The Best Classic Board Games for Kids, Plus What’s Trending This Year

by: Jennifer Caffelle
Board games are a great, inexpensive way for families to spend quality time together, especially on rainy days. Check out our favorite classic board games for kids, plus the top games of this year.

Editor’s Note: We know raising kids can be hard. That’s why we’re dedicated to making your life easier with the latest and greatest parenting advice and products. We wanted to let you know that if you chose to purchase one of the items featured in this post, we may receive a small commission for it.

From rainy days to family vacations, breaking out a board game is an excellent way to engage your children while hitting pause on electronics.

More: The Importance of Playing Games With Your Preschooler

Whether you are looking for some of the best games for 2020 or would rather throw it back to the classics, the options are limitless. Board games aren’t just fun for the kids, they can be fun for the whole family!

The Best Classic Board Games for Kids

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Scrabble

Your classic word game.  Whether you sit down to play all the way through or keep coming back throughout the day, Scrabble is great for players both young and old.  Keep a dictionary close by if you really want to challenge each other!

Purchase it here.

Clue

A little murder, a little mystery.  Keep players guessing as you work to determine who, what and where.  If your children like a little suspense then this ever-changing  mystery game is sure to keep them engaged.

Purchase it here.

Sorry

Easy to learn for your next game night, Sorry! is a Hasbro classic. An unpredictable board game of mostly chance and luck, your children are sure to delight in sending their opponents sliding backwards.

Purchase it here.

Chinese Checkers

With the ability to have up to 6 players this is the perfect classic game for family gathering.

Purchase it here.

Chutes and Ladders

A Hasbro classic for the youngest players, a fun game geared towards children starting at 3 years old. Whether you are completing good deeds and climbing up ladders or being sent sliding down it’s a race to the finish line. No reading is necessary, a fun spinner allows children to engage while practicing their numbers.

Purchase it here.

Chess

A classic strategy game but with a number of rules. Recommended for children ages 10+, Chess is difficult, but a classic for sure. Stretch those brain muscles as you practice concentration, patience and strategy.

Purchase it here.

Monopoly

A classic real estate game with many skills to master that can relate to real life! Depending on the age of your children there are Junior editions, expansion packs, and speed cards. Learn all about buying, saving, selling...important money skills!

Purchase it here.

Twister

If you’re ready to get up and move Twister is a great way to balance, twist and turn, but make sure you don’t fall down! For those days you are stuck inside, here is a fun and challenging way to burn a little energy. With a colorful spinner and large “game board” even the youngest players will enjoy getting twisted.

Purchase it here.

Candy Land

Another perfect game for little ones starting at only 3 years old! No reading is required, but even the youngest players can match their colored cards to the game board. When you are ready to introduce beginners to a board game, this is a sweet way to do it.

Purchase it here.

Guess Who?

A Hasbro classic, Guess Who? Is the original guessing game. Age appropriate for children over 6 years old, enjoy watching them think outside of the box as they challenge each other to solve the mystery. With 2 game boards and cards that are easy to interchange this game can be played over and over without becoming predictable. Your child is sure to get excited each time they get close to figuring out who is left standing!

Purchase it here.

Trouble

With a built in “pop-o-matic” die roller you don’t have to worry about small dice rolling away.  Trouble has an exciting game board and surprising twists and turns.  A game of luck and chance your kids will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens with each roll of the dice.

Purchase it here.

Operation

Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination are a must in the operating room!  Even the most meticulous children will get a kick out of trying to operate without setting off the buzzer!  Operation should definitely be on your list of favorite kids games, whether taking turns or playing solo there are hours of entertainment just waiting.

Purchase it here.

Game of Life

If you’re looking for a longer game, this is a great option.  With a fun spinner, players will choose which adventure their characters will go on.  With real life choices, such as careers, vacations and family size, there is never a dull moment in the Game of Life.

Purchase it here.

Mancala

Perfect for traveling, this is a great addition to your vacation entertainment.  A game of strategy and a practice in patience!  Mancala goes fast, improve your strategy with each round or trade off between players.

Purchase it here.

Connect 4

Your classic grid, two colors, and a race to connect 4.  This is simple and fast, perfect for short attention spans.  The more you play the more strategy children learn, which means they will keep wanting to come back for more!

Purchase it here.

The Best Board Games for Kids in 2020

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Catan

Currently one of the most popular strategy games there is coming in with 4.8 stars and almost 6,000 reviews on Amazon!  Perfect for 3-4 players ages 10+.  Kids with a flair for strategy and puzzles will find this game most rewarding.  Portable editions, extensions and expansion packs are available for the truly committed gamers.

Purchase it here.

Hoot Owl Hoot

Rather than having players compete against each other, this game focuses on collaboration and teamwork.  Starting at just age 4 this is a great game for little ones who can practice problem solving skills while working together to beat the rising sun!  Get the owls back to their nest and everybody wins.

Purchase it here.

Spot It

This is a great game to toss in your bag and take with you as you travel.  Meant for children 7+ it is a simple option for involving younger children.  Put their observation skills to the test as they try and spot the one matching symbol between two cards.  Excellent for increasing focus and speech and language skills for young children.  The faster you are, the better!  Get in on the frenzy of fun as everyone scrambles to quickly spot it! 

Purchase it here.

Pandemic

Geared towards older children, ages 8+, Pandemic is a great cooperative game where everyone wins, or everyone loses.  Collaboration and teamwork are needed as you race against the clock to wipe out 4 diseases before they take over mankind. Work together to save the world!  Endless expansion packs means you’ll never be bored during a family game night.

Purchase it here.

Codenames

You need at least 4 people to play, but if you have more it’s even better!  Typically a quick 15 minute word game, which does involve some strategy and a whole lot of mystery.  Teams are required, but it is fast and fun, a great party must have.

Purchase it here.

Sequence

Another highly rated strategy game that is easy enough for kids but still challenging for adults, get ready to stretch those brain cells!  With a mixture of card game and board game Sequence is a race to get a 5 card sequence while using your chips to block other players.  An easy to learn game makes this great for children ages 7+ as well as those grown-up.

Purchase it here.

Richard Scarry’s Busy Town - Eye Found It

A cooperative game geared towards younger children, this game board is 6 feet long!  With a colorful spinner and 4 game pieces, 2-4 players work as a team while using object identification and matching skills.

Purchase it here.

Zingo

Perfect for younger children who also want to participate in game night, non stop fun with easy clean up!  Zingo is a fun spin on the classic game, Bingo, where you race to be the first to fill your card.  Zingo is a great way to reinforce language and matching skills and is age appropriate for children as young as a 3 year-old.  Used in classrooms for many younger kids, such as preschoolers, Zingo is great for family fun as well as.

Purchase it here.

Ticket to Ride

“With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes” as described by Amazon.  With a colorful game board, Ticket to Ride can be competitive and addictive.  Players will build their routes across the map of North America, another great learning opportunity for children.  Perfect for beginners, and if you love it as much as we think you will there are endless spin-offs you can also purchase (United States, Europe, Germany, Nordic Countries and MORE!).

Purchase it here.

Qwirkle

If you’re looking for an educational game geared towards children ages 6 years old and up, look no further!  The rules are simple, match by color or shape, this is a mix between Scramble and Dominos.  Qwirkle will help your child work on spatial recognition, planning, and problem solving.  Using simple concepts that are easy to understand, you can reinforce colors, shapes and numbers with this award winning game! (With over 3 million copies sold, Qwirkle has won numerous awards. Some awards include: Major Fun Award; Mensa Select Award; National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval; Parents' Choice Gold Award)

Purchase it here.

Blokus

Sure to be a game night favorite, Blokus received a Mensa award for promoting brain activity!  Fun for all ages, this game is sure to make you think as you strategize how to place your colored pieces on the game board, which becomes more challenging as the board fills up.  Think Tetris, but with 2-4 players.  Typically 30-minute games, which are short enough to keep the attention span of even your youngest players.

Purchase it here.

Tenzi

A fast dice game named one of ASTRA’s best toys for kids.  With 10 dice, the object of this game is to be the first to get all your dice showing the same number.  With the fast pace and flurry of excitement your children are sure to enjoy racing against themselves.  With additional cards you can buy there are over 77 ways to play, every game can be something new and exciting!

Purchase it here.

Sushi Go Party

Promoting learning for strategy and probability, Sushi Go Party is fun for up to 8 players.  With a game board to keep track of players' scores, this is a card game that typically lasts 20 minutes, plenty of time for multiple rounds!  Likely to become a family favorite, best for kids ages above 8.

Purchase it here.

Heist

Heist is a fast-paced cooperative team challenge game, perfect for your next family game night.  With 5 progressive game levels there is an added challenge the more you play.  Be ready for a lot of quick thinking during short 5-minute games.

Purchase it here.

Clack!

Great for younger children, this game comes with two dice and magnetic discs that snap together with a satisfying “clack”!  Match the right shape and color and see who can get the tallest stack.  Excellent visual reinforcement and hand eye coordination for early learners.

Purchase it here.

Looking for more ideas for keeping the kids busy? Visit our Activities Center for craft ideas, printables, game and book ideas, and more.