Aside from bonding and strengthening family relationships, board games are a great opportunity for young children to learn and develop cognitive and motor skills. Board games can also teach focus, concepts of winning and losing, and complex thinking. All learning aside, board games are also just fun for kids and adults.
Tempted to try something else for family night? Here’s a selection of family board games that young children and adults can enjoy:
Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar Game
Based off the classic children’s book, Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar Game is a great introductory board game for young children. Players move across the fruit on the board, collecting butterfly puzzle pieces. To win, players must collect 5 pieces to build a whole butterfly. With beautiful artwork from Eric Carle’s original book, this game is a great supplement if your children have read The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. Gameplay is simple and one round lasts around 15 minutes.
Candy Land Kingdom of Sweet Adventures
A classic board game for young children, Candy Land is designed to be played without any reading required. Using colored cards to determine which space players should move to, this game is safe for young children as there are no die to present choking hazards. Nostalgic for adults, this game teaches children colors and following rules. Depending on your child, there are also character versions of Candy Land available, such as the Disney Princess edition, My Little Pony edition, Dora the Explorer edition, etc.
Hoot Owl Hoot! Board Game
By drawing colored cards, players move the owls forward on the board, and must reach the nest before the sun rises. Although similar in concept to Candy Land, Hoot Owl Hoot! requires cooperation between all players so all the owls can get to the nest. The game can be made easier or harder by changing the number of owls or number of sun cards. Children get the most out of teamwork games when adults play together, and they can discuss strategy and cooperation.
Noah’s Animal Rescue
This game fosters communication and cooperation, and teaches concepts of before and after, strategy and teamwork. Players flip over cards to move animals forward on the board. The goal of Noah’s Animal Rescue is for everyone to work together to get all the animals onto the ark. This is another game that young children can easily play as no reading is required. As cooperation and strategic thinking is required, this game can be played over and over with different results.
Richard Scarry’s BusyTown Eye Found It Game
In this Eye Found It game, players must race through BusyTown, alternating between moving forward, or everyone stopping to look for objects on the game board. Players must work together to reach the end before the island pigs eat all the food. The 6 foot long playing board offers a larger canvas for children to search through, training childrens’ observation, identification and matching skills.
A classic board game simplified for children. Monopoly Junior is easier and faster than the original, with a standard game taking around 45 minutes. Unlike the original, there are only $1 bills, you must buy any property that you land on, and there are no houses. The game does not require too much strategic thinking and teaches concepts of math, money, buying, etc. Parents have found that children as young as 3 years-old can participate in this game.
Shelby’s Snack Shack Counting Game
A game that trains counting and fine motor skills, Shelby’s Snack Shack requires players to use a pair of dog tongs to pick up small plastic bones. Players spin two spinners to determine how many bones to pick up or put back. Once all the bones have been picked up, the winner is determined by who has the most bones. Although very cute, parents need to be wary of the small plastic parts which could be a choking hazard.
Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game
Also from Educational Insight, the company behind Shelby’s Snack Shack Counting Game, this game is also a fine motor skills and early math development game. Instead of practicing counting, children will learn shape recognition and matching, as the spinner tells them which shape to pick up. Cat-shaped tongs are used to pick up the cardboard shape pieces, and players must pick up all 5 different shapes to win the game. This game is a fun learning opportunity for children, and allows them to build a math foundation early.
My First Castle Panic
Another childrens’ take on a classic adult board game, My First Castle Panic requires no reading and is suited for kids 4 years and older. With each turn, players must draw monster cards to place on the board and draw from another deck to try and catch the monsters. If players don’t have a card to play, they can ask other players for help. Using the concept of matching shapes and colors, this game is easy for children to pick up, and a full game takes 20 minutes. If the adults in the family are board game players, this My First edition of Castle Panic is a good foundation for kids to pick up the adult version when they grow older.
Enchanted Forest – Children’s Game
Based in the land of fairy tales, this board game adds a memory twist to the classic game of luck. Players roll die and move forward on the board, when they encounter a tree in the enchanted forest, they need to remember what is under the tree to win the game at the end. As this game is also a test of memory, it is generally recommended for children ages 4 and above. If your children are also reading fairy tales, this game is a great supplement as there are different fairy tales in each part of the board.
There are thousands of board games out there for kids to enjoy, but hopefully this list of best family board games for young children has helped you choose your next purchase.