In the coming long winter months of continuing to social distance, at-home family activities will be key, so today we’re rounding up 8 board games to play with young children — specifically, games that won’t make you cringe when your kid takes them off the shelf!
When I asked for input in one of my mom Facebook groups, I got a ton of suggestions — and it was interesting to see the differences of opinion around a few games, including the classic Candy Land (which has gotten an “interesting” redesign since I first played it 30+ years ago). Some said they enjoy it, while others were definitely not fans — I am in the latter group.
What are your favorite board games to play with young children? Least favorite?
The games below were all well recommended by more than one mom, and the few of them that I’ve played with my family (e.g., Race for the Treasure), I’d vouch for, too! If you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas, some of these games will arrive by Christmas; otherwise, you can often order online and pick up in-store.
If you have older kids or teenagers, click on over to Corporette, where a few years ago we suggested six great games for grown-ups — some would be appropriate for them, too. If you’re looking for some solo wintertime indoor activities for yourself, check out our Corporette posts on coloring books for adults, how to write a novel, how to get started with digital photo books, and subversive cross stitch!
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The Best Family Board Games For Kids 4–8 (They Don’t Suck, Promise!)
Age: 4 and up (2 or more players)
Zingo is marketed as “Bingo with a Zing” — it’s a very basic game that helps kids learn, spell, and use words (simple ones like dog, bird, and clock), and helps improve their memory, too. Once you get a full card, you yell “Zingo!” It’s $19.99 at Amazon and Target.
Race to the Treasure
Age: 5–6 years
We have this game, and it was definitely one I didn’t mind playing when my son was younger. The object is to beat the ogre to the treasure by building a path and collecting keys. Cooperative games like this can be a nice option, especially if your kids are still learning to lose, er, gracefully. It’s $15.95 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Age: 6 and up (up to 6 players)
Most of you probably played this game growing up, so I don’t think any explanation is necessary! I think many people have a love/hate relationship with this game, since you can be winning handily and suddenly have your luck turn on a dime. It’s $7.97 at Amazon and Target.
Ticket to Ride: First Journey
Age: 6 and up (2–4 players)
Ticket to Ride is a really popular game for adults with several versions (I’ve been wanting to try it!), and this is a version for younger kids. Players use cards to claim train routes across the map and also collect tickets — you need six to win. It’s $29.99 at Amazon and Target.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Age: 4 and up (2–4 players)
Definitely a classic! If you’re looking for a not-so-quiet game to help your kid burn off some steam (without running around) and have fun, this is perfect. We always ended up laughing when we played this when my son was little. It’s $17.84 at Amazon and $19.99 at Target.
Age: 5 and up (2–4 players)
In this cooperative game, players work together to try to find the guilty fox (he stole a pot pie!) by revealing suspects, finding clues, and using the clue decoder — don’t let the fox escape and get outfoxed! It’s $19.53 at Amazon.
Which do you think are the best family board games for kids 4–8? What are your LEAST favorite? What games do you like that can be played virtually with family members right now?