Best Board Games for Kids 2018

Whether you are planning a family fun night, trying to get the kids off their phones, or trying to pass the time on a rainy Saturday afternoon, board games can come to the rescue. They provide kids with so many positive experiences. When spending time outside is not possible, board games are a great alternative to spending time together and also providing children with an experience that offers many benefits.

Boosting indoor fun with board games is a great way to spend time. Board games offer many benefits for children. Physical benefits are the promoting of both fine-motor and gross-motor skill development. Board games have tokens, cards, and sometimes even an interactive device that requires children to use their hands, fingers, arms, and legs to use. Using these skills boosts their development and provides a mental challenge and benefits with other aspects.

Board games are a wonderful experience to challenge your children mentally. It boosts their cognitive skills–short- and long-term memory, information recall, and information retention. Working the mind through playing board games also benefits them socially. The social interaction is great for developing relationships and also benefits them in the classroom.

There are so many board games on the market. The question is what kind of board game are you looking for? Some games offer a quiet time activity while others will get everyone in the house up and moving. This list covers it all. Here are the best board games for kids.

Last Updated:
By Amanda Milewski:

Board games benefit children on many different levels--physically, cognitively and socially, to name a few. We have recently updated our list of the 10 best with a couple of new products and also reviewed all product information to ensure that everything is accurate and up to date.

Our Top 3 Picks

Checker Rug
  • Checker Rug
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Problem Solving Game
  • Price: See Here
Jax Sequence for Kids
  • Jax Sequence for Kids
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ages 4 to 7 years
  • Price: See Here
Hasbro Guess Who?
  • Hasbro Guess Who?
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • For 2 players
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Board Games for Kids

We know that parents want only the best for their children, never wanting a subpar experience or shoddy products, which is why we chose mostly games from well-established companies, such as Hasbro and Melissa and Doug. What makes them so special you might ask?! As you can see, they cracked the code a long time ago as indicative of their longevity. Consumers just keep coming back generationally, giving credence to the old claim that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

At it’s core, life is simple! It can and should be taken step by step. As humans develop, we come to understand this more with time. One of the purposes of board games is to inculcate this into children. It can only be done kinesthetically. Thus, the popularity of the game, Life! The brick-by-brick wealth-building game of Monopoly. The ability to quickly adapt and think two steps ahead as developed in a game like Battleship.

Creativity is another basis we focused on! Staying with the theme of simplicity, since the simple can keep it fresh. We wanted to market to parents who understand the social development and grounding benefits that can never be achieved through Smartphone apps. It’s as simple as revisiting the game of tic-tac-toe!

Basic Research

In our summaries, we’ve already touched a little bit upon the origins of board games…our research has been based on how these games have factored in and contributed to the evolution of humans over time. Many of our current games are shadows of much older ones. We used the example of the Indian game pachisi as one. Then, there’s the undeniable influence of chess in all board games. It all comes back to the game of life–both literally and figuratively speaking!

We understand that in this, close family and friend activities are paramount. Aside from the mechanics of the game, the most crucial aspect of cognitive development comes from times of bonding. There’s that give and take that comes from learning about cooperation and competition; team efforts that can result in a win or a loss; and, also how to take responsibility in both scenarios. This develops healthy self-esteem in children.

The educational benefits have shown that in many cases children’s board games increase IQ in middle schoolers, as well as helping verbal skills. Most strategic games aid in quick response and decision making, not just in hand-eye coordination, but in making quick judgments and assessing situations. Many games that require a well-thought-out responses are the equivalent of working out a mental muscle, a process researchers have coined as metacognition. The more parents can guide their children in the process of learning through games, the greater the benefits will be on average.

What Determined the Most Popular on Our List

Board games may be very popular to all members of the family but choosing the right kind of table games for kids may not necessarily be that easy. You really have to make sure that the degree of complexity of the board game is just right for the cognitive level of children. As such, we have done our part to bring to you the 10 best and most popular board games for kids you will ever find in the market today.

We assigned our team of researchers to scrutinize every board game today, making sure that these games are on par with the developmental requirements of children across different stages. We had to make sure that the board game will be able to help further enhance children’s psychomotor and cognitive development as well as help foster beginning emotional and social skills. We also had to look at what other consumers and parents who have already bought the board game said about it and identify any concerns or issues that they may have regarding the board game. Lastly, we also had to consider the board game manufacturer’s credibility and trustworthiness as an organization.

Coming up with a credible list of the 10 most-popular and highly rated board games for kids is not easy; but we did it anyway. We hope you will find something on our list that will merit your attention and consideration as a suitable gift to your children.

Board Games and Kids–It’s More than Just Brain Power

Whenever you think of a board game, you will automatically think of intelligence, wit, and strategic thinking. While it is true that board games have been utilized by many professionals to get an idea of the cognitive abilities of individuals and not only children, board games do provide additional benefits other than cognitive.

For starters, on the physical side of things, many board games allow young children to master the control of their fine-motor skills. This requires absolute coordination of the different small groups of muscles of the hands and fingers to move board pieces. Rolling a die may seem benign but this requires coordination of the muscles and tendons of the hand plus the strength and balance coming from the forearm and the wrists. Additionally, some board games also help reinforce hand-eye coordination and the development and enhancement of their spatial intelligence.

Many board games are best played with another individual. This helps children to exercise their language and communication skills. And since board games have rules, they will have to learn to voice their agreement to these rules. In fact, they have to show understanding of these rules first before they can learn whether to agree to them or not. Now, here’s the most interesting part. If you play with your kids, you have to make sure that you are a good role model for them. In order for them to appreciate the value of rules, you should show them how to follow and obey the rules. You also need to teach them good manners especially when they lose the board game. You have to rejoice with them when they win and you have to support them should they lose. This is very crucial because kids need to understand it is perfectly alright to lose but what is more important is how to accept the loss in a graceful and more constructive manner. This helps kids develop their emotional and social skills.

Of course, board games are for the mind. In fact, many board games help children to detect patterns, strategize or plan well ahead, make more accurate predictions about the possible outcomes of alternative moves, and learn from these experiences. Some games have been well-documented to be useful in the development and enhancement of specific cognitive processes such as numerical and mathematical skills, critical-thinking skills, and logical-reasoning skills. Board games for younger kids can teach them about letters and words as well as spelling, which can help enhance vocabulary and language. There are also board games that help enhance color and shape recognition and quick thinking.

Board games are one of the most useful gifts you can ever give to a child. Best of all, it never goes out of style. The board game you choose today will still be used by your kids when they grow up and have kids of their own. Such is the enduring benefit of board games.

Hopefully, you have chosen one or two, if not all, of our 10 best-selling and most-popular board games for kids. At the very least, you only have 10 to choose from and not thousands.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will the manufacturer’s warranty cover any parts that go missing over time with normal usage?

A: The answer is yes! But, it will take some doing! The details of the warranty usually stipulate a complete replacement of the game, rather than parts. Also, there is a timeline for the life of the warranty. Since a lot of companies don’t like to hear too much bad talk about their products and services, sometimes things can get lost in the shuffle with customer service before the problems can be adequately addressed.

Q: How can board games be more effective in cognitive development over physical activity?

A: In a way, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. In some regards, they are like different seasons for different stages of development in life. Older children will tend to be more naturally sedentary, will learn and comprehend more complexities that can arise out of board game play. There is the fact that some concepts also need to be shown symbolically through games, rather than acted out, to illicit comprehension.

Q: Will some of these games grow with my child?

A: For sure! Some of these games have already grown with at least three living generations already. Games such as Clue and Monopoly can be kept for decades and passed down like heirlooms if it’s seen fit! They’re more allegorical games delving into deeper realities that can always be revisited for years to come.

Q: Why play physical board games instead doing these things virtually?

A: Studies have shown that people still need solid human interactions, particularly children! Sure, everything these days is online and virtual, but that’s not what we were designed for. Children have a tendency to thrive more through this interaction of showing, explaining, pointing, and guiding. It develops not only relationships, but deeper comprehension and aptitude.

Q: In what way can board games aid in divergent thinking?

A: Most  board games are more-suited to convergent rather than divergent thinking. Games such as Monopoly can be suited to divergent thinking. But this has more to do in the realm of what takes place once the participants step away from the board. Many of these games serve as blueprints for a much larger scale model. It can lay a foundation on which the child can expand and improvise on at a later date and within a different context.

Q: Can a travel-friendly version of most board games be purchased?

A: Surprisingly, yes! Monopoly has both a Grab ‘N Go version, as well as several travel versions that include zip-up travel cases. A quick Google or Amazon search and a travel version can probably be easily found almost any board game. For long road trips that will have a semi-permanent destination, it might be best just to pack of the full-sized tabletop version of whatever game you enjoy.

Sources

  1. Scholastic, The Benefits of Board Games, Informative Article,
  2. Parenting Science, Board games for kids , Informative Guide,
  3. Sight Words Games, 73 The Greatness of Games, Guide,
  4. K.E CARR, History of Board Games, Historical Article,
  5. Wikipedia, Trouble (board game), Definition,