The Best Family Board Games for Toddlers and Up

These picks are perfect for those afternoons indoors.
profile picture of Emily Platt
ByEmily Platt
Associate Editor
Updated
Apr 2020
collage of games to play as a family
Photo: Courtesy Manufacturer

There’s nothing like a good ol’ game to keep the family entertained—especially on days when you’re stuck indoors. And while you’re welcome to dream up an activity on your own, sometimes it’s just easier to have a game and all the rules already organized for you. Shopping for the best games for families to play together? We’ve got you covered with a mix of educational, cooperative and just-plain-fun options. Below, you’ll find the best family board games, plus some of the best family card games and floor games too. From popular new releases to all-time classics, we’re delivering ideas and nostalgia all in one. You may even feel inspired to start a weekly family game night.

How to Shop for the Best Games for Your Family

What makes the best family board games, well, the best? How about the best family card games? Really, a lot of it comes down to personal preference, since not all kids (or parents!) enjoy the same activities. But there are still a few key factors to keep an eye out for—factors that we used to help determine our list:

The age recommendation: This is really important for two reasons. The first: It gives a sense of the game’s difficulty level. You don’t want to frustrate your child with a game they’ll struggle to follow. The second: Many of the best family board games come with small parts that might not be safe for your little one.

How long it takes to play: Children can have very short attention spans. Plus, as parents, our patience can run pretty thin. Look for games you can learn fast and finish fast—the latter of which really comes in clutch if your munchkin insists on another round.

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How many people can play it: Think about your family. Will you be playing as a parent-child duo, or inviting all the cousins over for a family game night? We’ve spotlighted the best family board games (and card games, etc.) for two, four and even more players.

The skills it helps develop: Not everything has to be ultra-educational, but many of the best family board games involve developmental tasks and teachable moments. Whether you’re looking to advance your kid’s motor skills, show them how to play fair and lose gracefully, develop their reading and counting skills or encourage their imagination, there are options on this list for you.

The Best Family Games to Play with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Start the family fun young with these entertaining and educational games totally appropriate for your little one. We’ve found the best toddler board games, preschooler card games and more. Because the best family board games are the games everyone can understand and enjoy.

Photo: Courtesy Think Fun

Think Fun Roll and Play Game for Toddlers

True toddler board games (for children under 3) are actually pretty hard to come by. But rest assured, there’s still this entertaining card game you can play with your munchkin. Roll the big, plush, toddler-friendly cube, pick a card that corresponds with the color it lands on, then just do whatever the card says! Prompts include “roar like a lion” and “find something blue.” Everyone’s a winner in this top family “board” game for tots—there’s no competition, just educational fun.

Ages: 2 years old+
Buy it: $28, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Haba

HABA My Very First Games: First Orchard

The German brand HABA is known for its beautifully crafted wooden toys—and this toddler board game is no exception. The game style is cooperative (meaning you work together against the game, instead of against other players), so it fosters social skills, on top of basic math skills. Working as a team, players roll the die and each try to pick fruit from the trees before the raven reaches the end of the path. Bonus: The wooden fruit can double as pretend food items for play kitchens and imaginary games.

Ages: 2 years+
Buy it: $30, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Peaceable Kingdom

Peaceable Kingdom Duck Duck Dance!

Here’s another one of those rare toddler board games that are appropriate for the under 3 set. This game gets kiddos up and active with fun dance moves, all showcased by a cute duck, no less. You roll the dice, do the dance moves they prescribe and flip over one of the pond “audience members” on the board—once you’ve revealed the entire audience, the game is done.

Ages: 2 years+
Buy it: $18, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro Gaming

Hasbro Gaming Chutes and Ladders Board Game

Once your kid turns 3, the opportunities really expand. Many of your childhood favorites are age-rated for older toddlers and preschoolers! Take Chutes and Ladders, one of the best beginner family board games around. It doesn’t require any reading, but it does help them practice their counting and number recognition.

Ages: 3 years old+
Buy it: $13, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Wonder Forge

Wonder Forge Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It Toddler and Preschool Board Game

This preschooler and toddler board game goes the extra mile—the board is six whole feet of fun! But don’t worry, despite its size, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to get through. Players “race” around an eye-catching town searching for hidden objects. This helps develop your child’s attention to detail; plus, it’s seriously entertaining. In addition, there are plenty of chances for players to work together. We love a family board game that emphasizes the importance of teamwork.

Ages: 3 years old+
Buy it: $25, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro Gaming

Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Kingdom of Sweet Adventures Board Game

What can we say? Candy Land is one of the best family board games of all time. It’s another go-to beginner game thanks to its easy instructions and cute theme. This version follows the same basic premise as your beloved childhood board, but with fresh graphics.

Ages: 3 years old+
Buy it: $13, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Educational Insights

Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

This best-selling, award-winning game is one of the best toddler board games around. Good for ages 3 and up, it reinforces color learning and helps little ones develop matching skills, strategic thinking, turn-taking, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The goal of the game is to help squirrels amass some acorns—just spin the spinner, pick up the matching acorn with the included Squirrel Squeezer and place it on your log. The first person to collect five acorns wins.

Ages: 3 years+ Buy it: $14, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hoyle

Hoyle Kid’s Fun Pack of Card Games

Searching for the best family card games to introduce at a young age? This starter pack includes all of the most popular options: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Memory, Slap Jack and Matching. Pull out a new deck every family game night for weeks to come. Or, play multiple games in one sitting—after all, they only take 15 minutes or so to finish. And you only need two players to enjoy them.

Ages: 3 years old+
Buy it: $5, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy MasterPieces

Masterpieces Animal Planet Matching Game

Got an animal-lover at home? They’ll thoroughly enjoy this straightforward toddler board game, designed to test their memory and matching skills. For the littlest gamers, you can start by keeping the cards face-up and have toddlers find the animal pairs, or for more advanced play, flip them face-down and put everyone’s recall to work. This even works as a one-player game, for when parents just need 10 minutes of “me time.”

Ages: 3 years+
Buy it: $10, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro

Hasbro Hi Ho! Cherry-O

Among the best family games, this one is a classic! Players give the spinner a whirl and take turns picking pretend cherries, blueberries, apples and oranges from their trees to fill their basket—or putting them back, depending on the results of your spin. The first to fill their basket wins. Little ones will have such a blast, they won’t even realize they’re honing their accounting, addition and subtraction skills.

Ages: 3 years+ Buy it: $15, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Thinkfun

ThinkFun Zingo!

Zingo has earned a number of awards over the years, proving it’s one of the best family games around. Perfect for pre-readers and early readers, it uses a bingo style of play to help build language and matching skills. Kids slide the “zinger” machine to dispense two tiles, then assess their boards to see if they have those matching tiles. The players race head-to-head to be the first person to fill their entire board.

Ages: 4 years+
Buy it: $19, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Peaceable Kingdom

Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot! Board Game

Here’s another cooperative game, this time for preschoolers. The goal is for everyone to work together to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. Players take turns playing a card from their hands. If it’s a color card, you can fly an owl to that colored tile; if it’s a sun card, you have to advance the sun token and you’re all one step closer to sunrise. It involves simple strategy that doesn’t require any reading, but two levels of play mean the game can grow with your child and entertain older kids too.

Ages: 4 years+
Buy it: $16, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Asmodee

Asmodee Spot It JR. Animals

Families love Spot It, a fast-paced matching game, and now even younger kids have a chance to play. This “junior” version is appropriate for preschoolers but honestly enjoyable for everyone involved.

Ages: 4 years old+
Buy it: $10, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro

Hasbro Hungry Hungry Hippos

Thought this throw-back game wasn’t on the market anymore? Think again! When it comes to the best board games for toddlers and preschoolers, you can’t go wrong with a classic. Choose a hippo, release the marbles and start chomping to try to gobble up the most marbles. It’s packed with fast-action fun.

Ages: 4 years+
Buy it: $12, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Pressman

Pressman Charades for Kids

Charades is undeniably one of the best family games around—it’s been a favorite for generations. Here’s a preschooler-friendly version, with clue cards that have pictures as well as text to make it easy for non-readers to join the fun (while reinforcing early reading skills). Three levels of play make this a blast for the entire family.

Ages: 4 years+
Buy it: $13, Amazon.com

The Best Family Games to Play with Kindergarteners and Up

Shopping for an older set? Here, a mix of the best family board games (and card games, and floor games) just for your crew. We’ve put together a list of new and classic options you can play together at parties, on weekends or whenever the fancy strikes!

Photo: Courtesy Mattel Games

Mattel Games Ker Plunk Game

This blast from the past is a lot like Jenga, but even more entertaining. Players are tasked with removing sticks from a nest-like configuration one-by-one—without dislodging the marbles those sticks are supporting. Whoever lets the fewest marbles fall wins. It’ll have everyone on the edge of their seat, making it one of the best family games around.

Ages: 5 years old+
Buy it: $17, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro

Hasbro Scrabble Junior

Introduce your little gamer to the world of Scrabble with this simplified version for early spellers. Players match their letter tiles to words prewritten on the board and advance their figurines as they gain points. For more advanced spellers, simply flip the board over and create your own words in the classic Scrabble game play.

Ages: 5 years+
Buy it: $18, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Peaceable Kingdom

Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure Board Game

Cooperative games aren’t just for toddlers! In fact, they can be some of the best family games for team-building game nights. This award-winning option takes just 20 minutes to play but is a boatload of fun. Players strategize together to lay down tiles that lead to the treasure before the ogre gets there, making sure to land on the three keys along the way.

Ages: 5 years+
Buy it: $17, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Winning Moves

Winning Moves Games Guess Who? Board Game

This classic family board game is just as fun as it was years ago. The solve-the-mystery game is played as a pair, perfect for smaller families, siblings or parent-child bonding.

Ages: 6 years old+
Buy it: $18, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro Gaming

Hasbro Gaming Connect 4 Game

Time to take tic-tac-toe to the next level! Buy your family Connect 4 and prepare for hours of entertainment. When it comes to classic family floor games, this one may just take the cake. It’s quick and simple to play, all while promoting strategic thinking.

Ages: 6 years old+
Buy it: $13, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Pressman

Pressman Mancala Real Wood Folding Set

Mancala gives nostalgia a whole new meaning—it was invented thousands of years ago. The marble game is simple in concept, but strategizing how to win (by collecting the most “stones”) can actually get pretty complicated. It’s one of the best family board games because it takes some time to get good. It encourages kids to work their brains and it’s something they’ll want to keep playing.

Ages: 6 years old+
Buy it: $12, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro

Hasbro Sorry!

This fun family board game has been around for a while, and for good reason. Both kids and adults get drawn into the play as they chase, bump, slide and score their way to victory. Players draw cards to advance around the board and exact revenge on other pawns in a race to home base.

Ages: 6 years+
Buy it: $8, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Spontuneous

Spontuneous The Song Game

This popular family board game is all about creating impromptu songs about a random word. It’s a great way to help your child develop confidence in front of a crowd—a life skill they’ll appreciate well beyond family game night.

Ages: 8 years old+
Buy it: $30, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Hasbro Gaming

Monopoly Ms. Monopoly Board Game

Looking for new family board games? While Monopoly isn’t new in and of itself, this feminist version definitely is. In this game, Mr. Monopoly’s self-made niece is in charge. It’s pegged as a celebration of “women entrepreneurs and inventors,” and players collect items women created (from chocolate chip cookies to solar heating).

Ages: 8 years old+
Buy it: $20, Amazon.com

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