepts of the game quite easily thanks to the card system that this set uses. Within a few games he was already confident enough to play without the cards. He still has a way to go, but this set has allowed him to enjoy chess, rather than be frustrated and quit learning the old-fashioned way.”
Best word-based board game for kids
The classic word-building game Scrabble has plenty of loyal fans, with just under 80 percent of purchasers leaving a five-star rating. “Educational and the kids don’t even realize they are learning,” writes one parent, who calls it a “fun game for everyone.” Many other parents appreciate its educational bent. “A great game to play with kids who are learning to spell,” says one. But many others simply highlight how fun it is to play. “I’m shocked, the preteen enjoys it so much that we play until the wee hours of the night. Highly recommended for family fun,” reads one review. As one purchaser puts it: “Who doesn’t like a good game of Scrabble?”
Best strategy board game for kids
Settlers of Catan is intended for older kids and adults, with a suggested age range of 10 and up. The game has many passionate fans, one of whom warns, “Don’t try this unless you plan on getting addicted. Your life will forever be altered. You’ll find yourself begging strangers to come over to play. Watching YouTube videos to improve your game, bribing your children.” One parent writes that it’s a big hit for family game nights: “Endless hours of fun for us and the kids. The game involves strategy, making trade deals, and there are several ways to win. Each of my kids has their own strategy, and it’s fun to see them learning about honesty and shrewd bargaining.” As one purchaser advises, “Buy this game, read the instructions (thoroughly) and then keep your eyes peeled, because your opponents will quickly realize there are no friendships across the board in Catan, and your success hinges on their destruction.”
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