Whether it’s cooperation, strategy, academics, or just fun, there’s a game for that! From classic to brand-new, here are 39 of the best board games for kids. These games also make for great classroom play staples for indoor recess, centers, and skill building. And they’re great gifts for family nights and ways to occupy kids on rainy days at home.
Cooperative Board Games
These games challenge kids to work together to achieve a goal or complete a task.
This is a classic whodunit where students work together to figure out which fox stole the pie. It’s a combination of strategy and cooperation and will never be the same game twice.
Buy it: Outfoxed! at Amazon
2. Camelot Jr.
Create paths between the princess and the knight with these 48 puzzles of increasing difficulty. The classroom bonus of this logic game (along with Castle Logix, Three Little Piggies, and Little Red Riding Hood from the same company) is in the built-in flexibility. This is one of the best board games for elementary students and beyond, as students can work alone or with peers, progress through the series at their own pace, and check their own answers.
Buy it: Camelot Jr. at Amazon
This fancy version of the “What am I?” game is hilarious and a language booster. Use the cards provided or make your own to review vocabulary or content information.
Buy it: Hedbanz at Amazon
4. Rivers, Roads & Rails
Players create a growing map by matching tiles that include rivers, roads, and train track routes. We love leaving this out as a “community game” for students to stop by and play a few turns during a free moment. It is an excellent extension during a mapping unit too.
Buy it: Rivers, Roads & Rails at Amazon
5. Sloth in a Hurry
Add structure and fun to classroom charades with this game that awards participants for creativity in acting out silly scenarios. It’s easily adaptable for team play during a whole-class brain break.
Buy it: Sloth in a Hurry at Amazon
6. Ice Cool
Students flick and spin penguins through a game course made from nesting cardboard boxes. Up to three students must race around the board to collect fish from various locations, while another student is the hall monitor who tries to bump the penguins and win their fish. The students racing can work together to collect fish and out-spin the hall monitor.
Buy it: Ice Cool game at Amazon
7. Gnomes at Night
A cooperative maze game. Players work as a team to maneuver a gnome around the maze. The trick is they have to move quickly to find the thief who stole the queen’s treasures.
Buy it: Gnomes at Night at Amazon
Each player has an island-shaped game board. The players choose how to set up the adventure figures and temples. Then, a lead adventurer selects and calls out which tiles to use for each turn. Players decide whether to place the tile on the board or redeem it to move an adventurer toward the temple. There are special tiles that kids can land on along the way for gems or gold pieces.
Buy it: Karuba board game at Amazon
Strategy Board Games
These board games require kids to think through different approaches and ways of solving a problem or completing the game.
9. Blokus Trigon
A take on the original Blokus version (for up to four players), this allows even more students to play. Be the player to get as many of your pieces onto the board before being blocked.
Buy it: Blokus Trigon at Amazon
10. Rush Hour
Here’s another well-loved logic puzzle game that students can play alone or with peers. We love having this on hand for kids who need an extra challenge.
Buy it: Rush Hour at Amazon
Whether you’ve held onto a vintage set or you want to snag the newer version with updated colors, this code-making-and-breaking game is a perennial favorite for indoor recess or kids who finish their work early.
Buy it: Mastermind at Amazon
This Connect 4 and tic-tac-toe hybrid requires no setup and encourages kids to think one step ahead. Stack X and O blocks to try to get a row of four—but with different colors and symbols on each block face, students need to be careful their move doesn’t inadvertently win the game for their opponent.
Buy it: Brix at Amazon
This strategy game also builds geography and environmental knowledge. In Planet, kids build an ecosystem from scratch. Each person has a 12-sided three-dimensional “planet” that they add terrain to and collect animal cards for.
Buy it: Planet board game at Amazon
The classic video game in board game form. Students have to think through a strategy for completing their Tetris board while also thinking about what other students are going to choose.
Buy it: Tetris board game at Amazon
These are some of the best board games to get kids practicing reading, math, and content knowledge while playing together.
The classic game of coordinates and planning ahead. Fun to play, and even more fun to win! Be the first to sink your opponent’s battleship.
Buy it: Battleship at Amazon
Here’s a great option that allows advanced and upper elementary students to sharpen their mental math skills. Players create equations hidden among nine number cards.
Buy it: Proof! at Amazon
17. Time Telling Game
Games and puzzles from EeBoo always win for visual appeal, but this one also scores high for being educational. Tackle a skill that all kids need to learn in a fun and engaging way. Adaptable for telling time to the hour, half hour, five minutes, and a minute—this is a ready-made math center.
Buy it: Time Telling Game at Amazon
18. Apples to Apples Junior
Players must match noun cards to relevant adjective cards. This is one of our fave games for vocabulary development, especially for ELL students. It’s simple to customize it to utilize words you want to target too.
Buy it: Apples to Apples Junior at Amazon
Do your students a favor and introduce them to this classic word-lover’s pastime. Kids can play with each other or join forces to beat the teacher.
Buy it: Scrabble at Amazon
This unique storytelling game is an awesome addition to the ELA classroom. Players must describe fantastical cards in creative ways and decipher the descriptions of others. We love how this game can give striving readers and writers the chance to shine creatively.
Buy it: Dixit at Amazon
21. Guess in 10
These card games are like 20 Questions (well, 10 questions) with themes. There are Guess in 10 games for animals, states, and American cities. Students combine questioning skills with recalling facts, and build knowledge about whatever topic they’re asking about.
Buy it: Guess in 10 Animals at Amazon
22. Ticket to Ride
A lesson on geography and a board game? Count me in! Connect iconic North American cities across a map of 20th-century USA and build your train routes to earn points.
Buy it: Ticket to Ride at Amazon
23. Top Trumps
Capitalize on kids’ love of trading cards with this card game that allows students to choose the statistic that will “trump” opponents. Decks come in many topics, from Harry Potter to geography to dogs. Don’t see a deck on the topic you want? Once they know the game, kids love to create their own decks too.
Buy it: Top Trumps Card Game at Amazon
These classic board games are fun and teach kids all the social skills (taking turns, patience, how to win and lose) one round at a time.
The Pop-o-Matic bubble is what makes this game so much fun! Be the first to get your player around the board to win.
Buy it: Trouble at Amazon
Teaching an anatomy lesson? It’s time to break out the Operation game! Cavity Sam is under the weather, but students can make him feel better again.
Buy it: Operation at Amazon
26. Monopoly Builder
This is a different spin on the classic Monopoly game. Here players buy property and physically stack buildings with the building blocks. It’s one of the best board games for elementary students that teaches money and negotiation skills.
Buy it: Monopoly Builder at Amazon
This classic game involves strategy and deductive reasoning to figure out whodunit.
Buy it: Clue at Amazon
Do you have students who need to learn how to follow directions and both win and lose with grace? Let this old favorite board game do the teaching.
Buy it: Sorry! at Amazon
29. Guess Who?
This enduring game is one of our favorites on the list of best board games for elementary classes. Its deductive reasoning builds vocabulary and language skills, and beyond the original cast of characters, there are limitless possibilities for adapting this game to help students review content information. Just replace the cards with pictures related to your curriculum.
Buy it: Guess Who? at Amazon
These games check all the boxes for great games and are sure to become favorites on your game shelf.
30. Old Mummy Card Game
This updated version of Old Maid appeals to kids with its werewolves, zombies, and other spooky creatures. Introduce it as a Halloween center and leave it out as a fun indoor recess option all year long.
Buy it: Old Mummy at Amazon
Simple to learn and easy to adapt and extend, Tenzi makes for the perfect classroom math game, especially for kids who love to go fast. Be sure to check out our other favorite dice games for the classroom.
Buy it: Tenzi at Amazon
There’s something so satisfying about these smooth wooden tiles. Scale down this attribute-matching game for younger students, or unleash older kiddos to wage full-on strategy battles.
Buy it: Qwirkle at Amazon
Q-bitz is a game of visual perception and speed. Players race to make their set of blocks match the design on the card that’s drawn.
Buy it: Q-bitz at Amazon
It takes patience, a steady hand, and thoughtful consideration to place wire pieces on the game structure without toppling it. This is a fun game to connect to STEM explorations of structures or balance.
Buy it: Suspend at Melissa & Doug
35. Rhino Hero Super Battle
Players create wobbly towers and bridges, then watch out for spider monkeys and engage in rhino battles. This game will be a favorite during indoor recess.
Buy it: Rhino Hero Super Battle at Amazon
Sometimes the best board games get kids up and moving. These games are a great way to get kids out of their seats.
36. Twister Ultimate
For indoor recess or a movement break, this updated version of the standby group game will get everyone out of their seats and laughing. The larger play mat lets more kids join in the fun!
Buy it: Twister Ultimate at Amazon
37. Throw Throw Burrito
A card game plus dodgeball with toy burritos. Students collect cards, earn points, and throw burritos to win.
Buy it: Throw Throw Burrito at Amazon
38. The Floor Is Lava!
One of the best board games for kids that needs no explanation. Students create Floor Is Lava challenges using the mats and cards.
Buy it: The Floor Is Lava! at Amazon
39. Tap It!
This game uses four different-colored game pieces that players tap to win. There are four different variations: Each one involves assigning a student a color and then tapping it along with the game—within 60 seconds, in an order, in a pattern, etc. It’s a fun way to improve response time and hand-eye coordination.
Buy it: Tap It! at Amazon