Older grade-school age children love challenging board games that let them flex their mental skills while they compete to win. Board games not only encourage learning and strategy-building, but can also teach kids important social skills such as good sportsmanship (such as the kind they would practice in sports) and being supportive of other players when they lose.
Here are some fun, skill-building board games and card games for kids:
If you're looking for a game that stimulates kids' minds, here is an excellent choice. This Mensa-award winning Egyptian-themed board game uses mirrored playing pieces and eye-safe "lasers" to take out an opponent's pharaoh to win the game. Your kids will have fun while learning about geometry, light refraction, and angles.
Ages 9 and up.
This game of strategy is perfect for older grade-schoolers (and for that matter, grownups as well). Players build roads, fields, cities, and cloisters in an attempt to claim territories and accrue points. Carcassone, named after the southern city in France that is renowned for its Roman and medieval fortifications around the city, is a fast-moving game that combines elements of jigsaw puzzle-building with strategic planning and luck.
Ages 8 and up.
This fun board game encourages mathematical thinking and the development of spatial skills. Players use strategy to lay down their pieces and block opponents as they build their own colors.
The manufacturer’s suggested age is 5 and up, but younger children may not be able to practice the strategic thinking necessary to plan how to win and stop opponents from building their colors. For younger grade-schoolers, Blokus Junior might be a better bet.
Ages 5 and up.
This is a game that will absolutely have your family in stitches. This fun board game for the whole family involves trivia and bluffing. The game comes with several categories, each containing real but often outlandish information (such as obscure or ridiculous laws). Players make up fake answers, mix it up with the real answer, and take turns guessing which is real.
Your child will love learning about the weird and wacky facts that are out there, and will delight in making up or reading the hilarious fake answers. The manufacturer’s age recommendation is 12 and up, but many older grade-schoolers (ages 8 and up) should be able to grasp the concept of bluffing and come up with funny fake answers.
Ages 12 and up
This game is a junior version of the beloved Apples to Apples game for ages 12 and up. Like the version for older kids and adults, the junior edition of Apples to Apples has players exercise their thinking skills and expand their vocabulary as they use the words on the cards they have to make their case for why it goes with a certain word. Because a certain level or reading skill and vocabulary is helpful, this game is best played with confident early readers. It’s also optimal for 4 players or more, so it’s great for a party game.
Ages 9 and up
Monopoly is a terrific board game for kids; the game of luck, dealing-making, and strategy helps kids learn how to exercise skills such as keeping track of money, buying property or assets, and other math and finance skills. But the reality is that Monopoly usually requires a good chunk of time to play.
This card game version of the board game moves at a much faster pace. Properties, money, and "action cards" that allow players to steal each other’s property or collect rent or other monies makes the game exciting and fun. Your grade-school age child will love it!
Ages 8 and up
This game of spotting sets, or similar patterns of cards, is perfect for school-age children and is an ideal family game. Each card depicts a set of symbols (diamonds, squiggles, and ovals) in varying numbers and colors. Players compete with each other to see who spots sets of three cards the fastest.
Ages 6 and up