We love kids board games and we bet you do, too. Kids board games are a brilliant way to boost your children's brain power, teach them skills and help them learn how to co-operate and negotiate. They also learn valuable lessons about winning and losing, working as a team and thinking logically - all while having fun. They are like secret educational toys!
Family-friendly board games were more popular in lockdown than ever before. As people stayed at home more and parents were faced with occupying their kids all week AND at the weekend, board games were a great way to keep kids busy (and occupied) while you got other stuff done.
Now Christmas is around the corner and people are already shopping for festive gifts and stocking fillers for kids. Board games are one of the top Christmas toys for kids every year. So, we've rounded up some of the latest and most popular kids boards games on the market. To simplify, we've broken each section by different ages and stages - but really all of these games can be played whether you're 5 or 55!
Best kids board games 2020 for 4-5 year olds
At this tender age, kids board games tend to be focused on educating in the most interesting way possible – think fun maths and easy strategy and pattern matching. Oh, and jumping!
Mammoth Maths board game
Age suitability: 5 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £12.99
Why it's so good: British company Orchard Toys' motto is 'learning made fun' and it's not wrong. Its kids board games cover colours, shapes, memory and matching, language and literacy, and speech and language to help kids learn through play. This teacher-tested addition and subtraction game is ideal for developing math skills, and kids will love checking their answers through the magic viewer.
What the reviews say: "Inviting, bright and cheerful!" wrote Liz on Feefo. "Excellent learning game, children are obsessed with it and don't realise they are learning basics maths too," wrote Tara.
The Floor is Lava board game
Age suitability: 5 and up | Players: 2 or more | Price: £12.00
Why it's so good: A 2018 National Parenting Product Awards winner, this game is fast and physical. The object is to imagine that the floor is burning hot lava so participants must use the coloured foam tiles to get across the room. A great way for the whole family to have an adventure in the comfort of their home (and it might just stop the kids climbing all over the furniture).
What the reviews say: "A great game for all ages to play," said one Argos reviewer. Another wrote "a very simple game but really fun, my 8 year old loved it."
Paw Patrol Pop Up game
Age suitability: 4-7 | Players: 2-4 | Price: £5.00
Why it's so good: Currently reduced from £10 to £5 at The Entertainer toy shop, this is basically an updated version on Frustration. Contestants must press the dice dome to get a number, then move their coloured pegs around the board to get home. A good choice for younger kids – and fans of Paw Patrol.
What the reviews say: "Great game at a brilliant price, kids played for hours ages 4, 6 and 9 – all loved it," wrote reviewer Skennedy on the The Entertainer site. "Perfect for a family game," wrote Shazza23.
Loopy Llamas board game
Age suitability: 4 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £11.00
Why it's so good: In this teacher-tested pattern and colour recognition game, the aim is to stack as many rings on your llama as you can. It's crazy, it's colourful, and it's got llamas!
What the reviews say: Amazon reviewers loved this "cute" game, with its "3D llamas". "Really fun easy to play family game, loved all round," said satisfied customer Michelle.
Best kids board games for 6-7 year olds
Now that they're a little older, encourage your kids to play board games that are a bit more strategic and logical.
Articulate for Kids
Age suitability: 6-12 | Players: 4-20 | Price: £15.99
Why it's so good: Tailored for kids aged 6-12, this version of the iconic fast-talking game Articulate gets children using their heads to describe and guess. It's infuriating, frantic, fun and quite brilliant. You need at least four players, so it's the perfect game for larger families or gatherings.
What the reviews say: "The clues are suitable for the whole family and we all learned whilst having a real laugh," wrote Dan on Amazon. "Simple, easy-to-follow playing style. You won't regret buying this!" wrote yyyl.
Bugacula board game
Age suitability: 6 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £23.00
Why it's so good: This game comes with its own Hexbug Nano and a catapult, but if you need any more reasons why it's such a great buy here they are: at 15-20 minutes it's a relatively quick game to play (so the little ones are less likely to get bored); it's fast and fun – the aim being to collect as many candles as possible without getting touched by the Hexbug – and the bug gets lots of laughs along the way. There are different levels of difficulty too, depending on who's playing.
What the reviews say: "Well designed, great graphics and detail," wrote 1JassSingh on Amazon. "Funny and innovative game," wrote ChaplinF.
Invasion of the Cow Snatchers game
Age suitability: 6 and up| Players: 1 | Price: £29.99
Why it's so good: This award-winning one-player logic game is perfect for single players. Alternatively, kids can take it in turns. The challenge? You're a UFO manoeuvring around farm obstacles to beam up cows, which you do with the help of magnets. There are 60 puzzles to solve.
What the reviews say: "Imaginative concept, creatively executed and satisfying to play," wrote Paula F on Amazon. "Even my 18 year old son was hooked. It really makes you think," wrote Jeff.
Labybrinth 3D board game
Age suitability: 7 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £19.99
Why it's so good: The original Labyrinth is a classic so what better to do with a popular game than up the ante – this 3D version is largely the same but there's now the addition of soaring towers. Locate treasures by skilfully moving rows of towers within the maze to create a path. The winner is the one who finds the shortest route and collects their treasure first.
What the reviews say: "The ever changing nature of the game makes each game different enough to be compelling." wrote Man V Film. "Players teleport and shift the maze in their favour, and they also cast powerful spells. This game suits all family members," wrote SO.
Throw Throw Burrito
Age suitability: 7 and up| Players: 2-6 | Price: £18.99
Why it's so good: Ok, so this is technically a card game and it’s best for kids over the age of 7 but it's had such great feedback it had to be featured. From the makers of the bestselling Exploding Kittens game, it's guaranteed to put smiles on faces on a rainy day. Players collect cards, play their hand, and throw burritos at each other. Sounds good? We thought so. Word of warning – get any breakables out of the firing line before you begin.
What the reviews say: "Brilliant game, very funny to watch as well as play," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "This is awesome, sorry abut the vase," said my 9-year-old son.
What board games do 8 year olds play?
Around this time, kids are more likely to be able to follow family games (and are less likely to have a meltdown if they lose).
Monopoly Sore Losers board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 2-6 | Price: £22.99
Why it's so good: I think it's fair to say that most homes in the UK possess – or have possessed – Monopoly. It's one the most loved board games ever invented and its popularity shows no sign of diminishing. To keep the public interested, Hasbro has produced countless variations on the theme – one of the latest is Monopoly Sore Losers, which turns the game on its head so you actually win when you lose. Players will want to pay taxes and rent, and even go to jail because they'll collect coins.
What the reviews say: "A little simpler and faster,' wrote Peter Piper on Amazon. "The aim is to cheat and get away with it without being caught, it's a fun filled version where the players need to be more on the ball than ever!" wrote N. Mummy.
Carcassonne Amazonas board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 2-5 | Price: £19.95
Why it's so good: The original Carcassonne (there are a few versions) is an unquestionable classic, but all offer similar strategic gameplay and help children learn how to plan ahead. This one is particularly colourful and it teaches kids about wildlife (there are sloths, people!) Players float down the Amazon on boats visiting native villages and water courses, and scoring points for discovering animals.
What the reviews say: "This game is super awesome," wrote Sandeep on Amazon. "The best version of the many Carcassonne there is, IMO. It has all the tile laying fun and strategy of the basic game, but adds a cool racing mechanic!" wrote William.
The Game of Life board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £19.99
Why it's so good: Fun fact – the original Game of Life was created way back in 1860, though it's seen a few changes over the decades. Many of us will remember it from our childhood, and it's heartening to see that it's still entertaining children today. In their own cars, players move through the twists and turns of life from start to retirement, experiencing surprises (and adopting pets) along the way.
What the reviews say: "Absolutely amazing game. Great fun for all the family and really good for getting the family engaged together," wrote Mummy Bear on Amazon. "Even got a 12 year old to step away from his games console - twice!" wrote Chloe O.
What is the best board game for a 9 year old?
Pre-tweens will be ready for more challenging games of strategy, teamwork and storytelling.
Ticket to Ride London board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £17.99
Why it's so good: Ticket to Ride is regarded by Games Radar as "the best board game for all ages". This version – Ticket to Ride London – is very accessible, quick to play, and can be played over and over, which makes it excellent value for money. This strategy game looks simple but is more challenging than it seems, which keeps players' interest. The object is to create train routes across the country – or in this London edition, bus routes around the Capital. The person who finishes with the highest score wins. If you don't fancy London, you can buy versions of other places around the world.
What the reviews say: "A super little 'mini' game of the Ticket To Ride range," wrote Carcassonne Fan on Amazon. "We have an 8 year old girl and a 10 year old boy and the family have had many happy hours playing Ticket to Ride. It's a perfect blend of skill and chance," wrote Cantonguru.
Pandemic board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £29.99
Why it's so good: Pandemic, and variations of it, has been around for more than a decade, but has enjoyed a resurgence in the last few months for obvious reasons. Four lethal epidemics are spreading across the world and it’s up to the players to research cures and contain the diseases. What's so intriguing about this game is that it requires the players to co-operate – players work against the game and with each other. Younger kids may struggle at first, but don't give up – it's a fantastic way to teach children about strategy and teamwork.
What the reviews say: "Great for kids, they get to learn where major cities of the world are located and no tantrums, as we all win or we all lose!" wrote one Amazon customer. "Anything that encourages the kids to engage, cooperate and learn together is a big plus," wrote Shelf Life.
Azul Summer Pavilion board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £29.74
Why it's so good: A slightly more family-friendly sequel to 2017's award-winning Azul, Summer Pavilion is a beauty to behold. Players lay tiles on their own board to make wheels of matching colour – while that sounds simple enough, rest assured this is a challenging game of strategy.
What the reviews say: "It's straightforward enough that my 9 year old can enjoy it simply for the pick and place mechanics, and my 11 and 16 year old love it for the strategy aspect," wrote Amazon reviewer Aaron. "Love this game. Our family favorite now. It’s made very well too," wrote Iryna.
Dixit board game
Age suitability: 8 and up | Players: 3-6| Price: £24.99
Why it's so good: You can tell from the box that Dixit is going enchant and it doesn't disappoint. A unique game, it's a wonderful way to engage your child's imagination and challenge them to find ways to interpret what they see in front of them. The storyteller picks a picture card and gives the other players a clue to describe it. The players lay down a card to match the clue then have to guess the storyteller's card from the selection – if they answer correctly, they move along the board.
What the reviews say: "A very fun bluffing game for all the family," wrote Amazon reviewer Sol. "It makes a fun evening for the family – easy to learn, quick to play and very entertaining," wrote hfffoman.
Best Kids board games for 10 years and above
At this age, kids board games are more complex, and require more concentration to learn the rules and the game – but the results are worth it. Once mastered, these family games can be played year after year.
Minecraft Builders & Biomes board game
Age suitability: 10 and up | Players: 2-4 | Price: £34.99
Why it's so good: Most kids who love technology, building or gaming love Minecraft, so what better way to get them off their laptops/smartphones/consoles for a bit that have a board game version of one of their faves. Collect blocks and build structures, but watch out for mobs and your opponents. Let the most courageous crafter win!
What the reviews say: "A fantastic game. Easy to learn but with nice, challenging mechanics," wrote Amazon reviewer Votlhar. "Awesome game - fun enough to keep kids happy, involved enough to keep them busy!" wrote Daniel.
Horrified board game
Age suitability: 10 and up| Players: 1-5 | Price: £36.99
Why it's so good: Featuring some of the world's most famous monsters – Dracula, Bride of Frankenstein, the Mummy – players work together to defend the village from these horrifying adversaries! As well as helping players develop tactics and strategies, it's also a co-operative board game (like Pandemic) that teaches teamwork. It can be played alone or with up to 5 people, so it's good for larger families.
What the reviews say: "The monsters all have complexity levels meaning you can pick simpler monsters to play with kids... but the best thing about the game is that it is co-operative so you win and lose together. That is a great bonus for happy family gatherings," wrote Amazon reviewer Paulus. "We played this as a family & even my youngest (11) who gets bored easily stuck with it & enjoyed it," wrote J.
Disney Villainous board game
Age suitability: 10 and up | Players: 2-6 | Price: £32
Why it's so good: Games Radar described this as "the best game for tactical thinking", and also admired the beautiful art work. It's a winner if you're a Disney fan (though it shouldn't put you off if you're not). Each player chooses a villain – Captain Hook, Jafar, Prince John, Maleficent, Queen of Hearts or Ursula – and plays to their baddie's strategy. It takes a while to explain, but judging by the rave reviews it's worth it.
What the reviews say: This is a popular game, by all accounts, though kids under 12 may find it hard to grasp at first. "A family favourite from 12-44. Expansion packs available. Would recommend," wrote Amazon reviewer jid. "Took a while to get to grips with. Really worth it when you do," wrote NEMNY.