Best Board Games for Kids: Suggestions by Age & Tips for Game Night Success
Buckle up! The board game scene is nothing like it was when you were young.
You’re in the right place if you’re looking for family board game ideas and how to host the best family game night.
We have five easy tips for you on how to set up your family’s game night — as well as a list of great games for kids of all ages, from teens all the way down to preschoolers.
Table of Contents
In this article, you will find:
Where to Buy Board Games Locally (Grand Rapids, MI)
List of Best Board Games for Preschoolers
List of Best Board Games for Kids
List of Best Board Games for Tweens & Teens
Tips for Hosting a Great Family Game Night
GRAND RAPIDS BOARD GAMES
Where to Buy the Best Board Games for Kids in Grand Rapids
You can find board game stores in Grand Rapids, super cool games down the Target aisle, at Schuler Books, and even a local convention where people create a community around board games for a whole weekend.
I called Margaret Kleist, who owns Blue Bridge Games on East Fulton, along with her husband, Ken, to help with this list.
While I can vouch for most of the games here, I needed a little help with the preschool age group, as we’ve been buying older-age games lately. She knew every game I pitched to her and even had a couple of new, super interesting recommendations. (Kind of wishing I still had a preschooler at home…)
When at all possible, I highly recommend buying board games at a local shop like Blue Bridge. We’ve listed a few other game shops below, too.
The staff are friendly and love their product, and they can help you whittle down that games list of 50 recommendations down to 2 or 3 solid hits.
If you prefer online shopping, check out the local websites below first – many offer online shopping. Some even offer curbside pickup.
Blue Bridge Games 954 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
This is a fun, friendly game store in the Uptown neighborhood.
Vault of Midnight 95A Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Head here for board games, comic books, and excellent graphic novels.
Out of the Box Games 5212 Division Ave S, Kentwood, MI 49548
This is a hobby store with an excellent collection of board games, toys, and puzzles for the whole family.
BEST BOARD GAMES FOR KIDS & FAMILIES
Best Board Games for Kids (and a fun list for Grownups, Too)
Are you looking for some different, fun games for your game night?
These are the best board games for kids and families on family game night:
Best Board Games for Preschoolers, By Age
Preschool games can be a little boring for parents, but when your kids are having this much fun, family game time is much more enjoyable for the adults.
Use this list of the best board games for preschoolers to find just the right thing to play at your house.
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Board Game: Go Away Monster!
What Is It?
Reach into the bag to grab a game piece for your board, but be careful – you could pull out a monster instead.
Build train routes for points across North America in this original version. Want to explore the world? Try one of their many other versions, including Japan, UK, the Germany, Europe and beyond. Whether you win or lose, you’ll have fun building routes.
Finding a game the whole family can enjoy can be tricky.
Use this list of the best family board games to find a game suitable for the youngest member of the family by checking the age suggestions. The games have been tested and approved by all ages above that, so everyone should have fun!
Board Game: Azul
What Is It?
Azul is a tile-placement game in which players compete for the highest score by claiming tiles and arranging them on their board to score points.
But every tile that you claim affects what your rivals can take next. You’ll have to make choices that help you without helping them too much!
The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames.
The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
Exploding Kittens is a highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian roulette.
Players draw cards until someone draws an exploding kitten, at which point they explode – unless that player has a defuse card, which can defuse the kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches.
All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the exploding kittens.
You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves.
Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower, lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors, draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them.
You’ve done the hard work of picking out one of the best board games for kids. Now it’s time to play!
Kids love getting in on the fun and it’s a perfect way to interact at home without screens. In fact, my kids are constantly begging us for game night! Plan ahead with these tips and you’ll be set up for success.
1) Let Each Child Pick a Game to Play
Don’t complain about their choice, even if it’s Chutes and Ladders. Pro tip: If you really don’t like a certain board game, hide it before it’s time to choose.
2) Set a Time Limit
Game night can easily last for hours, which can spell disaster for little kids. Designate a specific game time, such as 7:00 – 8:00 PM, so they know what to expect. Be sure to schedule time for each child’s game.
3) Prep Before the Big Night
Finish baths and get the kids into pajamas before games start and make popcorn or other snacks ahead of time.
4) Put Down the Cellphone, Dad! (You, too, Mom!)
Set it in the other room if you have to. Whenever you check your phone during game night, you’re sending the message that you’d rather be anywhere else but with them.
5) Be a Role Model
They’re watching you! Keep your competitive side in check and don’t dominate every game.
Give them chances to try new strategies and see what it’s like to have a strategy to succeed or fail.
There are so many life lessons waiting in Family Game Night!
Senior Editor. April is a stay-at-home-working-mom hybrid who balances her time between managing a household and using her editor brain to find all the typos in her friends’ emails. In her occasional free time she enjoys reading, quilting, antiquing, and photography. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three children.