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The 15 best board games for kids 2021

Kids' board games can be more than child’s play - here’s the proof.

Looking for something to play with your kids and the younger generation? Or are you a youngster looking for some way to keep your parents from deciding it's time to go on a family walk, god forbid?

Board games repeatedly say they're for all ages, but often what that means is that they're so simple that practically anybody can understand the rules, though that doesn't mean they'll enjoy it. Fortunately there's exceptions to just breaking out the hundredth game of snakes and ladders, great board games that are actually fun for adults and kids alike, while remaining easy enough to learn and play. We've listed the best of them below for you to check out.

Best board games for kids

Whether you're after something to play with your own kids, a gift for someone else's younglings or you simply want something easy-going to enjoy yourself, we've compiled the best children’s games that are still super fun for adults. Bear in mind that these kids' board games are generally aimed at younger players compared to our picks for the best family board games, though they'd make a suitable choice for any age. (As you can see from the Dicebreaker team's spirited playthrough of Rhino Hero at EGX.)


1. Rhino Hero

The best board game for kids of any age

Rhino Hero family board game gameplay layout

Players: 2-5 | Play time: 5-15 minutes | Age: 5+

Rhino Hero is a dexterity game where you must build up a large, wobbly apartment building which our hero travels around. During your turn, the roof tile you select and play defines the types of walls you get to place around the structure. There are two types of wall: short and tall. Once you have placed your walls, you can then place your roof tile anywhere you’d like. If it has a monkey image on it, you must then place a monkey balanced on it, before moving the wooden rhino hero up to the next floor, if available. Your goal is to not knock down the tower! In Rhino Hero a child will have the slight advantage with their tiny hands, but adults can figure out the best way to build up your apartment. It's a joy to stack things up and watch them come crashing down by both people young and old.

Buy Rhino Hero on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


2. Dobble (Spot It!)

The best fast-paced card game for kids

Dobble board game cards

Players: 2-8 | Play time: 15 minutes | Age: 7+

Dobble is a very quick-paced card game where you need to have a keen eye at absorbing the various symbols on the card in front of you and find the one symbol that matches a symbol on the card in your hand. In its most simple form of gameplay (though there are five different ways to play), you only need to find the match between the card placed in front of everyone and the card in your hand, before yelling it out and placing your card from your hand onto the top of the pile. Getting rid of your entire hand first will make you the winner. As the game is very easy to understand, explaining what you need to do to younger people is simple and easy. Adults can also find fun in looking for the right symbol, as the challenge is much trickier than you might think!

Buy Rhino Hero on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


3. No Yolk

The best game made by a kid for kids

Players: 2-6 | Play time: 20-40 minutes | Age: 8+

Designed by an 11-year-old who really loved chickens, No Yolk is a farm management game that’s slightly more complex than quite a few kids' board games. Your goal is to make 15 coins before anyone else does. You’ll do that by spending some coins on chickens and upgrades that make your farm much better. On your turn, your chickens will lay eggs, which can be fertilised or added to a carton. You can sell your carton once full, purchase items from the shop, use an action card or draw an egg. Once everything is resolved, you’ll move onto the next player and their farm. Though it’s a bit slower in pace, the game is easy to understand and fun to play. With the amount of upgrades, some very complex chicken coops can be made, while others can play a simpler game looking to quickly sell off the eggs they have.

Buy No Yolk on The Game Crafter.


4. Ramen Fury

The best competitive board game for kids

Players: 2-5 | Play time: 30 minutes | Age: 8+

Ramen Fury is a simple card game all around building tasty bowls of ramen. With three empty bowls in front of you, you must use the cards in your hand or in the communal pantry to add some flavor to your bowl. Flavor packets, which also need to be added to the bowl, will define what other ingredients can score you points within your bowls. Other players can also drop harmful ingredients into your ramen, messing up your score. Your goal is to make the best soups and eat them up, scoring only points that you’ve eaten, once someone has eaten all three of their bowls. Ramen Fury is also well-suited to house rules if you are playing with very young children, as the gameplay is very open.

Buy Ramen Fury on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


5. Go Nuts for Donuts!

The best bluffing board game for kids

Players: 2-6 | Play time: 20 minutes | Age: 8+

Go Nuts for Donuts! is an adorable card game where you need to collect the best treats to gain points. In the middle of the table, you will see a pantry of pastries, each with a number cutout below them. In your hand, you’ll have a bunch of number cards, which correspond with the numbers below the items. Everyone must pick a doughnut they want, secretly, then place the number card that matches that item face down on the table. Together, everyone will flip over these cards - if you picked a doughnut that no one else picked, you can add it to your bank of treats. Some have conditions, while others just have points. The person with the most points when all the doughnuts run out wins. Not only is Go Nuts for Donuts! colourful, with lots of care taken when it comes to being able to easily identify all of the key features to the card, it’s also got a bit of bluffing and strategy that can be super fun for adults.

Buy Go Nuts for Donuts! on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


6. Dead & Breakfast

The best Halloween board game for kids

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 20-40 minutes | Age: 6+

Making spooky hotels, Dead & Breakfast is a tile-placement board game where everything is displayed and easy to see in front of you, which means the information can be taken in very quickly by children and adults alike. Each player will receive a different tile door, which is the base for your house and contains some different-coloured flowers to pay attention to. On your turn, you then get to pick a tile from a small lot, placing it onto your hotel so that the window faces the right way up and it forms a five-by-five grid. Placing the right ghouls next to people who fear them and connecting vines will get you points as you build up your business. Creating a haunted hotel is very fun, but there is enough going on to keep this kids' board game from being boring.

Buy Go Nuts for Donuts! on Chaos Cards.


7. Rocket Squad

The best imaginative board game for kids

Players: 2-6 | Play time: 10-20 minutes | Age: 6+

Attempting to build a cardboard rocket good enough to get you into space, Rocket Squad is a hand-management card game where you need to add pieces to your cardboard box and blast off. On your turn, you will play some (or all) of the four cards in your hand to either build your rocket, mess with your friends or help yourself in some way. Cardboard cards can be added onto the base rocket of the matching colour, with the goal of getting the same number of pieces onto the base as the number displayed on them. Once this is achieved, you can then launch your rocket, gaining points. As soon as one player has launched all of the rockets in their backyard, the game is over and points are calculated. Not only does this have a very childhood-inspired design, but it’s a great kids' board game to boot, with some really funny cards.

Buy Rocket Squad on Amazon US.


8. Sonic the Hedgehog: Crash Course

The best racing board game for kids

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 30-45 minutes | Age: 8+

Based on the series of video games starring the speedy blue star, Sonic the Hedgehog: Crash Course is a racing board game that sees you trying to zoom ahead of other players by using your turn to move forward, heal or use a power-up - but you only have three actions in each turn. You must heal any damage before you can move, but once you make it to the end of track, you get a point and get to add the next tile to the track, building the race course however you’d like as you go. Keeping ahead and earning points is the way to victory. This is a good homage to the video games, with the various characters easy to grip for smaller hands, the rules simple to follow and the Sonic theme adding a lot of nostalgia for adults who enjoyed the video games.

Buy Sonic the Hedgehog: Crash Course on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


9. Mars Open: Tabletop Golf

The best board game for older kids

Mars Open: Tabletop Golf box

Players: 1-8 | Play time: 30-60 minutes | Age: 8+

Mars Open: Tabletop Golf is a dexterity board game like no other, where you will find yourself recreating golf on your tabletop. Playing to nine or 18 holes, you must flick a little ‘golf ball’ around a course in hopes of getting it to the hole in as few flicks as possible. These golf balls are folded bits of paper, each a different colour, while the courses are set up around the box, with various cardboard obstacles to be placed in the way. Courses are easy and quick to set up, the game is super fun to play, and flicking these bits of paper do take a bit of practice to master. Mars Open: Tabletop Golf has a lot of fun holes for all people, but if you have children who often change their mind on what they want to do, this game also very quickly breaks down, meaning you can get the game in and out of its box to play and put away easily.

Buy Mars Open: Tabletop Golf on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


10. Dino Dump

The best funny game for kids

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 10 minutes | Age: 6+

Dino Dump is a card-drafting game with a very silly theme: dinosaur poop. In essence, it's a child-friendly version of the playing card game ‘Poophead’. (You know the one we mean.) With three cards in your hand and three sets of two cards down on the table in front of you - one in each pile visible, one not - you must place a card of equal or higher value on the face-up card in the middle of the table. If you can't play a card, you can play an action card to switch up what is happening. You then draw up your hand and continue playing until cards run out. Dino Dump has some silly graphics and makes for a family-friendly version of a classic that makes kids laugh while they play.

Buy Dino Dump on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


11. Outfoxed

The best whodunnit game for kids

outfoxed board game

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 20 minutes | Age: 5+

Outfoxed is a mystery whoduunit game based around cooperation - a pie has been stolen and it's up to the players to find out who's responsible, working together, rather than apart, to find the thief! A big part of it is about weighing up chances and probability, as well as working together to notice little clues. If your kid aspires to be a real eagle-eyed sleuth, this is a great place to start.

Buy Outfoxed on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


12. The Magic Labyrinth

The best memory game for kids

magic labyrinth kids board game

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 20-30 minutes | Age: 6+

I'm sure we came this way already? The Magic Labyrinth is a game all about finding your way out of a huge maze, each of the players a magician who has to find all their special treasures before the Master notices. But the Labyrinth is only visible at the start of the game before it goes invisible, and everybody has to try and remember the path! It's a fun skill/memory game that's also just rather prettily designed.

Buy Outfoxed on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


13. Ice Cool

The best dexterity game for kids

ice cool kids board game

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 30 minutes | Age: 6+

Who says penguins can't fly? Ice Cool is a great flicking dexterity game in which players have to flick their little penguins around the board, trying to steer, curve, jump, bounce and ricochet them all the way to victory - in this case, winning a big fish while avoiding the ever-disapproving hall monitor (it's a penguin school, just run with it). More energetic than most kids' board games, Ice Cool builds skill and precision while also just being a lot of fun.

Buy Ice Cool on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


14. Looping Louie

The best classic board game for kids

looping louie kids game

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 10 minutes | Age: 4+

Spiritual brother to games like Buckaroo, Looping Louie is about trying to protect your chickens from the eponymous Louie, an aspiring pilot doing wide circles in his biplane above the farmland. A battery-powered reaction test, you goal is to make Louie bounce up whenever he gets near your chicken coop, diverting him away and keeping the hens safe until he comes back round again! It's a very simple game that can be understood by young kids, and the novelty of the electronic plane spinning means they'll always keep coming back to play again.

Buy Looping Louie on Amazon UK.


15. Shaky Manor

The best hands-on board game for kids

shaky manor kids board game

Players: 2-4 | Play time: 10-20 minutes | Age: 6+

If children are going to make a mess of somebody's house, better be this one. Shaky Manor (sometimes known as Panic Mansion), is a clever dexterity game in which players each have a "Manor Box", split into segments with various items inside, and must steer those items around by shaking, tilting and balancing them until they're all in the right places. It's easy to understand and comes with a cute range of monster tokens and toys to really make it come alive.

Buy Shaky Manor on Amazon US/Amazon UK.


Jupiter Hadley avatar

Jupiter Hadley

Contributor

Jupiter is a games journalist who enjoys both tabletop games and video games. Looking to highlight lesser-known games in the industry, she tends to write about hidden gems. She also enjoys cooking and travelling.

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