Forget Candyland! This Is the Best List of Board Games for All Ages

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Inside: Most lists of family board games for all ages include boring games adults can’t stand. This list is different. These games really are for the whole family.

Sometimes the daily grind of family life can leave you feeling disconnected as a family.

It could be that you retreated to your individual corners of the world to indulge in separate screen time. Or you got focused on the “list” instead of on each other while you ran a bunch of errands. Or maybe you rushed through the homework/dinner/bathtime routine because your eyes were on the prize at the end of it all: a glass of wine + couch + mindless TV.

When this happens, your patience can run dry or your kids may stop cooperating – usually both.

When our family is feeling that disconnect, one thing seems to have a magical power for bringing us back together with smiles and laughter.

Games.

This Is How Much We Rely on Games to Bring Us Together

In our kitchen, we have two shallow pantries.

We squeeze all our food into just one pantry even though it doesn’t really fit because the other pantry? We’ve devoted entirely to all our games and puzzles.

Six shelves stacked from top to bottom with board game boxes and puzzle boxes, plus all the little card games shoved into every nook and cranny in between.

When it comes time to pick a game, the kids stand in front of the pantry, their little faces lit up with anticipation of what’s ahead.

But Here’s the Problem With Family Board Games for All Ages

We have a 11-year-old, 6-year-old, 4-year-old, and a toddler. Which means:

  • The toddler destroys whatever we’re trying to play, so we have to wait until he’s asleep at night before we can play. This is understandable, and we know it’s temporary.
  • We have to play games to the lowest common denominator: our preschooler. If a game is too advanced for her, she gets bored and assumes her baby brother’s role of wreaking havoc on the game in progress.
  • Playing “younger” games isn’t the end of the world, except for the fact that…
  • Most games designed for younger kids are boring.

Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry-O? MAKE IT STOP.

Call me the Board Game Grinch if you want, but I firmly believe life is too short to play a game so tedious it makes you want to gouge out your eyeballs.

If you do enjoy games like Candyland, you are a more patient soul than I am, and I admire that! But if you have to grit your teeth in order to play a game with your kid, you’re not doing anyone any favors.

Because when you’re actually having fun playing a game with your kids, your kids will notice and have more fun themselves. But if you’re bored out of your mind? They’ll notice that, too.

Related: How to Connect With Your Child: The Magic of the 5:1 Ratio {Printable}

28 Best Board Games for All Ages That Will Make the Whole Family Happy

Thanks to the wide range of ages in our family, we have the perfect testing ground for which board games and card games work well for all different ages.

These are our kids’ absolute favorite card and board games for all ages, but here’s the best part: My husband and I enjoy playing every single one of these games, too. When our preschooler picks one of these games, we don’t roll our eyes or groan because we actually want to play them.

These are also the games we lend to friends and family because we know they won’t be gone long. Within a couple days, friends report back that everyone in their family loved the game, and we can have ours back because they’re getting their own copy.

In other words, this list of board games for the whole family is 100% approved by both kids and parents.

I’d love to add to this list over time (not to mention find awesome new games we’ve never played before!), so before you go, please leave a comment with your favorite card and board games for all ages of kids (and adults).

You’ll be saving parents everywhere from the nightmare that is Hi Ho Cherry-O.

But First: Which Ages Work Best With These Games for the Whole Family?

Below, each game includes a suggested minimum age. Most of the time, this is different than the minimum age you’ll see listed by the game manufacturer on the box.

The minimum ages listed below are based on my own family’s experience of testing family games for all ages with our (very different) kids, plus the minimum ages reported by the thousands of families who posted reviews of these games online. But remember that every child is different, so your specific experience may vary. If your child isn’t ready for a game quite yet, put it away for a month or two then try again!

For even more games that are perfect for different age groups, check out The Best Preschool Board Games and The Best Toddler Board Games.

The Best Board Games for All Ages: Table of Contents

Note: indicates my family’s absolute top favorites on the list. These are the games my whole family can’t get enough of! In fact, we love them so much that we stock them in our store. Order from us here, and you’ll be supporting a family-owned business while also treating your own family to a fun new game!

Quick Board Games for All Ages: Play in 20 Minutes or Less

When you’re short on time and need a quick dose of family connection, these are the best board games for the whole family.

1. Sleeping Queens

Time to Play: 10-15 minutes
Number of Players: 2–5
Minimum Age: 3-year-olds will need help to remember all the rules; best for ages 4 and up
Get It: Sleeping Queens

If you get nothing else from this, you must play this game. Promise me! Because of all our favorite family games for all ages, this is our number one go-to. The rules are simple enough for our kids to understand at age three, but the game still keeps everyone on their toes.

We never get tired of this one! Plus, you can play a whole game in about 10 minutes. Perfect for getting in a dose of family connection before sending little ones off to bed.

Note: The manufacturer says this is for ages 8 and up, but according to several other families (including mine!) most 4-year-olds are ready for this game, especially if you help them out a bit with the number cards.

Bonus: All game orders placed in our family-owned shop get a $7.99 bonus credit after purchase to spend on instant downloads!

4,687 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Sleeping Queens

MSRP $13.99 for deluxe; $11.99 for original
    
“My daughter and I love Sleeping Queens! It teaches them math without them even realizing it – or me, for that matter. I remember my daughter laid down a sequence that was like 1 + 3 + 5 = 9, and I thought ‘How did you know that…?’ Then I realized she just figured it out from doing math in the game. So cool to watch her learn right before my eyes.” – Ann

By the way, when you’re playing card games with your child, this card holder is a must have for little hands. Your child can hold it to see their cards, or they can set the holder down on the table for a break. (This particular card holder has stood the test of time, as opposed to other card holders we’ve tried.)

Readers who bought Sleeping Queens also bought


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Little Hands Playing Card Holder
MSRP $6.99
    
“I love the card holder, plus your suggestions for how to play with little kids!” – Linda

2. Outfoxed!

Time to Play: 15 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4
Minimum Age: 3-year-olds can play this with a little help; best for ages 4 and up
Get It: Outfoxed!

This game is like Clue but for younger kids – and yet still fun for adults too. A fox stole a pot pie, and you have to figure out which fox it was before they escape into the foxhole.

My kids regularly play this cooperative whodunnit game independently, and I love watching them work together as a team to solve the mystery. This is a fun little game to build kids’ logic and deductive reasoning skills!

1,129 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Outfoxed

MSRP $17.99
    
“Outfoxed is cooperative so it’s fun for everyone and easy enough for even preschoolers to participate!” – Elizabeth

3. Sushi Go

Time to Play: 15 minutes
Number of Players: 2–5
Minimum Age: 4-year-olds can understand the basic gameplay, but ages 5 and up are a better fit for the strategy
Get It: Sushi Go

This fun card game is one of our favorite games for the whole family because you can play it quickly. My kids will happily sit and play this one for an hour or more – round after round after round.

To play, you pick one card from your hand to keep for yourself, then pass your cards to the next person. Everyone keeps doing this until all cards are picked. Then you score points based on which cards you picked to keep: Did you get the most maki rolls? Did you dip your nigiri in wasabi to triple its value?

When my second child was 3, she loved this game, even though she didn’t get the strategy of which cards to keep. In fact, she didn’t care who won because she had so much fun just picking her favorite cards and passing the rest along. Now that she’s older, she’s starting to pick up on the strategy – and her younger sister is now in that “having a blast picking cards” phase.

1,822 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Sushi Go

MSRP $14.99 $12.99 on sale!
    
“I can confirm the power of board games. It’s our bonding time where we all have fun together. Sushi Go is one of our favorites when we are short on time!” – Olivia

4. Spot It! Jr Animals or Spot It! Classic

Time to Play: 10-20 minutes
Number of Players: 2–8
Minimum Age: Ages 3 and up do best with the kids’ edition; the regular version is best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Spot It! Jr Animals or Spot It! Classic (also called Dobble in some areas)

My favorite part of this matching game is that it’s so portable. When we’re heading somewhere the kids will have to wait a bit, like the doctor’s office or to a restaurant, I can throw this little game in my purse and keep all the kids entertained and relatively quiet. (Side note: The small tin holding the cards also makes this game a great fit as a stocking stuffer for kids!)

The junior edition of this game is better for younger kids because it features larger images and fewer images on each card. Also, some editions of the regular version require some reading, but the junior edition doesn’t require any reading.

By the way, out of all the family board games for all ages included in this list, this one is the most frequently recommended by readers!

1,132 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Spot It! Jr Animals or Classic or 123

MSRP $9.99 for Jr Animals; $15.25 for Classic; $12.99 for 123
    
“A must have game for every home perfect for ALL ages…Spot It! It’s a matching game on a whole new level. My husband and I love this game as much as the kids!” – Cristy

5. Rat-a-Tat Cat

Time to Play: 10 minutes
Number of Players: 2-6 players
Minimum Age: Some 4-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Rat-a-Tat Cat

In this fast-paced card game, your goal is to collect cards so that you’ll have the lowest possible point value. That means getting rid of the high cards (rats) and going for the low cards (cats). When you think you’ve got the lowest score, you call out “Rat-a-Tat Cat!”

This quick game builds your child’s memory skills and number sense, plus you can play a whole game in about 10 minutes, which is great for an extra dose of connection with your child before bedtime.

This game is in our regular rotation, and we also like to play it in between rounds of Sleeping Queens for a change of pace. It’s the perfect mix of silly, challenging, and fun!

274 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Rat-a-Tat Cat

MSRP $11.99
    
“My 5 year old’s current favorite is Rat a Tat Cat by Gamewright. I really like how the rules can be adapted for an ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ version of the game, giving the game more longevity!” – Patricia

Clever Games for the Whole Family That Will Sharpen Little Minds

Your whole family will have a blast playing these board games for all ages, and your kids won’t even realize they’re growing their brains, too!

6. Ticket to Ride First Journey or Ticket to Ride

Time to Play: 15-30 minutes for the kids’ edition; 30-60 minutes for the regular version
Number of Players: 2-4 for the kids’ edition; 2–5 for the regular version
Minimum Age: 6 and up for the kids’ edition; the regular version is best for 8 and up
Get It: Ticket to Ride First Journey or Ticket to Ride

In this game, your goal is to figure out the best routes to travel across America by train. Not only will your child learn strategy and geography, but they’ll have a blast too.

The kids’ edition is simple enough for younger kids but still challenging enough for the whole family to enjoy. In fact, because the games are quicker with the kids’ edition, my family prefers to play that one over the full edition!

Then when your child is ready, move up to the regular version for even more of a fun challenge. The full edition of Ticket to Ride is so much fun that my husband and I love to play it after the kids are in bed, just the two of us.

350 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: First Journey

MSRP $57.99 $54.97 for original on sale!; $34.99 for kids
    
“For Christmas based on your recommendations, I gave the kids Sleeping Queens and Ticket to Ride First Journey, and we’ve been playing them ALL YEAR! Can’t wait to add a few more of your recommendations this Christmas!” – Jess

7. My First Carcassonne or Carcassonne

Time to Play: 10-20 minutes for the kids’ edition; 30-45 minutes for the regular version
Number of Players: 2–4 for the kids’ edition; 2-5 for the regular version
Minimum Age: 3-year-olds can understand the concepts in the kids’ edition, but 4-year-olds and up will do best with the strategy; the regular version works best with ages 7 and up
Get It: My First Carcassonne or Carcassonne

Whereas some family board games for all ages are all luck and no strategy, this game gives kids a fun introduction to thinking strategically. To play, you place tiles to build streets in the city of Carcassonne, so the road-building aspect is fantastic for growing spatial intelligence.

This game is on my own personal short list of my favorite games to play as a family!


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Carcassonne or My First Carcassonne

MSRP $49.99 $42.97 for original on sale!; $34.99 for kids
    
“We have three kids: 10, 8, and 4. We like the game Carcassonne a lot! We skip the keeping score part when playing with our preschooler, but not with our other two.” – Stephanie

8. Qwirkle

Time to Play: 30-45 minutes
Number of Players: 2–4
Minimum Age: Some 4-year-olds can play this with some help; best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Qwirkle or Travel Qwirkle

This game is simple enough for beginners but challenging enough for adults, so it’s the perfect fit when you need a game that will work for all ages. Your child will have fun while practicing math and building strategy skills at the same time.

This game took a little practice for our preschoolers at first, so take it slow and end the game early when you’re first teaching young kids. To speed up the game, we skip keeping score and put the focus on matching the colors and patterns. You can play a whole game in about 30-45 minutes, and then after the game our younger kids will extend the fun by building towers with the tiles.

This game also comes in a compact travel version, so we keep it in our suitcase and take it with us wherever we go.

365 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Qwirkle or Travel Qwirkle

MSRP $34.99 $25.95 for original on sale!; $16.95 for travel
    
“This game is so much fun for the family! We have played it several days in a row, and it’s a fun and challenging way to spend time together. The youngest in our home is 15 and we are all competitive. But this game would be great for a wide range of ages. The game is designed to suit any skill level. This may be the best $25 I ever spent…This game is compelling enough to get teenagers off their phones.” – Sheila

9. Rummikub

Time to Play: 45-60 minutes
Number of Players: 2–4
Minimum Age: Some 3-year-olds can understand the concepts of this game, but it’s an even better fit for 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds
Get It: Rummikub

This classic family game will build your child’s math skills, but they’ll have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re growing their brain at the same time. As a bonus, Rummikub is challenging enough to keep even adults on their toes. When grandparents come to visit, this is the game both kids and grandparents love to play!

This is supposed to be for ages 8 and up, but we’ve had three preschoolers who were still able to understand the rules after one practice game. Several reviewers have said their preschoolers get into this game as well. Plus, it’s great reinforcement for kids who are learning to recognize numbers.

258 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Rummikub

MSRP $17.99
    
“This is a great QUICK game for all ages! Some family games like Monopoly can take FOREVER, but this one is fast enough that you can even play more than one round if you want. Plus, it’s not way easy like some games for kids, so it’s actually a challenge for me as an adult too! Keeps my brain active. :)” – Rose

10. Sequence for Kids

Time to Play: 10-60 minutes
Number of Players: 2–12
Minimum Age: 3 and up
Get It: Sequence for Kids

This game was a bit of a stretch for our kids at age three, so we got the Sequence for Kids version and it’s perfect for now. Sometimes though, we’ll invite her to join mom or dad’s team so we can play the regular version.

What’s cool about this game is that you’ll notice your kids start thinking ahead a couple turns instead of just playing the second they find a match.

1,202 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Sequence for Kids or Sequence Letters

MSRP $16.59 $15.99 on sale!
    
“The one we have enjoyed playing most with our 4-yr-old daughter is Sequence for Kids. We loved it so much that she wanted to purchase one for her friend for Christmas. :)” – Kim

11. Dixit

Time to Play: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 3–6
Minimum Age: Some 4-year-olds have been known to beat their parents at this game (!); best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Dixit

Our oldest used her 10th birthday money to get this game, and we all fell in love with it right from the start. (The artwork is absolutely gorgeous!)

If you want to nurture your child’s creativity, you need this storytelling game. Each round, one player picks a card (without showing anyone else!) and makes up a one-sentence story based on the picture on that card. Then all the other players pick a card that best fits with that story, and everyone puts their cards facedown. The storyteller shuffles the cards and turns them all over, and everyone has to vote on which was the “correct” card that inspired the original story.

The best part of this game is watching how your child pieces a story together and literally seeing their imagination at work. I never get tired of seeing what my kids come up with. Sometimes their clues are more literal, and sometimes they completely surprise me. Plus, the artwork is absolutely gorgeous!

A few ideas if you’re playing with a younger child:

  • The first time you play, do a few practice rounds to help your kiddo get comfortable with the rules and strategy. You might even start with a practice run every time you sit down to play this game as a family. For example, it was a challenge for our preschooler at first to not give away which card was hers when it comes time to guess the right answer. But after a couple games, she got it.
  • Make a house rule that clues can be just one word. This will help younger kids avoid giving away too much about their cards.
  • Or as an alternative, you can have a rule that kids’ clues must be feelings. Ask the kids to describe how the card makes them feel, and they’ll avoid being too literal.
  • Try playing without keeping score so you keep the focus on the best part of the game – getting your creative juices flowing.
137 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Dixit

MSRP $39.99 $35.99 on sale!
    
“My family’s favorite game EVER is Dixit. It’s perfect for a wide range of ages!” – Kristen

Silly Board Games for All Ages (Dare You Not to Giggle!)

When it comes to silly games for the whole family, these are the best picks. Guaranteed laughs!

12. Go Nuts for Donuts

Time to Play: 20 minutes
Number of Players: 2-6 players
Minimum Age: Some 4- and 5-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 6 and up
Get It: Go Nuts for Donuts

This is a quick card game that always makes us laugh. The goal of the game is to get as many points-scoring donuts as you can and end up with the highest score, and the kids definitely love the donut theme.

But what really makes this game worth it is what happens when you go after the same donut as someone else. Because if you both go after the same donut, no one gets the donut. That means you need to think ahead and predict what the other players might be going after – so you can avoid going after the same donut. But then…are the other players predicting the same thing about you and therefore picking a different donut than you’d expect, so now you’re actually going after the same donut after all?!

My husband and I always end up picking the same darn donut turn after turn, so the kids tend to beat us handily.

Most families who enjoy Sushi Go end up loving this quick card game too.

116 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Go Nuts for Donuts

MSRP $14.99
    
“So many great games here! Castle Panic and Go Nuts for Donuts are AWESOME.” – Kayla

13. Yeti in My Spaghetti

Time to Play: 5-15 minutes
Number of Players: 1 or more players
Minimum Age: Some 3-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 4 and up
Get It: Yeti in My Spaghetti

This game is similar to Ker-Plunk, but it’s a better fit for younger kids because Ker-Plunk’s marbles are choking hazards.

To play this fun little game, you lay the spaghetti pieces across the bowl then put the yeti on top. (No logic behind this – just go with it.) Then each player takes turns pulling out one piece of spaghetti. If the yeti falls to the bottom of the bowl on your turn, you lose. This is usually the point at which kids collapse into giggles, which can be contagious!

This game is perfect for younger kids because it helps develop their executive functioning skills when they learn (the hard way) to be patient and pull the spaghetti pieces out slowly. But because it’s so quick and silly, even tweens and teens get into it too!

162 families purchased this game after reading this post…


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Yeti in My Spaghetti

MSRP $17.99
    
“We love Yeti in My Spaghetti. 🙂 Low competition and just a fun game!” – Jane

Exciting Family Board Games That Will Make Your Heart Race

These board games for all ages will get you working towards a common goal against a shared enemy – or desperately trying to out-maneuver your opponents so you’re not left in the dust.

14. My First Castle Panic or Castle Panic

Time to Play: 20 minutes for the kids’ edition; 45-60 minutes for the regular version
Number of Players: 1-4 for the kids’ edition; 1-6 for the regular version
Minimum Age: Ages 3 and up do best with the kids’ edition; the regular version is best for ages 7 and up
Get It: My First Castle Panic or Castle Panic

This is one of my absolute favorite board games for the whole family. This is a cooperative game, so you work together to fight off a horde of monsters who are trying to tear down your castle walls and destroy your towers. It sure is fun to work together as a family towards a common goal that doesn’t involve loading the dishwasher!

If you’re not sure which edition is right for your child, the regular version’s printed rules include a few variants for younger kids. The manufacturer says the regular version is for ages 10 and up, but according to several other families (including mine!) most 7-year-olds who can read are ready for the regular version.


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Castle Panic or My First Castle Panic

MSRP $35.00 for original; $19.95 for kids
    
“So many great games here! Castle Panic and Go Nuts for Donuts are AWESOME.” – Kayla

15. Forbidden Island

Time to Play: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4 players
Minimum Age: Some 5- and 6-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 7 and up
Get It: Forbidden Island

This one’s so fun you’ll enjoy playing it even without your kids. My husband and I regularly play it after the kids are in bed!

This is another cooperative game, which is always a plus when it comes to family board games for all ages. In the game, you work together to collect treasure before the ancient island you’re on sinks into the ocean – plus you have to rescue your whole team off the island with a helicopter before you sink with the island. Even though I know it’s not real, my heart races every time we get to the end of this game!

If your kids are still a bit young for this one, check out My First Castle Panic or Castle Panic (also included in this list) for another awesome cooperative game for the whole family.


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Forbidden Island

MSRP $19.99
    
“Forbidden Island is great because unlike most games it teaches cooperation instead of competition – all the players must work together, using their different player skills, in order to get all the treasures before the island sinks. Either everyone wins or everyone loses. It is my new favorite game to play with my 9-year-old daughter!” – Mark

16. Catan

Time to Play: 60+ minutes
Number of Players: 3-4
Minimum Age: 8 and up
Get It: Catan

This is one of our favorite board games for the whole family. The gameplay is challenging enough that my husband and I don’t get bored, but still straightforward enough that the kids can figure it out.

Your child will learn strategic thinking and negotiation skills, all while having a blast. Forget Monopoly and play Catan instead!


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Catan

MSRP $55.00 $49.50 on sale!
    
“We LOVE Catan! Best game for the whole family.” – Janet

Need More Ideas? 12 More Family Board Games for All Ages You’ll Love

If you’ve already played all the games recommended above and you want more ideas, check out the list of even more family board games for all ages below. Note: We don’t stock the following board games in our shop, so I’ve included links to Amazon for your convenience.

17. Uno

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Time to Play: 20-30 minutes
Number of Players: 2–10
Minimum Age: 3-year-olds can understand the matching part of the game; best for ages 4 and up
Get It: Uno

This is one of those classic family games for all ages, and for good reason. The box says this card game is for ages 7 and up, but we’ve had three preschoolers play it successfully. When you think about it, Uno is mostly a matching game. And preschoolers love matching games!

When each preschooler first started playing, they needed a little help understanding the “special” cards, but after playing it a few times, they learned the meaning of the different symbols. And soon, they knew exactly how to unleash the wrath of the Wild Draw Four card on their poor mother.

To simplify this game for little ones, you can skip keeping score at the end of each hand.

Bonus: If your kids love Uno, be sure to check out Giant Uno for an extra dose of giggles. It’s impossible not to laugh when you’re playing with those giant cards! (Fair warning: This is a popular gift around the holidays, so the price tends to go up as the available stock dwindles.)

“We also really like Uno! My 2-yr-old plays with us and loves it.” – Christie

18. Zingo

Time to Play: 5 minutes
Number of Players: 2–8
Minimum Age: Even some 2-year-olds can play this one!
Get It: Zingo

At first, this matching game might seem too simple to be one of your go-to games for the whole family. But what keeps it interesting for older kids and adults is the competitive twist – you have to be the first one to notice a match and snag it before someone else does.

That sounds like a simple enough task, but you’d be surprised how often our kids snake a match out from under our noses. (I’m blaming chronic parental sleep deprivation.)

“I can’t say enough good things about Zingo! From day one, all three kids loved it and understood the concept.” – Nina

19. Tsuro

Time to Play: 10-20 minutes
Number of Players: 2-8 players
Minimum Age: Some 3- and 4-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Tsuro

In this game, you lay down tiles to build a path for your token to travel along. But if your path runs you off the edge of the game board or you run into another player – you lose. The game is simple to set up and straightforward to understand, but when play is underway, it gets surprisingly tricky to avoid running yourself off the board.

I love watching my younger kids track the path ahead with their eyes before they play a tile. It’s like I can literally see their brains growing!

Fair warning: The game tokens are plain in muted colors, so my kids like to pick out their favorite miniature figurines from around the house to use as their tokens – like these miniature dinosaurs or the minifigs from our favorite Harry Potter LEGO set.

“Our family (ages 13, 9, 5, and 3) love Tsuro. It is easy enough for all and still very fun for adults. I highly recommend it.” – Nyssa

20. Skip-Bo Junior or Skip-Bo

Time to Play: 10-15 minutes for the kids’ edition; 15-20 minutes for the regular version
Number of Players: 2-4 for the kids’ edition; 2-6 for the regular version
Minimum Age: Ages 4 and up do best with the kids’ edition; the regular version is best for ages 6 and up
Get It: Skip-Bo Junior or Skip-Bo

This fast-moving game is easy to learn and easy to play, plus it helps develop your child’s number sense. My kids will happily sit and play several rounds of this in a row!

If you’re not sure which edition would work best for your kids, some 4-year-olds do just fine with the regular version as long as you help them. With that said, the simpler cards with the junior edition are a great fit for younger kids, so we ended up getting that edition and then playing by the regular version’s rules.

21. Go Fish

Time to Play: 20 minutes
Number of Players: 2–6
Minimum Age: The matching concepts are a good fit for ages 3 and up
Get It: Go Fish Alphabet or Go Fish for Art (cards and companion book)

Playing this classic card game with your kids when you’re exhausted levels out the playing field. I don’t believe in letting my kids win, but our 11-year-old and 6-year-old beat me and my husband on a regular basis.

We have a couple sets of this game – one alphabet set that helps our preschooler work on letter recognition, and another set featuring the artwork of Van Gogh and other artists. Our kids get exposed to art, and we get to hear our preschooler say “Van Gogh,” which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. (If you like the idea of the art edition of Go Fish, they also have a set with modern artists and another for impressionists.)

22. Dominoes

Time to Play: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 2–10
Minimum Age: Some 4-year-olds can play with help; best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Dominoes

When we first started playing dominoes as a family, we would each take turns adding to the same line. This kept the game simple and helped our preschooler focus on the pattern recognition.

But once she got comfortable with that, we graduated to the Mexican Train game. Dominoes is one of those classic board games for all ages that we find ourselves going back to again and again!

23. Labyrinth

Time to Play: 20 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4 players
Minimum Age: Some 4-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 5 and up
Get It: Labyrinth

In this game, you’re in a maze looking for treasure – but the maze pieces move with every turn. The gameplay forces your kids to think ahead about the future impact of their decisions, which is perfect for developing their executive functioning skills.

When it comes to board games for all ages, it’s important that younger kids don’t feel completely hopeless at their chances of winning. And in this game, younger kids get really excited when they outwit their older siblings…or parents!

24. Otrio

Time to Play: 20-30 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4 players
Minimum Age: Some 5-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 6 and up
Get It: Otrio

If your kids have figured out how to win at tic-tac-toe every time, this is the perfect game for a fresh challenge. It’s like 3D tic-tac-toe on steroids and actually keeps me and my husband on our toes, too.

Gobblet Gobblers uses a similar tic-tac-toe concept and it’s a favorite in our house, but you can only play that with two people. So when two of our kids want to play independently, they pull out Gobblet Gobblers. But when we want to play with more people, we turn to Otrio for a fun family challenge.

We also love the travel edition of Otrio for throwing in our suitcase before a family vacation!

25. Yahtzee

Time to Play: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 2-10 players
Minimum Age: Some 5-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 6 and up
Get It: Yahtzee

This is a classic dice game that most of us are familiar with from when we were kids. Even with the wide variety of board games for the whole family available today, Yahtzee still makes it into our family’s regular rotation.

Younger kids enjoy making a loud racket when shaking the dice, and the math aspect is a fun challenge for older kids.

“We’ve recently rediscovered Yahtzee! My 1-year-old loves to shake and roll the dice. And my 6-year-old is responsible for the counting and math.” – Erin

26. Exploding Kittens

Time to Play: 15 minutes
Number of Players: 2-5 players
Minimum Age: Some 5-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 6 and up
Get It: Exploding Kittens

This card game has racked up thousands upon thousands of 5-star reviews online, and it’s well deserved.

The premise is pretty silly to start with. You take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. On top of that, many of the cards are off-the-wall ridiculous and a fair number of them rely on gross-out humor like the “rainbow-ralphing cat” card or the “deploy the thousand-year back hair” card. In other words, perfect for kids!

For the best game experience, play this with kids who can read the card descriptions independently.

27. Jenga or Suspend Junior

Time to Play: 20 minutes (Jenga) or 15 minutes (Suspend Junior)
Number of Players: 1–8 (Jenga) or 1-4 (Suspend Junior)
Minimum Age: 5 and up (Jenga) or 4 and up (Suspend Junior)
Get It: Jenga or Suspend Junior

We typically play family games when our youngest is asleep, so Jenga isn’t a great fit because the falling tower would wake him up.

If you’re in the same boat, check out Suspend Junior as a fun alternative to Jenga. In this balancing game, the falling pieces don’t make nearly the same racket as a falling Jenga tower.

The rules are simple, but winning is not. The kids regularly beat us at this one. When you’re ready for more of a challenge, you can get the regular version of Suspend.

28. Dutch Blitz

Time to Play: 15 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4 players
Minimum Age: Some 6-year-olds can play this with help; best for ages 7 and up
Get It: Dutch Blitz

This deceptively simple card game can turn cutthroat fast. It’s kind of like a multi-player version of competitive speed solitaire.

While you don’t need to know how to read to play the game, younger kids may struggle with the speed of game play. If you’re willing to slow it down a bit to accommodate a younger child, any kid who can recognize number sequences can play this game.

But the real adrenaline rush comes when you’re all moving at top speed, trying to get rid of your cards first!

“Dutch Blitz is a family favorite at our house…we’ve been playing this since were 6.” – Megan

Bonus! 8 More Family Games for All Ages

These family board games for all ages come highly recommended from friends and family (and those dear souls who write helpful online reviews!), but we haven’t taken them for a test drive quite yet. If the above list didn’t give you any new ideas, try these games next.

I’ll update this post as we make our way through testing the rest of these with our kiddos:

  1. Blokus – Similar to Tetris but in a board game format. This is a great game for building spatial reasoning skills.
  2. Bugs in the Kitchen – In this fast-paced strategy game, your goal is to catch the HEXBUG nano that’s scuttling around the game board.
  3. Five Crowns Junior – This is a rummy-style card game with rave reviews. You can also go straight for the regular version here if your kids are ready.
  4. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza – Best name ever! This is a brand new game for 2018 that started out as a Kickstarter. The game is similar to slapjack, and some reviewers said kids as young as 3 were able to join in on the fun.
  5. Stare! Junior – This is a less complex version of Stare, a memory and concentration game.
  6. Skippity – A fun twist on Checkers that the whole family can play together.
  7. Tenzi – A dice game with lots of different options for gameplay. Families love that it’s fun, fast, and simple to play.
  8. Q-bitz – In this game, you race to recreate a pattern shown on a card using special blocks. In the words of reader Sonya: “Be prepared to lose to your children in Q-bitz! My daughter has been playing this since she was 6 or 7 and can beat everyone who challenges her.”
Before you go, get my FREE cheat sheet: 75 Positive Phrases Every Child Needs to Hear

Want More?

For even more games that are perfect for different age groups, check out:

  • Ages 3 to 5 years: The Best Preschool Board Games
  • Ages 18 months to 3 years: The Best Toddler Board Games

Your Turn

What are your favorite card games and board games for all ages? Share in a comment below!

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