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The Best Games for Kids That Families Love
Last updated: 31 Oct 2023
Thousands of board and card games are released yearly, but it’s hard for these games to get attention because the right balance of simplicity and challenge is hard to achieve. A game gets boring after a few rounds if it isn't challenging. But, if the game is too complex, kids reject it right away. Studies have shown that kids love games that test their physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities.
To find a game that appeals to kids’ exploratory minds, you don’t need to go through a series of flops to find a real gem. We have analyzed hundreds of games to find the most popular games for kids in 2023. Our top picks include a mix of board games and other classic games that you and your kids are sure to love. Let’s check them out!
Some classic games, such as Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble, Checkers, or Risk, never get old. These games have always been an active part of every parent’s childhood; maybe that’s why we want our kids to enjoy them too. After all, these games help kids develop major life skills, such as problem-solving, cooperation, and team spirit. In fact, these games are equally popular on digital platforms as well.
When grown-ups buy games for kids, their top priority is to help them learn something and enjoy some time away from screens. So, this buying guide focuses on finding a game that can introduce new challenges and problem-solving techniques to kids. With our help, you’ll be able to find games that engage little learners for hours because of their unique design and gameplay.
An excellent game for kids can elevate their mood when they’re getting bored. An average game is only as good as a kid’s mood. A poorly designed game can ruin your game night and the opportunity to connect with each other. But, how do you find an outstanding game for your kids? Let’s start with the basics.
Games for Kids: The Basics
Parents and caregivers should ensure that the games they select for kids are age-appropriate. While every child grows at their own rate, exposing a child to a game beyond their current development level can adversely affect their confidence. On the other hand, a game that doesn’t sufficiently challenge their abilities will bore and fail to engage them.
Game content description
In addition, this rating ensures that kids are exposed to an appropriate level of language, fantasy violence, humor, and sensuality. Often, games (and media) leverage comic mischief, suggestive themes, violence, humor, intense language, and reference to alcohol and drugs to make them interesting. The level of these attributes is hard to judge until you’ve played the game yourself. So simply follow the age rating on the game to ensure that you’ve made an informed decision while selecting the game.
Weight rating (or complexity)
The weight rating is simply the game’s difficulty level or complexity. For younger kids, select the games with a simple set of instructions. If there is a lengthy rule book, young kids will probably not read it, and explaining so many rules will also ruin their fun. You should also consider their current skill level, interests, competitiveness, and preferences.
Number of players
Most games require at least two players and max out at four. After all, waiting for your turn is boring, and everyone likes to be in action. As you add more players to the game, the level of engagement decreases. In some cases, it’s better to let other people pick their side and cheer or simply enjoy watching a good game.
Some board and card games can have quick rounds lasting a few minutes to half an hour, while others can continue for the whole day. We recommend games that allow multiple rounds and sessions in one hour or less, so everyone gets a chance to win.
Games for Every Age Group
Games for preschoolers (Ages 2 to 5)
Kids aged 2 to 5 years old like to play getaway games, which have a simple set of instructions and a basic layout. With these, the skills that kids learn include waiting for their turn, following a simple set of rules, learning how to make simple sequences, solving simple problems, or making simple decisions.
Additionally, these games for kids may involve simple components and rewards for practicing each skill. They can have tokens or simple prizes that kids need to collect as they play. Classic examples of such games are Backgammon, Checkers, Candyland, and Trouble.
Games for elementary school kids (Ages 6 to 10)
Kids aged 6 to 10 like to play games that are relatively complex in structure, involve more detailed rules, and are played in multiple rounds. Such games offer challenges to develop advanced problem-solving skills and give kids a sense of heightened competition. Games that involve resource planning, strategy development, comic mischief, and memory exercise are great for this age range. Pictionary, Connect 4, Aggravation, Twister, and Sorry! are a few examples that fall into this category.
Games for families
Games that can be played with adults should also have a capacity for a complex strategy to engage adults and kids equally. Classic games are always a safe bet because they ensure everyone can play them, regardless of age. They are also very good at using the “roll of dice” as a big equalizer. You may have a good strategy, but a child may have extraordinary luck, which helps level the playing field. Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, and The Game of Life are a few examples that adults can play with young children.
The layout of games for kids has to be child-friendly. Kids should easily hold parts and keep them safe throughout the game. Also, these games should feature elegant artwork, vibrant colors, and fine build quality; kids can sense these things and will respect the game more as a result. Games with too many small but essential components are useless after a couple of times because these parts get lost easily.
Parents often seek out educational games for kids. That said, experts believe that focusing too much on educational value in a game should not always be the goal. For younger kids, every game is educational for them as they are learning new skills. Everything that they hold or interact with teaches them something new.
The gameplay means rules, plots, characters, actionable items, and the game’s overarching storyline. Playing games is like traveling to another world and playing an important role. For example, playing a king of medieval times or a tycoon who owns the infamous Mayfair apartments. The world and your child’s role in it can and should be exaggerated, but also controlled, appropriate, and safe.
First impressions matter a lot, and the basics should be so simple that kids can understand them with one trial game. Additionally, a game should pique kids’ interests with mild humor, competition, and complexity. Games with few components and a complete set of instructions don’t take much time to set up and are sure to quickly grab your child’s attention.
Since so many good games are available on the market, finding the right game for kids requires evaluating the game on multiple fronts. According to experts, the following aspects make games more engaging for kids.
An intelligently-designed game keeps all players engaged until the end of the game by offering them a chance to win. This is often achieved by incorporating wildcards, dice, and jackpots.
Dice rolls shouldn’t be the only thing driving the game, and players’ choices should be important. Instead of passively watching their fate unroll, kids should be able to make choices, experiment with ideas, and develop strategies that actively affect the game’s results.
A great game feels different every time you play it. Games that don’t offer variable play will become boring after a few rounds. Kids like to involve themselves in dynamic games that give them variations of certain kinds to develop new skills, or in which they learn to develop strategies.
Types of Games for Kids
It is hard to come up with holistic criteria to categorize all the games for kids. But, if you go through the thousands of games available on the market, you’ll recognize a pattern that keeps repeating. Here are a few games that game developers have been reinventing for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Games that involve stacking cards, building different structures, flicking pieces, or hitting some targets (for example, with darts) are categorized under this type. They involve using the hands with precision and require focus and attention.
Games that involve more than one player are cooperative. To play these games, all players must agree on a set of rules. These rules might make no sense outside the game, but when players start the game, they have to abide by them. Players can compete only when they agree on the rules. This is very representative of real life and teaches kids how cooperation and rewards are interdependent.
Solving puzzles, racing towards a goal, and working together under a strategy are all cooperative games. When kids play with grown-ups, they foster new skills, learn to communicate meaningfully, and also learn to manage their emotional impulses; this is because adults can play with them in a constructive manner, rather than for the sake of competition.
Some games, like dominoes, require strategically laying tiles and creating patterns or different paths. These are great for preschoolers who love to arrange parts in a certain order.
Some games are played through the same rounds every time, and then there are legacy games, which develop through multiple rounds. Every time the new round comes, a new set of rules and contents are revealed.
Games that involve making arts and crafts, such as drawing, acting, or storytelling, are all creative. These games promote free thinking, imagination, and abstract reasoning.
Comparing the Most Engaging Games for Kids in 2023
Get ready for a hilarious showdown with the Big Potato Chicken vs. Hotdog Party Game. As a side-splitting and fast-paced challenge, it will have your friends and family in fits of laughter. This game takes the classic debate of chicken or hotdog to a whole new level. It is sure to make you think as you strive to defend your choices through creative and often absurd arguments.
Whether you’re a fan of the chicken’s clucking charms or the hotdog’s sizzling appeal, this game will put your persuasive skills to the test. Plus, it creates a lighthearted battle of wits. Perfect for gatherings, parties, and game nights, this game promises hours of entertainment. If you want to engage in witty banter, quick thinking, and hilarious debates with the ones you love, this party game is an absolute must. With its easy-to-learn rules and quirky sense of humor, it’s our top choice.
Hasbro Gaming’s Connect 4 is probably the most well-known classic two-player game for kids. Playable by kids aged 6 and older, operating this pick is as simple as interesting a disc in one of the slots. Players win the game when they connect four discs in a row. It’s simple and fair, so be prepared to lose this game to your 6-year-old.
All the components of this game are plastic and kid-friendly; there are no sharp edges, small pieces, or heavy slots, so it’s safe to be played around your kids. Additionally, it promotes analytical thinking and forces players to think ahead of each other as they devise the plan to block their opponent and connect four in a row. Because it is super easy to understand and play, this game is simply timeless.
Hapinest’s Find and Seek Scavenger Hunt is a fun and simple portable game that is ideal for indoors and outdoors. You can take it with you during camping trips to encourage kids to explore nature. Even better, this card game can be played in many ways, so it doesn’t get boring over time. This game for kids is appropriate for ages 3 and older, and can also be categorized under family fun games because it can be played by children and adults together. And, for your convenience, the drawstring bag makes it easy to carry or place all the cards in the purse.
Created by a 7-year-old kid named Alex, the Taco vs. Burrito Card Game is by a kid, for kids. Suitable for children 7 and older, this game is very simple to understand and a single game lasts from 10 to 15 minutes, staying interesting and engaging till the last card.
This game for kids is 2021’s National Parenting Products award winner, among other similar acknowledgments. Additionally, it has an excellent layout and gives both kids and adults a fun time. Simply collect the ingredients for your tacos and whoever ends up with the highest points wins. Gross ingredients like fried grasshopper and month-old sushi will always present an opportunity to throw jokes around the table.
Spin Master’s Hedbanz Board Game is an exciting game for kids with many choices and rounds to enjoy. First, kids can choose their favorite headband and then will try to guess what the card on their forehead is through a series of questions. Meanwhile, their teammates will try to guide them to the correct answer. To win the round, the team must correctly guess three cards before the other. This pick gives hours of fun for the whole family, is suitable for ages 8 and up, and can be played by two to four players.
Mattel Games’ Kerplunk with Marbles is a classic game that is super easy to set up and will entertain your kids for hours. Playable by two to four players simultaneously, this game for kids is about focus and attention, and is a great way to develop your children’s fine motor skills as they struggle to keep the marbles in place while carefully removing the sticks.
The overall goal of this game for kids is to protect your marbles at all times, which you can see moving as the straws are pulled out. The translucent tube has to remain upright as well. At the end of the game, each person can use their numbered tray to compare their score with other players.
Q: Which games for kids are good for their development?
A: Games that challenge kids’ cognitive, language, communication, social, and physical skills are great for their development. You need to look for cues from kids about how they feel while playing the game. If the game creates emotional stress, don't let your kid play it and save it for later. If it promotes good emotional health and your kid feels happy and content playing it, then encourage your kid to play that game.
Q: Why is it important for kids to play games?
A: Playing games is an excellent way for kids to learn new skills, make new friends, and interact with their environment. Kids practice different skills while playing games and learn to develop how to solve problems. Also, playing games can boost their confidence levels.
Q: How to find a ‘minute to win it’ game for kids?
A: Minute to win it games require minimal equipment that can be arranged from everyday items. You can introduce Elephant March, Plastic Pyramid, Anagram, and Battle of the Banks to kids so they can show off their talent, intellect, and artistic abilities.
Q: How can I find a kids' game for a birthday party?
A: Games that involve a lot of running, jumping, chasing, and interactivity are great for a party. Sack Race, Treasure Hunt, and Pin the Tail on the Donkey are a few examples of such games.
The Mighty Moms Reviews Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you tackle motherhood and everything that comes along with it. The content is created by The Mighty Moms Reviews Team. Mighty Moms’ editorial staff is not involved. Mighty Moms is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.