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12 best board games for kids in 2021

Classic board games for kids are great, but there's a lot to comb through. We’ve rounded up some of the best board games to keep your little ones entertained and engaged.
The best board games for kids of 2021 include Candy Land, Ticket to Ride and Chutes and Ladders. Shop the most popular kids board games with this guide.
Whether you need a board game to keep your kids entertained or a fun option for family game night, these are some highly rated games for kids.Amazon

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Board games can be a great way to get the family together and encourage kids to take a break from phone, television and video game screens. While a number of adult board games on the market are fun options for parties or casual get-togethers, many board games aimed at kids can also entertain both the little ones and the adults on family game nights — and they can definitely include the strategy, challenge and interactivity that traditionally make board games exciting.

While several standout tabletop games were launched in the past year for kids between the ages of 3 and 12, classics like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders are also top contenders for beginners and early gamers. To save you time shopping the endless sea of kids board games online, we’ve compiled a few of the best ones based on high ratings and our past coverage that’ll keep your little ones engaged and entertained.

Best board games for kids

Here are some of the best and highly rated board games that are great for kids ages 12 and under, along with the approximate playtime, number of players and age recommendations as recommended by game manufacturers and BoardGameGeek.

Abandon All Artichokes

A 2021 American Tabletop Awards (ATTA) winner, this animated card game features a world where people suddenly hate artichokes — and your garden is full of them. Your objective is to get rid of your exclusively artichoke-filled deck and harvest fresh vegetables, with each card having its own rules attached to let you swap and discard. This game currently has a 4.5-star average rating from more than 500 reviewers on Amazon.

  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime: 20 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 itself is similar to the classic Pick Up Sticks game, where players need to move and collect sticks without disturbing the other ones in the pile. In this game, though, players must move the “pasta noodles” without letting the Yeti, who sits atop the pretend noodles, fall into the bowl. It has a 4.7-star average rating from more than 8,400 reviewers on Amazon, and can keep kids busy without taking too much time — they’ll be able to play multiple rounds within the hour.

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

Ticket to Ride Board Game

Ticket to Ride lets players build train routes to connect cities and earn points before someone blocks them. In our guide to the best quarantine board games, Lincoln Damerst, the director of media at BoardGameGeek, previously told us Ticket to Ride is his “go-to recommendation, especially for new gamers.” He noted the game is “super easy to digest,” and it even has its own Amazon Alexa skill that’ll teach you how to play. Ticket to Ride has a 4.9-star rating from nearly 11,800 reviewers on Amazon.

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

Hi Ho! Cherry-O Board Game

This beginner game has a 4.8-star average rating from over 6,500 reviews on Amazon and features relatively easy instructions. The premise is simple: Kids pick pretend fruit from the trees as determined by the spinner and attempt to fill their bucket — but the spinner can also indicate what kind of fruit the player must put back. It’s also a great learning opportunity since kids can practice basic math skills like counting, addition and subtraction. There is also a cooperative version of the game that includes a nine-piece puzzle that represents a bird, and players must pick all the fruits before the puzzle is complete and the bird “eats” the fruit.

  • Ages: 3 and up
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime: 10 minutes

I Never Forget A Face Memory Game

This award-winning memory game includes 24 cards that players must match together during each turn — the player with the most matching cards wins the game. The faces on the cards represent a diverse group of animated people, all from different parts of the world. Kids will not only have fun jogging their memory throughout the game, but they’ll also be introduced to an array of different countries, including Myanmar, Bolivia, Mongolia and Tanzania. The game has a 4.8-star average rating from 500 reviewers on Amazon.

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

Draftosaurus

Draftosaurus, which has a 4.8-star average rating from more than 300 reviews on Amazon, transforms players into theme park proprietors aiming to build a dinosaur destination. “Functionally, it's pretty simple,” ATTA committee member Eric Yurko previously told us. Players pick a dinosaur and place it in one of the spots within their respective parks. “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,” Yurko explained.

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

Gnomes at Night

Gnomes at Night is a cooperative game where players must work as a team to move magnetic gnomes around a stand-up maze while on the clock. The game can serve as a teaching moment for active communication, teamwork and using descriptive language. It’s also highly rated, with a 4.7-star average from nearly 500 reviews on Amazon.

  • Ages: 6 and up
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime: 15 minutes

Chutes and Ladders Game

If you’ve ever had game nights with friends or family, you’re probably familiar with sliding up and down the Chutes and Ladders board. Each person plays as a kid character aiming to get to square 100 to win — players move the number of squares determined by the spinner, and move up the ladders and down the chutes depending on the square. The game, which has a 4.8-star average rating on Amazon from more than 7,200 shoppers, lets younger children practice recognizing numbers and counting as they move along the game board.

  • Ages: 3 and up
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime: 30 minutes

Dog Crimes Logic Game

If your child is interested in the mystery genre, Dog Crimes gives them an opportunity to solve cases in 40 different challenges. A follow-up to ThinkFun’s original Cat Crimes, this is a single-player game centered on six dog subjects, each with a unique characteristic and trait. The player is encouraged to solve canine-related crimes, ranging from soiled carpets and torn-up pillows to eaten homework and stolen cake. Dog Crimes holds a 4.6-star average rating from more than 4,000 reviews on Amazon.

  • Ages: 8 and up
  • Players: 1
  • Playtime: No approximate time

Candy Land Kingdom of Sweet Adventures Board Game

Originally created in the early 1940s by Eleanor Abbott, Candy Land requires players to race to the castle along a rainbow trail using a character marker. Players draw cards that show a color or a marked location on the board that their character should go to. While the game has gone through many iterations and new rules throughout the years — notably, the 2004 version of the game officially changed the last square from violet to rainbow, ending a debate about whether players needed to be on or past the violet square to win, according to BoardGameGeek (landing on the rainbow square now indicates the winner). With a 4.8-star average rating on Amazon from more than 16,400 shoppers, this game is a great option for a fun-filled game night.

  • Ages: 3 and up
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime: 30 minutes

Guess Who? Game

This deduction game is a childhood favorite and for good reason — it keeps players engaged by encouraging them to continuously ask questions and formulate guesses. Each hooked tile has a face and players must ask questions to narrow down the features of their opponent’s card and flip over the tiles whenever a face can be ruled out. If you guess correctly, you win; if you guess wrong, your opponent gets the victory. This game has a 4.8-star average rating from more than 9,000 reviews on Amazon.It is traditionally a 2-player game, but it can be played in teams.

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

Zingo Board Game

With a 4.8-star average rating from over 17,000 reviewers on Amazon, Zingo is a fun take on classic Bingo where kids get a tile that matches a square on their respective boards — and the first one to cover their board with matching tiles calls out “Zingo.” This is a good practice option 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

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