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The Best Family Board Games to Play With Kids

These games will get 'em off their screens. We promise.

Board games are key when you’re trying to connect with your kids — especially when everyone’s cooped up together and maxed out on screen time. The best family board games engage, entertain, and challenge players of all ages, while letting everyone blow off some steam and have a few laughs. All while you get to hang out with your children and have an actual thing you call a conversation. A well-conceived board game for kids teaches them how to think creatively and strategically, work collaboratively, communicate effectively, compete respectfully, and, in some cases, even hone their motor skills.

To ensure that your next game night is a hit, we searched high and low for some of the best family board games out there. We found the best board games for adults that are also the best board games for kids. Some are creative updates of old classics. Others are fun enough to make you howl with laughter. And still others are, well, designed for the oddball living inside all of us. Play on.  

The Best Board Games for Kids and Families

What's not to love about a board game in which you work together to save the planet from deadly diseases? It's a family lesson in cooperation and care. Players are part of a top medical team and must work together to keep the germs at bay. Like Doctors Without Borders, you travel the world to treat infections while also picking up cards that eventually help you discover a cure for each disease. The game is great for kids ages 8 and up.

Just in time for the next presidential election, kids can learn all about the electoral system and strategize their way to the White House. Great for kids 8 and up, the game lets players choose their strategy — either lock down quick victories in smaller states or work for longer-term objectives in larger states to win the 270 votes needed.

If like most parents you have kids hooked on Minecraft, this is the perfect way to get them off their screens and into an actual people-centric gaming situation. Great for kids 10 and up, Minecraft lets builders explore the Overworld, mine for rare resources, build amazing structures, and collect weapons in the great tabletop version of the beloved virtual world.

Who doesn't love battling it out over the English language in Scrabble? With this kid-friendly edition, players age 5 and up can start to have fun with the weird intricacies of the English language. One side of the board has kids match letters to form words, while the other side has kids building their own words. And of course, fighting over whether something is legit a word is half the battle.

History literally comes alive in this glorious civilization-building family game. Kids 14 and up will dig this epic board game, in which they start from nothing and follow one of four advancement tracks (science, technology, exploration, and military) to create their own unique worlds.

Let’s face it: Every kid wants to play as the bad guy once in a while. Now they get the chance. Choose one of six Disney villains — Jafar, Maleficent, and so on — and battle it out for victory by setting traps, commanding curses, and just generally being a bad guy. Your kid’s favorite heroes make surprise appearances too, making you stoop to a whole new level of villainy. Delicious fun. Great for kids ages 10 and up.

Test your strategic thinking and planning skills with one of the most beloved board games ever. It's like ‘Game of Thrones,’ but without all the bloodshed and dragons. You can play Risk one of four ways, but the goal is basically to occupy and take over enemy territory and ultimately to take over the world. Great for ages 10 and up, this new edition features updated figures, board art, and improved Mission cards.

The spice trade connected civilizations in Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe, pulling in centuries of rich history. This board game depicts those major trading systems and routes, teaching kids history by coupling it with strategy and adventure. Kids ages 8 and up will love this historical adventure game. The illustrations are gorgeous, and it makes something ancient totally relevant and relatable.

A wizarding version of Ravensburger's popular board game, complete with themed cards and playing pieces. Kids ages 7 and up will dig this maze of a game, which is a great way to help kids learn strategies that can help them when they play more complicated games in the future.

The movie about a female pilot turned avenger is a smash. And now, you can get in on the Skrull action with this game based on the film, featuring all the key characters. Kids will enjoy getting to pretend to be one of their favorite Marvel characters and sussing out which of the other players are friends and which are enemies. Ages 8 and up.

It’s often hard to improve upon an original, but it’s safe to say that Hasbro has done it here. When the original Pie Face board games came out, the internet was flooded with videos of parents, grandparents, and children getting a face full of whipped cream. Makes sense they were hilarious. This update adds in a canon that one player turns to launch the pie while the other player tries to use a blocking hand to save their mug from getting whacked with whipped cream. Ages 5 and up.

This deceptively simple game requires teams to cooperate without communicating in order to build enough five-card sequences on the board to win the game. This game combines patterns, teamwork, and the luck of the draw into a package that's remarkably playable. Jacks, which are wild, have a way of hitting the board right as one team or another is about to win. Ages 7 and up.

As one of the biggest community-backed games to ever come out of Kickstarter, this card game has kids 10 and older build their own army of unicorns. There are numerous twists and turns awaiting players as they race to be the first to get seven horned ones on their team to win.

Kids love Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty. So now, here it comes in game form: You connect the same-colored dots by creating same-colored paths of Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty without crossing different-colored Thinking Putty paths. Ages 8 and up.

Building a version of Operation around the irreverent hit cartoon just makes good sense. Rick is one of the smartest people in the universe, so who better to operate on his sick friend Ruben? Just like the original, this game rewards a steady hand. Ages 17 and up.

One of the most popular games of all times gets a crooked update. Everyone is still trying to get the most property and money, but this time the game encourages you to see if you can game the system — it's just like real capitalism! Ages 8 and up.

Perfect for the book-loving family, this game puts players in charge of creating the best library in a fantasy land filled with witches and other mystical beings. Players race each other to book-swaps, estate sales, and auctions in a competition to find hidden gems. One of the keys to winning is making sure that your bookshelves can fit all of the tomes that you've collected, so organization and puzzle-solving is key to this game. Ages 10 and up.

In this family game, the player who knocks down the tower first loses. It's a deceptively simple game that promotes coordination, teamwork and communication. Plus, it's just cute. Roll the dice when it's your turn, move the block matching the color on the dice, and place it on the top of the blocks, without letting the tower collapse. Ages 3 and up.

Get ready for a flock of fun. This game features chicken–pig hybrids who try to reach their goals while dodging opponents and hay bales. As silly as it is, this game is actually kind of similar to chess, in a package that's much more interesting than the somewhat staid classic. Ages 8 and up.

This strategy games pits different tribes of woodland creatures (cats, birds, mice, hedgehogs, and a solo raccoon) against each other in a battle to control as much of the forest as possible. We love this game because it encourages players to think outside the box and come up with creative strategies to get ahead. And there's no repetition, because the game is dependent on the players and their decisions. Ages 10 and up.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most fun. That’s the case with this update. In this version of the family game, blindfolded players try not to step into a pile of sparkling unicorn poop (clay piles) while they tentatively venture forward on the large floor mat that also doubles as a playing board. They spin the spinner and walk forward while their friends giggle madly on the sidelines. Ages 4 and up.

It seems that everyone is playing Fortnite these days, especially your teenager. So bring them back to family game night with this version of Monopoly based on the hit game. Ages 13 and up.

Trying to update a classic game like Connect 4 can't be easy, but this adaptation nails it. Instead of placing checkers into slots to get four of the same color in a row, players now bounce balls, simultaneously, toward slots hoping to land them in the right spot. The first one to get four balls connected wins. It's frantic and fast-paced and an all-around good time. Ages 8 and up.

This game is sure to get the whole family howling with glee. Players draw hysterically illustrated cards until they get an Exploding Kitten, at which time they are out of the game. But wait, that's not all. They're out of the game... unless, that is, they happen to have one of the many defuse cards available. Some of the items to stop the kitten from disintegrating are laser pointers, catnip snacks, and belly rubs. Ages 5 and up.

Fatherly IQ
  1. Do you plan on sending your kids back to school this fall?
    Yes. I trust that our schools are taking precautions.
    No. We don't feel that proper precautions are in place.
    I'm not sure yet. It depends on how things progress.
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