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20 Best Classic Board Games for Kids

Updated 13 July 2020

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Board games are a time-honored way to bond with family and friends, and there is no reason kids can‘t get in on the fun too. Not only are board games fun for the whole family, but the best ones can also sneak in a bit of education for the little ones. 

To help you find the right board game, we combed through dozens of recommendations from everyday parents and found the 20 best classic board games for kids. We fished out any phony reviews to make sure we only bring you games that are legitimately recommended by parents.

1Connect 4 (Best Budget Classic Board Game)

Connect 4 goes portable with this smaller version of the game, but the concept is the same. With 21 red checkers and 21 yellow checkers, two kids play against each other to connect four first to win. As a grab-and-go version, they can take it with them to a friend’s house or in the car during long trips.

What we love

  • Folds up with ease for storage and transportation
  • Great for teaching young kids fine motor skills

We dont like this as much

  • Might have to push some checkers out of the board when finished

2The Game of Life Junior (Best Quality Classic Board Game)

The Game of Life Junior is an easier, yet just as fun, version of the classic Life board game. Made for two to four players, this features various colored 3D cars for players to use and travel through “life” in the game. The images on the board are bright and kid-friendly, and the action cards are simple for children to understand.

What we love

  • The board illustrations are beautiful and attention-grabbing
  • Good introduction to money and counting

We dont like this as much

  • Spinner could benefit from a little less friction

3Guess Who? (Best Two-Player Classic Board Game)

Guess Who is a favored two-player game that encourages kids to pay attention to detail and skills of deduction as they guess the opposite player’s character. Each person gets 24 characters, so there are plenty of opportunities for a child to guess people with an assortment of features. This is also a great way to open kids up to asking more creative questions.

What we love

  • Quick, straightforward setup process
  • Character names are clear and easy to read

We dont like this as much

  • Sometimes can be very simple to guess

4Sorry! (Best Four or More Classic Board Game)

Among the best classic board games for kids is this vintage edition of Sorry! that’s similar to the original made back in the 1930s. The objective is the same: you get four pawns that you must move from “START” to “HOME”, and with the “SORRY!” card, you can move your opponent’s pawn back to the beginning. Made for one to four players, this a fun game that can go on for quite some time depending on the cards drawn.

What we love

  • The pawns are built reliably with rich colors
  • Included instructions are easy to follow

We dont like this as much

  • Cards are a bit stiff at first

5Chutes and Ladders

This retro edition of Chutes and Ladders allow parents to take their kids back to the ’70s. On the full-sized game board is vintage artwork, and there are the usual four playing pieces for one to four players. It can bring excitement to family game nights as each player races to climb to the top without sliding down.

What we love

  • Numbers are clear and easy for young children to read
  • The board material feels durable

We dont like this as much

  • The spinner can get a bit stiff

6Trouble

Take Trouble on-the-go with this compact, travel-friendly version of the game. It can bring some excitement to an endless car ride or even let kids bring the fun to their grandparents’ house. This comes with 16 pegs, four of each color for each player, and includes the traditional Pop-O-Matic die roller. Once the game’s over, it’s quick to pack everything back up and close the cover to store for later.

What we love

  • Plastic topper keeps all the pieces safe
  • Helps young children understand counting and color recognition

We dont like this as much

  • The cover is often a bit difficult to open

7Ludo

A modified version of Pachisi, Ludo is best played by kids who are 6-years-old or older. It isn’t overly difficult, but there’s enough going on to keep children pleasantly challenged. Up to four players can enjoy the game. The pieces are large and easy to grip and the colors are bright and bold.

What we love

  • Easy for kids to learn
  • Quality magnetic feature makes it easy to play

We dont like this as much

  • Could benefit from more space to roll the dice

8Yahtzee

Yahtzee is an exciting, fun, and loud game playable by two or more players. It’s straightforward to learn, but this does come with a good guide and 100 scorecards. With its size, this version is the perfect travel-friendly version so kids can bring it out at a relative’s home or a friend’s house for fun at a sleepover.

What we love

  • Everything fits back into the cup for storage
  • Ideal for multiple ages to play

We dont like this as much

  • Young kids may need help reading the scorecard

9Monopoly Junior

A kid-friendly version of the historic game, Monopoly Junior keeps the heart of the game while making it easier for younger children to play along. The four tokens are designed to suit the younger crowd, and there are fun properties to buy such as a candy shop or arcade. Anywhere from two to four players can take part in the game to learn the ropes before graduating to the main game.

What we love

  • Excellent way to teach kids about money and counting
  • Kid-friendly character tokens are brightly colored and a good size

We dont like this as much

  • Play money could use more durability

10Scrabble Junior

Made for two to four players, Scrabble Junior makes things easier yet still challenging for young kids. There are cute character pieces to use, and it’s a great way to introduce letter and word recognition. Once kids are ready, you can flip the board over so they can learn to create their own letters and develop spelling and reading skills.

What we love

  • Characters are cute and bright to attract a child's attention
  • Features a two-sided board so the game grows with kids

We dont like this as much

  • Could use more tiles to create more words on the advanced side

11Risk Junior

Risk Junior is a good way to introduce kids to a highly challenging game. Played with two to four players, this game features four different colored boats for each player, and it sends kids on a journey to conquer various territories and control their treasure. It does well at teaching children how to strategize.

What we love

  • Easy to adapt for younger kids
  • The boat pieces are a great size for small hands

We dont like this as much

  • Boats can sometimes get in the way of the dice

12Candy Lane

Celebrating the anniversary of the classic Candy Lane game, this features traditional artwork and pieces. There are four plastic gingerbread characters to move around so two to four players can use the game. It can show kids how to take turns, learn colors and counting, and how to properly follow along with directions. What’s fun is that it can be played and understood by various ages.

What we love

  • Young kids can catch on to the game quickly
  • Game board is very sturdy

We dont like this as much

  • Young kids may need help with smaller cards

13Operation

A good way to develop dexterity and teach fine motor skills, Operation is a timeless game kids of different ages can enjoy. One child can play or the whole family can join in. A great point about this game is that there’s no real limit on who can participate since everyone takes turns to pick out the most pieces and money. It’s exciting and unpredictable as you never know when to expect that buzzing noise or light-up nose to flash.

What we love

  • Tweezers are designed well so little hands can maintain a good grasp
  • Clean version that features silly pieces instead of real body parts

We dont like this as much

  • Might help if it came with extra pieces

14Battleship

The classic Battleship turns electronic with this cool version that includes sound and light effects. As a one to two-player game, you still must make the right guess to sink all five of your opponent’s ships. There are two different modes as well: classic and advanced. Classic can be played solo against a computer or with a friend and does the traditional Battleship experience, while advanced mode offers additional weapons and three attacks per turn.

What we love

  • Multiple modes to adapt to a player's skill level
  • Fun weapon and ship sound effects

We dont like this as much

  • Some of the grid coordinates are tough to read

15No Stress Chess

The No-Stress Chess is a wonderful learning tool to teach kids about the thought-provoking game of chess. There are guides to help kids understand the pieces, how they should be set up on the board, and how they should move. It’s also played at various levels of difficulty so children work their way up as they learn.

What we love

  • Different levels can encourage children to learn and develop skills
  • Great guides to teach a basic understanding of chess and strategies

We dont like this as much

  • Board could be built stronger

16Big Boggle

Big Boggle is a fun and simple game made for two or more players. It’s known as a three-minute word game as you’re given that amount of time to find and write down as many words as you can. Since there is reading and writing involved, this may better suit older kids or as a way to help younger kids learn to read and write.

What we love

  • Great for kids to learn how to recognize words and letters
  • The board and cubes are a good size for easy reading

We dont like this as much

  • The additional letters might extend playing time

17Clue

The game of Clue is an everlasting mystery game people of various ages can love. It’s among the 20 best classic board games for kids that introduce them to the thrill of problem-solving and the process of elimination. Made for two to six players, the game encourages kids to think critically and fast to be the first one to solve the murder.

What we love

  • Artwork is designed with bright, bold colors
  • Kids can successfully learn deductive reasoning

We dont like this as much

  • The board could lay flatter

18 Blokus

A strategy game that the whole family can enjoy, Blokus is made for two to four players. It helps kids learn their colors and help them set up patterns so they can properly paint the board with their chosen color tiles. This also shows them how to think strategically as they learn how to block their competitors.

What we love

  • Starts simple, but steadily becomes more challenging
  • Doesn't take long for young kids to learn

We dont like this as much

  • Could come with extra tile pieces

19Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit takes a fun turn with this Harry Potter edition. There are 1,800 total questions from all eight of the films as well as various categories. Two or more players can take part in the trivia game that goes by faster than expected. There’s a good variety between easy and challenging questions too.

What we love

  • Numerous questions of varying levels of difficulty
  • Good details in the design of the cards and pieces

We dont like this as much

  • Some pieces may need more effort to stay in place

20Taboo Kids

Kids can take on their parents with this Taboo Kids board game. There’s a “kid” deck and a “parent” deck so the family can be on opposing teams, though it can also be played with a small group or with more than four people. It has over 1,000 guesses using 260 cards. This is fast-paced and a great way to get everyone laughing as they race against the clock.

What we love

  • Good way to help kids think quicker and work in teams
  • Game is a great way to teach kids word recognition

We dont like this as much

  • The squeaker could be louder