Favorite Board Games for the Elementary Ages (and even younger)

I have a confession to make. I love board games and games in general. I love the simplicity of gathering together as family and playing games, no technology needed. The stories are given freedom to be told, creating a family history, the character is given opportunity to develop (win gracefully and lose graciously? hm???). Because I have this obsession with board games, we have {gulp} two full cabinets of games in our not-so-large house. I’d call it a hoarding problem, but since they are games we use, I’m not going there!


However, over the years I have also encountered some flops on the board game selection process. In an effort to steer you away from the ones my kids have loathed, here is my list of our family’s Favorite Board Games (we currently have kids aged 11, 10, 7, and 4… so this is the list that has worked well for us so far!):


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  1. Apples to Apples: Big Picture. This is the game our kids begged to take on our holiday travels this year. We’ve been successfully playing it for three years now, which means our age range is from 2 years+. You do need to have a reading child to read the adjective on the card, but the playing pieces are just funny photos that you try to match to the adjective. It’s hilarious and the photos are really funny as well. I was thrilled to find something even our youngest could enjoy!
  2. Tenzi. I know this sounds extremely boring: get all 10 die onto the same number before anyone else. “How boring is that?” you ask. Well, if that’s all you do, I suppose it would get old quickly (although it takes more concentration than you’d assume to get TEN of those little six-sided fiendish playing pieces to agree). However, we start experimenting: “Get five 5’s and five 1’s,” “All even numbers,” “Only 3s and 4s,” etc. This is a game we play with friends and since it’s so portable I even have a purse-sized version for using when we are in restaurants waiting.
  3. Suspend. This is another winner for a wide age group of kids. The wire pieces must be suspended and not collapse as new pieces are added. (We also use this game for review for Classical Conversations. We assign each subject to a color of rod and the kids successfully answer a review question in that subject before placing the rod.)
  4. Trucky 3. This puzzle is more popular with our son and his friends than with  the girls, but it always comes out when friends come over. In fact, I may or may not have threatened his life when he left pieces in the walkway. Legos they are not… but MAN do they have sharp edges when your unsuspecting foot hits them!
  5. Reversi. When I was a kid, we had this game and it was called Othello. My sister and I played and played and played. I’ve discovered Reversi is just the same and just as enjoyable… but a little cheaper than Othello to buy. (Cheapskates, unite!)
  6. Monopoly. This classic is a classic for a reason. In addition to helping them with math and money, the strategy is wonderful for development. Uno recently saw the new version with bankcards and begged to get it. I don’t know if we’ll go there – I love simplicity and bankcards don’t have the same simplicity in my mind.
  7. Candyland. I personally HATE this game. It’s as much fun as watching paint dry. But my kids, they just can’t get over the amount of drool they produce while playing, so I guess it must be on the list.
  8. Uno Attack. Uno is Uno and it’s wonderful. Uno Attack – adds the element of surprise to the whole adventure of card playing. I’ve gotten to actually prefer Uno Attack to regular Uno, just because I like the giggles we get when someone is attacked.
  9. Bean Boozled. I don’t think this actually qualifies as a board game, and honestly your family may only play it once or twice. BUT this guessing game of good/nasty jelly bean flavors has a lot to love about it – especially the memories you’ll make while playing.
  10. 5 Second Rule. This is a newer game for us, where they give you a topic and ask you to name three things related to the topic before the five-second timer goes off. We’ve been enjoying it, however! I think it makes the cut!


I’d love to know your recommendations for games! Please share in the comments!

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