The best board games will keep your family happily entertained. The challenge is finding the right one for your clan. Here are 10 of my favorites, sorted to meet your family’s needs.
The Best Board Games for Toddlers
1) Candy Land
The Game: Move gingerbread friends through a candy-filled world.
Teaches: Colors and counting.
Family: Imaginative setting will still engage older siblings.
2) Matching Games
The Game: Cards with pictures that you turn over one at a time, trying to find the match.
Teaches: Language, image identification, sorting skills.
Family: Can be played alone or with multiple people.
The Best Board Games for Preschoolers
3) Hungry, Hungry Hippo
The Game: Plastic hippos munch marble “food.”
Teaches: Hand-eye coordination and counting.
Family: Entertaining for older siblings.
4) Chutes and Ladders
The Game: Characters go down chutes for bad behavior, up ladders if they’re good.
Teaches: counting, concepts of behavior and consequences.
Family: Older siblings will still feel competitive about this game.
The Best Board Games for Kids
The Game: A picture is stuck in a headband so that you can’t see it. You guess the picture by asking yes or no questions.
Teaches: Logic and deductive reasoning.
Family: Ages two and up can be included and helped along.
6) Scrabble, Jr.
The Game: You are given a few letters at a time with which to spell words pictured on a board. A blank adult board is on the back for older kids.
Teaches: Reading, spelling and strategy.
Family: Younger, non-readers can play, focusing on alphabet more than whole words.
The Best Board Games for Teens
The Game: Players attempt challenges involving acting, drawing, sculpting, and trivia.
Family: Best for older elementary and up.
Intensity: You will be laughing, yelling, and up on your feet.
The Game: Players must think of an item in each of several categories for a given letter.
Family: Best for teens and up.
Intensity: This game can get raunchy, geeky, hilarious or very competitive.
The Best Board Game for Traveling
9) Mad Libs
The Game: One person asks others to supply words (a noun, a verb, etc) for a story with blanks.
Family: Early elementary and up will be the youngest who can understand word-types.
Intensity: Using icky or goofy words keeps everyone amused.
The Best Cheap Board Game
The Game: Players advance disks across a board and claim pieces they jump over.
Family: Children as young as four can play, especially if you’re flexible with rules.
Intensity: This is a calm, quiet game of strategy. It can be riveting for the right people, but don’t expect it to keep a wild group of kids entertained.