Why Family Board Games?Besides being a lot of fun, there are other benefits to board games too! Board games are educational; they help promote reading fluency, incorporate math and logic skills, and some even add some even add geography, history or science tidbits. Board games also promote teamwork and the ability to win or loose gracefully – a skill much needed in today’s world. Finally, board games help with family unity by encouraging spending time together, building memories,and fostering relationships with your kids at any age.
Sold? Well, here are some of the best family board games for families with elementary age (and up) kids.
Best Family Board Games – Elementary +
Qwirkle Board Game – This game is great for a wide range of kids from Kindergarten on up. It is a simple game to learn and play. There is strategy as you make rows of the same shape or color to earn points. Kids get it pretty quickly and I was amazed by how well my Kindergartner and 3rd grader did. Each time you play it’s different.
Wits and Wagers Family is really fun game for families to play together. They also have other editions (like the party edition) that is fun for grown ups to play! Here is what is so great about this game – it is trivia based, but you don’t need to know anything to win. Huh? Well you all give your best guess (always numerical answers) and then you will each wager on one of the answers. You get chips for both being right and for wagering on the correct answer. This is one of our favorite games to play with friends!
The Settlers of Catan is one of our favorite board games. There is a Junior edition, but we found that even our Kindergartner could play this game. The board changes every time, but the goal is to get 10 points. You get points for houses, settlements, cards, or one of the bonuses for largest army or longest road. Basically you roll the dice and everyone collects resources based on what you roll. Then on your turn you can buy things with your resources. This is a really fun, easy to play game.
One of our families favorite games is Ticket to Ride. Not only does it appeal to the entire family (ages 7-80), but it is fun and educational too! Watch as your kids learn more US Geography than you thought possible with this game as they build their roots and earn points to win. Bonus: This is a 5 person game and there are expansion packs so you can learn train routes in Europe, Africa, and Asia too.
I think a well planned scavenger hunt just may be one of my favorite activities. It was always part of parties and silly youth group events. My kids love scavenger hunts too, but taking the time to make one can be a lot of work for a busy mom. Enter this clever Family Scavenger Hunt Board Game. They’ve done all the work for you so you (and your kids) can play without any prep!
For the most part, I have found that character based board games are a little lacking in the game part – I mean they are selling you on the character, not the brilliant game. However Disney’s Eye Found it! is the exception to this! This really fun game is for families with preschool – elementary age children. Basically you pick a card with something like “boat”. Then all together you look to find as many boats in the oversized game board as you can find. When the timer runs out you stop looking in all the different Disney story lands. Everyone gets to move the number of items found. Individuals can still go faster depending on what they roll, but I love that there is a cooperative element to this game!
In 7 Wonders you each pick one of I think 8 civilizations to be. Each of the 3 rounds you will pick cards to keep to build up your resources, military, science, buildings, and more to make a strong civilization. At the end points are talied and you will find out whose civilization is the strongest. This is one of my favorite games because everyone takes their turn at the same time and that allows for a 30 minute game and more conversation. Plus kids and adults alike enjoy this game at different levels.
Note: This is a difficult game to learn on your own, but watch a 7 minutes You Tube video and it’s a cinch.
Blokus is a fun and challenging game where each person picks a color. The goal is to continue playing tiles until no one else can. The tiles are like Tetris (which I loved) and the game play and strategy can vary making it great for elementary age kids and adults to play.
Word on the Street is a fun to play word game. You think of words that use lots of letters (and that you can spell) and then you get to move the letters from your word “on the street” towards your team. The goal is to get letters on your side of the block before the other team does. This game is fun for groups and great if you like spelling OR coming up with words. This is a great way to sneak in some fun language arts!
Catch Phrase is a group game (although you could play just for fun all together) where you have to give out clues or descriptions for the catch phrase. The team that gets the most correct in the allotted time wins. This is a fun, fast paced game; plus my kids love pushing the buttons!
My grandparents actually introduced us to this fun game a couple decades ago. In Mexican Trains you use dominoes to build your own train to get rid of your tiles. My kids love getting to put their train on the track and push the spot in the middle that makes a train sound for the “everybody” train. This is a simple game to learn and play for families of all ages.
Dutch Blitz is a fast paced card game. Each person gets a deck (if you have more than 4 people you’ll need to get the expansion pack) and has to play cards in the middle community piles to try to get rid of their stack of 10. Whoever plays all their stack first yells Blitz. What makes it fun and exciting is that everyone is playing in the middle at the same time so the piles are ever changing!
Plus don’t miss 15 Classic Family Board Games Still worth playing for even more great family board games.