Our Top 10 Family Board Games, Ages 3-8

Our Top 10 Family Board Games.  Awesome review of ten GREAT games for ages 3 & up that are fun for both kids and adults.

Our family has always loved playing board games, but since cutting out television and then taking (almost) all of the girls’ toys away last summer away we’ve taken that love to a whole new level!  Playing family board games together is by far our favorite evening and weekend activity, and we’ve had plenty of time to discover what we love (and what we don’t.)

Since it is summer and you might be starting to get desperate for something to do with your kids that doesn’t involve electronics or spending a bunch of money, I thought it might be fun to put together a list of our ten favorite tried-and-tested, kid AND parent approved games.  None of them require reading, which makes them appropriate for ages 3 or 4 and up.  Our kids are 4 and 6 and now that we have played them all together a number of times, they are also able to play most of them by themselves as well.

I Spy Go Fish (Top 10 Family Board Games)

1. I-Spy Go Fish-Of all the family games we play, I can honestly say that Go-Fish is probably still our overall favorite.  We have the I-Spy version, but I think any set of Go-Fish cards would be equally fun.  For Trouble, learning how to hold her cards and not tell everyone what was in her hand has been a big achievement in the past year, one that gave us no shortage of laughs along the way.  This simple pairing game is a classic for a reason.  It is also a great one to take along on trips!

Kid Score: A+  Parent Score: A-  Independent Play?  Yes, but requires 3 or more players.

Spot it (10 Best Family Board Games)

2. Spot It-We  absolutely LOVE Spot It!  This game is proof that good things come in small packages, and this is another one that is easy to pack along on trips.  The concept is super simple, but it is fun–and challenging–for all ages.  Each of the round cards has a set of shapes and icons, but on each card only ONE icon matches an icon or shape on another card.  The challenge is to find which icon matches on your card and the center card before someone else does.  There are several variations on the game, all of which are fun and easy to learn.  This is a great game for helping kids build observation and attention skills!  There are now several other versions of the game, supposedly for younger kids, which look fun as well.  Our girls have been fine with the “regular” version.

Kid Score: A   Parent Score:  A  Independent Play?  Yes

Hisss Card Game (10 Best Family Board Games)

3. Hisss-This simple game of making snakes by matching the right colors is my four-year-old daughters absolute favorite.  She could play it all day long.  The object is simple–take turns drawing cards & matching the snake segments (either a body, tail, or head) by color.  If you “complete” a snake so that it has a head, a tail, and at least one body piece, that snake is yours.  The player with the most snakes wins.  We have found that the kids enjoy playing this game long after the adults have gotten sick of it!

Kid Score: A  Parent Score: B   Independent Play?  Yes

Classic Memory Game (Top 10 Best Family Board Games)

4. Original Memory-At one point we had 3 or 4 different versions of the Memory game, but ultimately we decided to keep just the classic original version, which is filled with basic pictures like clothing, animals, & food items.  For anyone who’s never played, the concept couldn’t be simpler–just lay out all the cards face down and take turns flipping over two at a time trying to find a match.  We have found this game to be particularly good for building concentration and attention skills!

Kid Score: A-  Parent Score:  B+   Independent Play?  Yes but need help with set-up.

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game (Best Games for Kids Ages 3-8)

5. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game-A slightly more fun & engaging version of the classic Hi Ho Cheerio game, this game involves gathering five different colored acorns to fill your stump.  Players take turns spinning the wheel to see whether they will get to choose an acorn, get to steal from another player, or lose all their acorns to a windstorm.  My kids especially like picking their acorns with the little squirrel-shaped tongs.

Kid Score: A-  Parent Score: B+   Independent Play?  Yes

Hoot Owl Hoot {10 Best Board Games for Kids)

6. Hoot Owl Hoot-The object of this cooperative game is not to win on your own, but to work with the other players to get all the owls around the board and to the nest before the sun comes up.  Players learn to use strategy to “set up” an ideal situation for the next player to make a big move.  The overall concept is simple, but the strategy aspect makes it very challenging.  This is one game that the adults enjoy as much–if not more–than the kids!

Kid Score: B  Parent Score: A-   Independent Play?  Not yet

Candyland (10 Best Board Games for Kids Ages 3-8)

7. Candyland-Who doesn’t love Candyland?  This absolute classic has been a family favorite for many years now.  Players pick a card and move to the colored space, sometimes getting lucky by moving ahead to a special character spot, and sometimes having to move all the way back.  I think of all the games we play, this one has been the best for teaching our girls how to be gracious winners and losers, and to deal with the disappointment of setbacks.

Kid Score: B+  Parent Score: B+   Independent Play?  Yes

Ruckus Card Game (Best Family Games)

8. Ruckus-This fast-paced game is all about creating sets, then stealing them from other players (and stealing them back.)  A little confusing at first, but ultimate fun, exciting, and challenging, this one is definitely one that we are still growing into.  The girls like to play but aren’t quite old enough to do it on their own.

Kid Score: B+  Parent Score: B   Independent Play?  Not yet

Tell Me a Story (Top 10 Family Board Games)

9. Tell Me a Story-This “game” is a set of cards with different pictures on it.  (Ours is the fairytale mix-up set, but there are several other sets as well.)  Players shuffle the cards then start by saying “Once Upon A Time….”  They take turns drawing a card and adding to the story.  Our girls absolutely love this game and it will entertain them together for hours at a time.   It is hilarious to hear the stories that they come up with on their own, and it has been really good for their narrative skills.  If you homeschool, it is an awesome language arts activity!

Kid Score: A  Parent Score: A+  Independent Play?  Yes

Busytown Eye Found It Game (Top 10 Family Board Games, Ages 3-8)

10. Busytown Eye Found It Game-Another fun collaborative game, this one has players trying to reach the picnic blanket finish line before the pigs eat all the food.  Players must work together to solve “mysteries” and to find objects hidden on the board.  It is fun, original, and very engaging for all ages.  The only drawback is that the board is BIG and cumbersome which for us usually means playing on the floor.

Kid Score: A-   Parent Score: B+   Independent Play?  Not yet

Our Top 10 Family Board Games.  Awesome review of ten wonderful family games that are fun for kids AND adults.  Includes details on each games with ratings by both kids & parents.  What a great resource!

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I’m sure I missed more than a few good ones.  What are your family’s favorite board games?

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{ 32 comments… add one }

  • Angie June 28,

    Thanks for this great list! I can’t wait to check some of these out. My kids love games too and we are always looking for new ones. We love Spot It! We also really like Qwirkle and Rummikub. Oh, and UNO!

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup June 28,

      You’re welcome Angie! We like Qwirkle too but the little one is not quite into it yet so it didn’t quite make the list. Can you believe we don’t have UNO? Need to get that one!

      Reply
  • Jada June 28,

    Thank you for the list, I’ve been wanting to find some new games that both my 3 and 5 year old would enjoy and be able to play.

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup June 28,

      These are all great choices for that age group! :-)

      Reply
  • Denise June 28,

    Some of these look really fun. My kids are already bored with summer. Hopefully this will help….

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup June 28,

      Let me know which ones you like the best!

      Reply
  • Claire @ A Little Claireification June 28,

    I have to agree with the comment about Uno! We love that one. Great list – thanks for sharing! Pinning and will add to my BufferApp to share on FB and Twitter later today. :)
    xoxo

    Reply
  • Cindy Shearer June 28,

    We still play “Uncle Wiggly” and “Chutes and Ladders’. A new one is “Left, Right, Center”… it’s another small game that comes in a 4-inch tube. For cards I would add Crazy Eights and Old Maid.

    Reply
  • Anne June 28,

    Some other great games are: Feed the Woozle, Zingo, Sequence and Monopoly.

    Reply
    • BG June 28,

      My boys love Zingo, too! Roll and Play is also a fun one for really little ones.

      Reply
  • Amanda June 28,

    Our kids are a little older (6-12 for the ones at home), but we love the game Headbandz. You pick a card from a stack, and without looking put it on your headband. Then you have to try and guess what you picked by asking questions. Both the kids & grownups like this one! Other games we play often are Uno, Clue (the card game), and Monopoly.

    Reply
    • beth June 29,

      We just got Headbandz too and my 4 year old loves it! It’s quite a good learning game for her, she needs some hints sometimes, but it’s fun to watch her think of questions to ask! Entertaining for all ages!

      Reply
  • Jane June 28,

    We have loved Hiss for years. Great for 4 year olds and up- fast paced but allows younger players a sense of accomplishment because you collect snakes as you go. So even if your little one does not have the most cards to win, they have a chance collect something as you play. Thanks for sharing your favorites. We just receieved The Sneaky Sancky Squirrel Game as a gift. We like Crazy Faces which is similiar to Crazy 8s with produce pictures. I keep it in my purse so we can play at restaurants.

    Reply
  • Rachel June 28,

    We like Skipbo, Sorry, and Yatzee.

    Reply
  • Vanessa June 29,

    Thank you for the wonderful reviews! Our children have started to enjoy playing games this year and we would love to add some new ones to our collection. Our boys love Thomas Uno and Dino Dig Monopoly (both specifically designed for this age group) and our 7 year old really enjoys playing Battleship.

    Reply
  • Melanna July 1,

    Another Spot It fan here. We’ve given it many times as gifts because it’s so much fun. We also like Spuzzle. My daughter got it when she was 4 and it’s not painful for the adults. You each are making 4 piece puzzles of different animals based on cards you turn over, but can force players to take a piece off uncompleted ones, or draw a wild card to choose your piece. Many on this list are new to me. I will have to check them out!

    Reply
  • Michele July 7,

    I’m so excited to try some of these games!! Thank you so much for sharing them! Also, I would be interested in guest posting if you still have availability. Please let me know what kind of post you would like, and I will do it. Thank you for your blog. It’s always so much fun!!

    Reply
  • Melissa and Doug Australia July 8,

    Great collection of board games. It is really great that these type of toys are available today which stimulates the educational skills of our kids while keeping them occupied and happy.

    Reply
  • Megan July 8,

    Based on your recommendations, I purchased Hiss, Spot it and Tell Me A Story. I have a 2 and 5 year old and we love playing games. A few that I loved growing up and that my kids aren’t quite ready for are Mastermind, Payday, Stratego, Othello. Starting to play a few of those with my 5 year old but usually have to modify a bit. Games are SO good for them! A SUPER fun learning game for elementary aged kids through adults is called 24. Just search for “24game.com” and you’ll find the game. I love playing the version that has add, subtract, multiply and divide to get to 24. I taught 5th grade and my students loved this game. My husband and I even like playing it together. It’s a nice quiet game and builds math skills at the same time.

    Reply
  • Michelle July 11,

    Our new favorite is Sequence for Kids! My boys are 2.5 and 4.5 and they love it. My husband and I love the original Sequence so this kid version is perfect for our family. No independent play yet but perfect for family game nights.

    Reply
  • Anonymous August 14,

    just an FYI- There is a Jr. version of Ruckus that my kids LOVE :)

    Reply
  • Melinda August 29,

    Any good suggestions for a 2 year old? ;)

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup August 31,

      The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel one is pretty simple, and our kids started playing Candyland at 2. It really depends on the child at that age!

      Reply
  • Electronics Mini Course August 31,

    May I just say what a relief to uncover somebody that actually understands what they are discussing on the internet.
    You certainly understand how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. More and more people should
    check this out and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular because you certainly have the gift.

    Reply
  • Mark October 17,

    Great review!
    My Kids love Spot it as well.
    The new favorite lately is Don’t Break the Ice.

    Reply
  • Melissa December 4,

    Great list! We love Spot It as well and I have read several good reviews for the Squirrel game – going to have to try. Your little one may still be too young, but around age 5 is a great time to start playing Blokus. That is a great family game that was recommended to me and now we love it! It’s even a lot of fun for the adults. You have to play with at least 2 players – it is a strategy game. Definitely don’t play with really little kids though because there are small pieces.

    Reply
  • Lisa Todd December 8,

    Two games, my girls love are Uno and Cadoo. Cadoo is like a kids version of Cranium where you draw, sculpt, answer riddles etc. It is rated 7+ but my 5 year old loves it! When we play as a family my husband or I help her a bit. I found it at a garage sale for $5. It was a great investment – but I would say it is worth full price if you cannot find a complete used set. http://www.amazon.com/Cranium-Cadoo-Kids-Board-Game/dp/B000L8LZ0U

    Reply
  • Tennille Mykula January 23,

    Hi! Just stumbled across your blog via Pinterest. My kids are 2.5, 5, 7 and 9, 1 boy, 3 girls. We love Monopoly Deal. It’s a twist on the classic game played with a deck of cards. It’s much faster and requires a little more strategy and sneakiness. We love it and play it for hours when we’re camping. Our five year old can’t read yet but for the most part has the cards memorized so can play with a little bit of assistance. It’s a game that we really all enjoy and me and my hubby will even play by ourselves. The other game, probably just for adults is called Rage. It’s a card game too, requires some strategy and can change on a dime. It can be super fun and frustrating at the same time. My kids also love Sorry and when yours get a little bigger, Beat the Parents. Have fun!

    Reply
  • Melissa March 11,

    My nephews, 4 and 9, love playing UNO and Guess Who. We have to help the 4 year old a bit but he can do a lot on his own. I’m a reading teacher and Guess Who is also excellent at letting them use inference and conclusions, which is a tough skill to learn.

    Reply
  • Samantha M. May 17,

    Great list! I’m going to buy Spot It for my niece and play with her.

    Reply
  • Jennifer July 23,

    My kiddos like The Cat’s Pajamas, I think a fairly new game. It helped my son with # recognition. Players choose pajama tops and bottoms (5 each) for their cat on the board and stack them up. Players take turns rolling dice and moving a cat around the board tiles. Each tile is a different color or pattern. If you have a pajama top or bottom on top that matches the tile the cat lands on, you get to take off that shirt/pants. The player who gets down to their cat’s “whitey nightey” is the winner. This game is unique b/c though you take turns rolling and moving a cat around the board, each player gets to play on ever turn, looking to see if their pajamas match the board tile. Keeps young ones entertained. Ages 3-6

    Reply
  • Crystal August 1,

    Rat-a-tat Cat is our favorite. It’s a card game that is quick to play, we enjoy it as much as the kids. It is also great for adding single digit numbers and learning value.

    Reply

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