IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

27 best board games for kids, according to experts

We’ve rounded up some of the best board games for family game night that will keep your little ones entertained.
These expert-recommended board games are perfect for family game night and sure to keep kids entertained.
These expert-recommended board games are perfect for family game night and sure to keep kids entertained.Amazon

A good board game can be a fun way to get the family together and encourage kids to take a break from phone, television and video game screens. A great board game inspires by encouraging strategy, teamwork and interactivity.

In recent years, several standout tabletop games launched for kids between ages 3 and 12 (see our list of the best board games for adults here). While classics like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders are top contenders for beginners and early gamers, there are plenty of kids board games to explore outside of the typical ones you’ll find crammed on the family room’s shelf.

To save you time browsing through the endless sea of board games online, we’ve compiled a few of the best, based on expert recommendations, high ratings and our past coverage. 

SKIP AHEAD The best board games for kids

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best board games for kids

We consulted experts from the board game review site BoardGameGeek for their recommendations. When shopping for a kids board game, they recommend keeping in mind the following factors:

  • Age: Most game manufacturers will list the recommended age for each board game on the packaging. This might go without saying, but look for a game that’s appropriate for your child’s age group — it’ll likely make the game more fun since they’ll be able to grasp the rules and strategies quicker, according to our experts.  
  • Playtime: There’s no set playtime for specific age groups. However, consider that a child’s attention span is relatively short, so you’re better off looking for a game with a quick turnaround of 30 minutes or less. 
  • Awards: Our experts recommend looking at key certifications, like American Tabletop Awards or Spiel des Jahres winners (the gaming world’s top awards).

The best board games for kids in 2023

Below, we compiled highly rated board games for kids ages 12 and under recommended to us by board game experts. We also noted approximate playtime, number of players and appropriate ages, as recommended by game manufacturers.

Spot It!

Spot It! is an absolute hit among the children Select photo editor Vivian Le babysits. The card game has players use their observational skills and quick wits to see which card has a symbol that matches another on the table. The first one to spot it, wins. “I also introduced this to my parents and boyfriend’s parents and everyone is hooked,” says Le. “It’s an all ages game.”

Ages: 6 and up | Players: 2-8 | Playtime: 15 minutes

A Game of Cat & Mouth

This game is like playing Ping-Pong, but on a regular table, according to W. Eric Martin, news editor of BoardGameGeek. Players must use a magnetic “cat’s paw” to flick a yellow ball through the cat’s mouth to the opponent’s side of the board. Players win the round when they get rid of all the balls on the board.

“Each round lasts less than a minute, but your excitement level goes through the roof as you try to get rid of those last few balls,” Martin says.

Ages: 7 and up | Players: 2 | Playtime: 10 minutes

Sushi Go!

Martin also recommends this fast-moving card game, where players get a hand of cards and keep one and pass another to their neighbor in an attempt to collect the right combination of sushi dishes to score points. “You can take a card that will be worth a lot of points for another player — but be prepared for them to do the same thing to you,” says Martin.

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 15 minutes


Boop is the 2023 American Tabletop Award winner for early gamers, and it’s a favorite of Eric Yurko, an ATTA committee member. Players place their kitten figurines on a board that resembles a bed, but each one pushes every other kitten next to it on the board one space away. When you line up three kittens, they graduate to cats. Get three cats in a row, you win.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 2 | Playtime: 20-30 minutes

Abandon All Artichokes

This colorfully illustrated card game, which is a favorite of Martin’s, imagines a world where people suddenly hate artichokes — and your garden (aka, your hand of cards) is full of them. Your objective is to swap out your exclusively artichoke-filled deck and harvest fresh vegetables instead.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 20 minutes


A 2022 Spiel Des Jahres winner, this Pacific Northwest wildlife-themed tile-laying game is easygoing, but has more depth than expected, says Michael Barnes, senior board game reviews editor at There Will Be Games. “Its appealing setting makes it easy for all ages to engage,” he says. Players take turns populating their terrain with various wildlife and score points by creating harmonious ecosystems.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 1-4 | Playtime: 30-45 minutes

Disney Villainous

Barnes calls this title “the best Disney board game published to date, offering players a chance to enact diabolic schemes straight from the classic films.” Disney Villainous poses the question, ‘’What if popular Disney villains actually triumphed?” Each player controls one of six villains, with multiple expansions adding additional characters.

“This is a great choice for older kids and teens, but younger players will enjoy this with some help from older friends, siblings or parents,” says Barnes.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 2-6 | Playtime: 50 minutes

Ticket to Ride

In Ticket to Ride, players connect cities with train tracks — and block others from doing the same. Ticket to Ride is a favorite of Lincoln Damerst, the director of media at BoardGameGeek, and his “go-to recommendation, especially for new gamers.” It even has its own Amazon Alexa skill to teach you how to play.

“The magic of Ticket to Ride is that you can play it casually, focusing only on your own tickets, or cutthroat, with you trying to sabotage other players in their city-connecting efforts,” says Martin.

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 30 to 60 minutes

Animal Upon Animal

This Jenga-like game involves carefully balancing colorful, chunky wooden animals on the back of a crocodile. Players roll a die to figure out their next move and win by getting rid of all of their animals first.

“The catch is, if any animals fall off the stack while you are placing one, you have to take them, which you don’t want,” says Barnes.

Ages: 4 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 15 minutes

Happy City

This 2022 American Tabletop Award Winner card game involves turning a small market into a thriving mini-metropolis by attracting residents and earning an income. The goal? To create the happiest town among your citizens. Once players add a 10th card to their city, every player must multiply the number of citizens by the total number of hearts on their cards — the one with the highest result wins.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 20-30 minutes

Zingo Board Game

Zingo is a fun take on classic bingo where kids get a tile that matches a square on their respective boards. The first one to cover their board with matching tiles calls out “Zingo!” This is good practice for pre-readers and early readers, since each tile is represented by a picture. The game has won multiple awards, including the 2002 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award and the 2011 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award.

Ages: 4 and up | Players: 2-7 | Playtime: 5 minutes

Guess Who?

This classic two-player deduction game is a childhood favorite of many Select staffers, and for good reason: It keeps players engaged by encouraging them to continually ask questions and formulate guesses. Each tile has a unique character, and players must ask questions about their identity to narrow down who it could be. If you guess correctly, you win, but if you guess wrong, your opponent gets the victory.

Ages: 6 and up | Players: 2 | Playtime: 20 minutes


Draftosaurus transforms players into theme park proprietors. “Functionally, it’s pretty simple,” says Yurko. “At the end of the game, you’ve built up a cute (and unique) little dinosaur park, like a more colorful (and micro-scale) Jurassic Park.”

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 15 minutes


This board game involves collecting colorful adventurer cards and earning dice to defeat various monsters.

“It’s a game that demonstrates some key gaming elements to kids quite well, such as gathering sets, taking risks, choosing between different opportunities and learning when to push your luck,” says Barnes. “Kids with an interest in fantasy will find a lot to enjoy in Dragonwood.”

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 20 minutes

Flotsam Float

Yurko recommends this stacking and balancing game, where players attempt to island hop across the South Pacific while successfully stacking various flotsam on their raft. “I’ve been really enjoying how easy it is to pick up, and I’ve even found that my more experienced gaming friends are enjoying it as well,” he says. “Plus, the shapes are fun.”

Ages: 6 and up | Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 15-20 minutes

I Never Forget A Face Memory Game

This award-winning memory game includes 24 cards that players must match together each turn. The player with the most matching cards wins the game. The faces on the cards represent a diverse group of people. Kids will not only have fun jogging their memories throughout the game, they’ll also be introduced to an array of different countries, including Myanmar, Bolivia, Mongolia and Tanzania.

Ages: 3 and up | Players: 2-6 | Playtime: 30 minutes

Yeti in My Spaghetti

Yeti in My Spaghetti has a lot of what can capture a young kid’s attention: a fun premise, easy-to-follow rules and pretend food. The game is similar to the classic Pick Up Sticks, where players need to move and collect sticks without disturbing the others in the pile. In Yeti in My Spaghetti, though, players must move the “pasta noodles” without letting the yeti fall into the bowl. It can keep kids busy without taking too much time — they’ll be able to play multiple rounds within an hour. It’s also highly rated, with a 4.7-star average rating from over 16,300 reviews on Amazon. 

Ages: 4 and up | Players: 2+ | Playtime: 15 minutes

Just One

This game is a “simple and accessible social word game for kids and the whole family,” says Brian Mayer, a school library administrator and game designer. Players take turns giving each other clues to try and discover a mystery word. Players can only write down “just one” clue, so “the fun and frustration comes from coming up with unique clue words, so there is as much information for the person guessing the mystery clue,” says Mayer.

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 3-7 | Playtime: 20 minutes


In Kites, players play cards to keep their kites in the air, racing against a sand timer. When the sand timer runs out, the game is over. “It’s a beautifully detailed, hectic, and frenetic game and I appreciate how easy it is to pick up and play,” says Yurko.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 2-6 | Playtime: 10 minutes

Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain is “a fun kinetic cooperative race game for the whole family, where the players try to beat the game by dropping marbles down a tilted board, kind of like Plinko,” says Damerst. The ultimate goal is to have the marbles knock down the evil witches without hitting any of the friendly villagers.

Ages: 5 and up | Players: 2-6 | Playtime: 20 minutes

Minecraft: Builders & Biomes

You’ll likely recognize Minecraft: Builders & Biomes from the popular computer game that inspired it. You mine resources, build structures and earn points. Players also have the chance to fight traditional Minecraft monsters like Creepers and Endermen.

“One of the coolest features is the big ‘resource cube’ shared by all players and composed of smaller wooden blocks representing various resources — players get to ‘mine’ the cube and get what they need to complete their projects,” says Barnes.

Ages: 10 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 30 to 60 minutes

My First Carcassonne

The children’s version of the popular tile-laying game Carcassonne, My First Carcassonne has players place tiles to build a city and create a network of streets, houses and green spaces.

“It’s a simple, puzzle-like game with gentle competition and a satisfying sense of creating a village with other players,” says Barnes.

Ages: 4 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 10 to 20 minutes

Quacks & Co.

Mayer recommends this kids version of the award-winning Quacks of Quedlinburg game, which has kids racing their animals in the medieval village’s big race. Players grab food tokens from their bags to feed their animals, advancing them forward in the race. “It’s a fun and simple race game that gives younger kids opportunities to make strategic decisions,” says Mayer.

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 3-7 | Playtime: 20 minutes

Rhino Hero

A card-stacking game that resembles the challenge of Jenga, Rhino Hero players use cards to create walls and roofs for a shared building — all while attempting not to knock it over. A wooden, superheroic rhinoceros also moves around the building from floor to floor.

“Everyone gets to feel like they’re in a shared movie, each player taking a turn moving the hero through the scenery — until someone gets careless and destroys the building, that is,” says Martin.

Ages: 5 and up | Players: 2-5 | Playtime: 5 to 15 minutes

Shadows in the Forest

Shadows in the Forest is “a wonderfully atmospheric game meant to be played in the dark,” says Barnes. Players play forest creatures called Shadowlings, which need to avoid being seen by the Seeker, represented by an LED lantern. “The board features 3D trees that block the light and give the Shadowlings actual shadows in which to hide,” says Barnes. The game comes with a miniature lantern and glow-in-the-dark die, too.

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 2-7 | Playtime: 15 minutes

The Mind

The Mind is a game in which all the players try to discard the numbered cards in their hand in ascending order into a shared discard pile. “But you can’t talk or give clues about the cards in your hand,” says Martin. The cards range from one to 100, and the strategy involves playing the card you think is the lowest of the round — if no one holds a lower number than the card you played, you win that round.

Ages: 8 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 20 minutes

Zombie Kidz: Evolution

In this board game, players work together to defend their school from hordes of zombies. It’s a great game to “show kids the value of listening to others and evaluating situations to determine better outcomes for everyone,” says Barnes. It’s also a “legacy” game, meaning you can unlock characters and other content for future playthroughs every time you play.

Ages: 7 and up | Players: 2-4 | Playtime: 5 to 15 minutes

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust Select?

Mili Godio is an editor at Select who has covered a variety of children’s wellness topics, including sunscreen, bikes and rolling backpacks. For this piece, Godio interviewed five board game experts to get their recommendations for the best games for kids, as well as Select staff favorites.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.