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If you’re looking for easy ways to connect as a family and reset at the end of the long week, I encourage you to play board games with your kids! You might feel more inclined to turn on a family movie and cuddle up on the couch to unwind – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to engage your children in a family-friendly activity further, board games are a great way of doing that and are, in fact, easy to pull off.
Don’t let your busy schedule stop you!
It’s often our nature as busy type-A parents to focus on sticking with the routine, on getting from point A to B on a crazy day, and on checking a few more items off our to-do list. I get it. However, connecting as a family should be integrated into your routine – at least weekly – and board games are a surprisingly effortless way of achieving that.
Board games are also a fantastic way to promote critical thinking, ignite children’s imaginations, and HAVE FUN. According to Scholastic, there are many other benefits to playing board games for children, including:
- Developmental growth (mental and physical)
- Sharpened language skills
- Teach teamwork
- Allow a moment to unplug and relax
As my kids get older, I’m always surprised to find out how many board games are out there for kids of all ages – many more than what was available when I was a small child. You don’t have to be limited to Candyland or Chutes & Ladders. I’ve put together a list of board games that notes the appropriate minimum age level, in my opinion.
Hopefully, it will be helpful if you have differently-aged children as well because that shouldn’t prevent you from setting aside this time. I also tried to take into account our attention span as adults! Not all games played with young family members have to be mind-numbing or incredibly boring, and I think I chose ones that are the exact opposite!
Please note: I’m assigning minimum ages to games based on my personal experience as a parent! You can tap into your own parenting instincts when it comes to whether you think your child would be interested in or able to play a particular game. This is also an excellent time to remind you always to be aware of any choking hazards in a game. Your child may be able to play a challenging game at a young age, but use your discretion when it comes to small parts!
1) Snail’s Pace
This is as simple as it gets! This game teaches not only colors but also board game basics like taking turns and rolling dice, and it will hold your little one’s attention as it can take as little as 15 minutes to play.
2) Acorn Soup
This is another game that will teach your new-to-board-games child about gameplay and game rules. The recipes and ingredients allow them to tap into their creativity and imaginative play – they can even “play” it independently.
If your toddlers don’t grasp competitive play yet, this game is perfect and encourages teamwork. During this cooperative play board game, all players work together toward one goal.
This cooperative play board game can be played in 15 minutes and is super fun for a family. It encourages problem-solving and teaches counting skills.
While it may take some time before your child catches onto the strategy, this is a fun way to introduce them to a more competitive game platform.
This intuitive, cooperative game incorporates colors and shapes and is relatively easy to learn. It takes about 20 minutes to play and helps teach teamwork and sharing.
The Candyland board game features colored cards, sweet destinations, and fun illustrations kids love. A sweet version of the classic board game features a race to the castle.
This game will keep your thinking cap on even as an adult. It promotes teamwork, and your family will enjoy working together to solve a mystery in the 20-30 minutes it takes to play.
While the publisher suggests ages eight and up for this classic game, your seasoned board game player can enjoy this game at age 5. It does take a bit longer than they may be used to at 45-60 minutes, but they’ll enjoy the challenge.
10) Ticket to Ride First Journey
This game teaches geography and critical thinking and can be played in 15-30 minutes. It’s a family favorite!
Look no further for a game that incorporates fantasy and children’s love for dragons. This game is all about matching and spacial awareness. While it won’t annoy adults, most games conveniently take only about 10-15 minutes.
12) Sleeping Queens
I thought I would throw a card game in the mix, and this one is a fan favorite. It can be played in 10 minutes, and players find success through a balance of skill and good luck.
13) Googly Eyes
For a sillier game experience with your child, this one is a goofy twist on Pictionary and will keep your family laughing. It’s simple, easy to understand, and a ton of fun for all.
As your kid ages, you can look for games with even more strategy. This game is easy to play and learn and gets more strategic the more you play it. It’s fun for adults and takes 30-40 minutes to play.
I knew I had to include this classic game. What better option if you’re looking to play a game with your child that you remember playing growing up? This game teaches them all about math and losing.
This is another game you may remember fondly and perhaps didn’t know was available for younger kids! You can’t go wrong with this super fun, high-energy game.
17) Mouse Trap
This is a totally different type of board game that focuses on building structures in creative, strategic ways. It’s another classic that I had to include!
This game can last as little as 45 minutes and helps kids develop their strategic thinking. It is a favorite of kids and adults alike!
19) Settlers of Catan Family Edition
You may be surprised that this game, which became a global phenomenon, can be played by children. It can be with this simpler version that still requires planning and strategy.
This curated list of board games is a small fraction of all the excellent options for kids of all ages. I hope you enjoy engaging your children in this play format, as it can be highly educational and – most of all – FUN!
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