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9 fun board games for kids

Introduction

It can be daunting trying to find some fun board games for your kids. There are so many out there and that is why I have put this article together for you. 

Obviously, this is totally dependent on the age of your kid. So I have games broken down for each age group. Each age group will have a few recommended board games that you can buy.

Here are my recommended fun board games for kids of all ages. From owning their own orchard and defending off cheeky crows through beautifully crafted Wingspan and finally the epic games of Terraforming Mars and Gloomhaven. These are some of the best games available on the market so let’s take a closer look.

Toddler (1-3)

Most of the games for this age group are very simple and designed to develop your kid in some way. My recommended fun board game for you kids is First Orchard.

Age 1-3: First Orchard

Players
1-4
Playtime (minutes)
10
Age
2-4
Difficulty
Easy
Players
1-4
Playtime (minutes)
10
Age
2-4
Difficulty

Easy

First Orchard is about colour recognition and very rudimentary rules. The game is cooperative and your objective is to pick all the fruit in your orchard before the naughty raven makes his way down the path, into your orchard and eats all the fruit left on the trees. If the raven makes it you lose.

The game has a six sided dice with four colors, a basket and a raven on each side. There are 4 pieces of fruit in each color. Red, green, yellow and purple. 

Each person takes a turn at rolling the dice. If the dice rolls a color the player takes a fruit of the same color and places it in the basket. If the player rolls a basket they get to choose the color fruit they put in the basket. If the dice turns up a raven then the raven is moved one space down the path towards the orchard.

First Orchard

This is a great fun game with dice roll, color recognition and that naighty raven trying to eat your fruit. First Orchard is my recommendation for 1-3 year olds.

Preschool (3-5)

This is the age group where fun board games for kids really begin to become possible. The average attention span increases from around a minimum of 6 minutes at aged 3, up to a maximum of 15 minutes as the child develops into a 5 year old. 

This opens up the opportunity for more games to come into play. From Don’t Break The Ice and Disney Eye Found It! through to Outfoxed. At 5 your child may even be ready to enjoy games like Catan: Junior and Ticket to Ride: My First Journey.

Age 3-5: Disney Eye Found It!

Players
1-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Age
4
Difficulty
Easy
Players
1-6
Playtime (minutes)
30
Age
4
Difficulty

Easy

This is my recommendation for this age group. Whilst it is for aged 4 plus it is quite a simple game that a child of three could join in with. It is also a great collaborative game and so the objective is to help each other to win.

My daughter loves playing this game and I think it is a really good foundation for more games to follow. Plus I love the collaboration as it teaches kids to work together.

Eye Found It!

Grade school (5-12)

Aged 6 and up the potential games increase dramatically along with the choice. So I will break this down into 3 recommendations for 5-7, 8-10 and 10-12.

I have a great article on the best board games for 8 year olds where I go into more details and provide a wider choice of games. Including games that the whole family can play and your 8 year old will love. You can read that here.

Age 5-7: Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
15-30
Age
6
Difficulty
Easy
Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
15-30
Age
6
Difficulty

Easy

From 6 years old games such as Ticket to Ride: First Journey which has to be my recommendation here as it will be something that the whole family can play.

The game follows on from the original in that you must collect trains, claim routes and connect cities. It is simplified and so is not only easy to learn but quick to play. The game is based in North America and covers all the great cities from Calgary, New York and Washington all the way down to south and Miami.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey is a great introduction to this award winning series of games and is my recommendation for this age group.

Ticket to Ride:
First Journey
Ticket To Ride First Journey Board Game

Age 8-10: Toy Story Obstacles & Adventures

Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Age
8
Difficulty
Easy
Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Age
8
Difficulty

Easy

Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures is a great collaborative game. It follows the movie franchise in that there are 6 adventures. This is essentially a deck building game where you become one of the characters in Toy Story. You don’t have to complete all 6 adventures in one go but do need to complete them in order. 

So, you must complete adventure 1 before starting adventure 2. If you fail the objective in adventure 1 then you must replay it. 

Each adventure introduces new characters and cards to build from. If your kid likes the Toy Story movies then they will love this game.

Toy Story:
Obstacles & Adventures

Age 10-12: Wingspan

Players
2-5
Playtime
45-90
Age
8
Difficulty
Easy/Medium
Players
2-5
Playtime (minutes)
45-90
Age
8
Difficulty

Easy/Medium

Wingspan

I decided to go with a theme that is a little different and unique. If you have any interest in birds at all this is the game for you or want to introduce a little wildlife into your child’s gameplay then this is the game for you. 

It has a very unique theme and won the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres award. You play bird enthusiasts that want to attract  the best birds to your reserve. 

Each person has a bird reserve with three different kinds of habitats for the birds they attract. There are 170 unique birds and you can gain food tokens, lay eggs or draw more bird cards to add to your reserve. 

After 4 rounds the player with the most points wins the game. If you think Terraforming Mars would be a good game for your 12 year old in a few years then this will be a great precursor.

Teens (12-18)

The games really open up for the teen years and so does the price. The best rated games are kinda pricey but are the best you can buy. If you are on a budget then I have also thrown in some equally amazing games into the recommendations here too.

Age 12+: Terraforming Mars

Players
1-5
Playtime (minutes)
120
Age
12
Difficulty
Medium
Players
1-5
Playtime (minutes)
120
Age
12
Difficulty

Medium

Terraforming Mars is a strategy game that can be played solo and so this could be a great option that you kid wants to play a game on their own.

Each player is their own corporation. They are working tirelessly together to terraform Mars.

In the solo game you must work to complete the winning scenario within 14 generations. This is achieved by maxing out the temperature and oxygen and laying down 9 ocean tiles.

In the 2-5 version the game is competitive. As you terraform the landscape and build infrastructure you accumulate victory points. At the end of the game the corporation with the most victory points wins.

The game was released in 2016 and is still the 4th best board game on Board Game Geeks website. There are also currently 5 expansions to the game so this will be a game that will last and is my recommendation for 12+.

Terraforming
Mars

Age 12+ Budget: Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

Players
3-6
Playtime (minutes)
60
Age
12
Difficulty
Easy/Medium
Players
3-6
Playtime (minutes)
60
Age
12
Difficulty

Easy/Medium

Betrayal at Baldur's Gate

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a cooperative exploration game that has roots from the very successful Betrayal at House on the Hill game. This is a standalone game set in the town of Baldur’s Gate within the mythical fantasy Dungeons and Dragons like world.

Players start in the classic genre start position of the tavern tile. As play proceeds players will lay down tiles on two levels: Street and Catacomb level. This opens out the town which will consist of buildings and streets along with the catacombs below. Each time you play the town and catacombs will be different. There are also over 50 end game scenarios making plenty of replayability in this game. 

This is a perfect alternative to Terraforming Mars or even Gloomhaven for those with a budget.

Betrayal at Baldur's Gate Board Game

Age 13+: Pandemic

Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
45
Age
8
Difficulty
Easy/Medium
Players
2-4
Playtime (minutes)
60
Age
13
Difficulty

Easy/Medium

This is an interesting game in the light of recent worldwide events and gives the players the opportunity to work together to combat a virus. It is definitely one I wanted to include in this fun board games for kids post.

This is a difficult game to beat but you will find yourselves having so much fun losing that it won’t really matter.

Pandemic is a collaborative game where each player has a role to play in defeating several viral outbreaks around the world. You work to cure each of the four viruses whilst also trying to contain it.

If the virus gets to a certain level in one city it can trigger an outbreak. As teh game progresses this can lead to a chain reaction of outbreaks that will seal your doom. Whilst this all sounds rather negative it makes a hugely engaging and fun game to play. You will find yourself wanting to play this game often.

If you would like a game that can be played solo or a competitive game then take a look at Terraforming Mars above which will be a better option.

Pandemic

Age 14+: Gloomhaven

Players
1-4
Playtime (minutes)
60-120
Age
14
Difficulty
Medium/Hard
Players
1-5
Playtime (minutes)
60-120
Age
14
Overall

Medium/Hard

We have reached the mighty 14 years old and up and what better way than to recommend the campaign based dungeon crawler, Gloomhaven. As far as fun board games for kids go this is epic. Gloomhaven raised over $4 million dollars through two kickstarter campaigns. In 2017 it hit the highest ranking board game on Board Game Geeks and is still there.

You are mercenaries and you will be hired to go on quests to improve your prosperity and reputation. You pick your characters from These quests are also contained within a wider campaign around Gloomhaven. 

As you commence each quest you set up the dungeon as described in the manual. This consists of connecting floor tiles to build rooms. On the tiles are hexagonal spaces in which your characters and opponents move around. There may be doors and other items in the room too.

Gloomhaven

Moving through quests you have to make decisions which will impact the story and dungeon you are working through making each game unique as you play through. There are also 5 expansions to this game if you ever get bored with the base game.

This game may be expensive but it brings huge rewards and hours of playability. I highly recommend this game. However, if you want something a little lighter and definitely easier on your pocket then take a look at Codenames below.

Gloomhaven Board Game

Age 14+ Budget: Codenames

Players
2-8
Playtime (minutes)
15
Age
14
Difficulty
Easy
Players
2-8
Playtime (minutes)
15
Age
14
Difficulty

Easy

One of my favourite games Codenames objective is to delve into the depths of the spy world and your spies who are out in the field before your opponents. 

This game works with 2 players but is more suited to larger numbers and ideally 6 or 8 players. It is a good party game for when friends are over. You have a grid of 5 x 5 words each representing a possible spy, innocent bystander or the vengeful assassin. For 4 or more players they are split into two teams and then one person in each team is designated as the spy master.

The spy master reviews the secret card which shows which words in the grid represent their spies. They must now describe one or more of these words and how many words the clue relates to. Their team then has a certain amount of time to guess the words. As an example, if there were two words: Moon and Stars. Then perhaps the spy might say ‘Celestial objects, two.’ If the team guesses correctly then they have identified two of their agents. First team to guess all their agents wins. Or if a team incorrectly guesses the Assassin then that team instantly loses.

This is a great game and if you are not into the 2 hour Gloomhaven then this will be a great alternative. Although it is rated as 14+ the game is pretty easy to learn and so should be playable for 12+ players too.

Codenames

Conclusion

This wraps up my recommendations for fun board games for kids. There are some epic games out there for you to introduce to your kids but it is often difficult to know which are best. The games above are some of the highest rated games available and will sure to put a smile on your kids faces for many hours.

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