Brandon began working online five years ago when he left his old and boring Finance job. He now works at home with his wife and five kids.
As a father of four kids, we have a tradition where each kid in our family gets a new board game for Christmas. Some of these board games get played through the next year and for years after while others continue to sit on the shelf.
There are a lot of games that both parents and kids can be excited about. In this post, I'll share my favorite educational and family board games for young kids.
Great Board Games for Young Kids
- Spot It
- Disney Hedbanz
- Ticket to Ride
- The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
- Sequence for Kids
1. Spot It
Spot it is a game that my kids absolutely love. It's simple to learn and can be played many times without getting bored.
The basic premise of the game is for players to spot the match on the card in the middle pile which corresponds with the card they have in their pile. Whoever does it fastest gets the card. This works because between any two cards there is only one possible matching symbol.
Game manufacturer Blue Orange says that this game is for players ages 7 and up; however I have a 4 year old and 6 year old that beat me regularly to prove otherwise.
Spot it is small, easy-to-learn, inexpensive, and fun. It's a perfect kids board game under or around $10 and is even great for road trips. Since its release Blue Orange has released several other versions of the game including a Junior Animals, on the Road, and Party board game and English editions.
2. Disney Hedbanz
Another great family game is the HedBanz Disney edition. This is another easy-to-learn game that's fun for everyone. Everyone puts on a plastic headband and then adds a card from the pile without looking at it. When it's your turn you have to try to guess what the card is before the time runs out.
In my family we typically ignore the time limit and just enjoy the fun of trying to figure out whatever in the world is on our forehead.
Alternate Versions are just as fun:
For a more adult board game version, you can go with the Adult expansion or for kids consider the Disney version with Disney characters. Both are fun in their own ways, but the original is probably the better game for all ages.
Another slightly different version of the game is the Act Up version which forces the people around you to act out what the card is on your head.
Overall this is turning into a classic with our family. My kids love it and as a parent it's not something I get easily bored with.
This game came out several years ago and is still a great option if you haven't played it. The game puts 4 different colors against each other that are trying to lay down as many pieces as possible.
Along the way, you'll block off your opponent and find creative ways to lay down some of your more difficult pieces. Like the games I mentioned before it's easy-to-learn, but definitely more difficult to master.
There's also a Blokus Junior Game for ages 5+.
Another good thinking game for kids is Qwirkle, which one the Parents' Choice Gold Award. The game can be laid out anywhere and forces you to strategize by matching pieces that will get you the most amount of points. Mindware has listed it for kids ages 6 and up and on the whole I'd agree with that number.
When my oldest son was young we used it to not only teach him critical thinking skills, but also math. It worked great! I highly recommend Qwirkle not only for your younger children, but adults as well!
5. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is another one of those games I wouldn't hesitate to introduce to your younger children.It initially rose to fame after winning the 2004 Spiel des Jahres award.
It's listed as 8 and up; however, my 6 year old daughter is already playing it well. We like it because it's a relatively short strategy genre game that takes real skill to master.
There are many versions of this game that add additional rules and locations to the map. These include the most popular, Ticket to Ride Europe, the newer Heart of Africa, as well as many others. I suggest you start with the original and then expand out towards other locations.
6. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
Look, we all love CandyLand, but there's only so much you can play of it. Keeping younger children involved with new challenges and new games helps them to expand their thinking processes at a young age.
Kids can begin playing the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game as young as age 3 and it'll keep their attention until their well over 6 years old.
The object of the game is to fill your log with acorns. Do this by spinning the spinner and seeing what you come up with. It's a good game for learning beginning math and even motor skills as you have to use tweezers to move the acorns.
It reminds me a little of Hi Ho Cherry-O, but in my opinion, just a little more fun for everyone.
7. Sequence for Kids
This is perfect thinking game for young children ages 4 to about 7 or 8. It's not overly challenging and does require them to use strategy against their other siblings and you in order to win.
That being said the original sequence is also a great game for kids as it's so easy to understand so you'll have to decide whether the kid version is worth it or not.
Overall these games will provide everyone with entertainment and fun without being so simple that they bore you to tears.
What games are a hit in your family? Use the open discussion area below to let us know what you think.
© 2013 Brandon Hart