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Best board games for kids 2022: The best games to engage and entertain

Find the best board games to provide children with hours of fun

Board games have always been a staple in any child’s toy chest. They can help kids to learn, improve their focus, and teach them all about the benefits of teamwork. They can teach children how to win or lose gracefully, as well as provide an alternative to constant screen time. Above all else, they can provide hours of entertainment and are a great way to spend more time together as a family.

Whether it’s a game of cooperation or rivalry, long sessions of strategy or quick rounds of excitement, there are enjoyable games available for every child. It might seem like a simple decision, but with the wide variety of games on the market it can be a harder choice than you think.

We looked at some of the most popular board games – both classic and new – for children to play, and outlined some factors to consider when choosing board games for kids, to help determine which ones will best entertain different children. Check out some of our favourite tried-and-tested options below.

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Best board games for kids: At a glance

How to choose the best board games for kids

What to consider in a board game for kids

To work out which games your child will probably enjoy the most, there are some things to consider:

Game theme: It may seem obvious but look for games that match their interests – maybe they like dinosaurs, or they constantly play with train sets; if so, look for games that involve dinosaurs or trains. There are a nearly infinite number of game themes available, so you should be able to find something to match their interests.

Complexity: It never hurts to challenge a child, but when it’s something that’s supposed to be fun, you don’t want the difficulty level to spoil the game. Depending on your child’s age and development, you may want to choose a game that doesn’t have too many rules, or where the rules are easy to follow. It’s also worth considering whether they will do better with fast-paced games or slow, methodical games.

Competitive level: Some games are more competitive than others and there’s nothing wrong with nurturing a competitive spirit – games can help children learn to win or lose with grace and respect. Alternatively, you can encourage a child’s ability to work with others by choosing cooperation games instead.

Attention and focus: How is your child’s attention span? If they have difficulty focusing for longer periods of time, it won’t be fun for them to play long, drawn-out games. Look for games that keep all the players engaged as much as possible.

Physical space: Some games can get a little rowdy and require room to play. Consider the amount of space you have available and whether furniture, or other items, will need to be moved before playing. A game that requires you to shift heavy objects first is less likely to get played as much in the home.

Classic games or modern games?

There are many popular games that you probably already know about – Monopoly, Candyland, Battleships and so on – and most people will already have these games on their shelves or on their to-buy list. In this roundup, we’ve mainly tried to suggest more recent board games with fun and unique premises so that both parent and child can learn a new game!

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The best board games for kids to buy in 2022

1. Dobble: The best overall board game for kids

Price: £10 | Buy now from Argos

Consistently popular among children, this observation game takes the top spot in our list. In this game, players have to find the identical symbols on the cards in front of them. Each card is unique, sharing only one symbol with any other card in the deck, and, making it even more challenging, the images can be different sizes from one card to the next.

This makes for a fast and exciting game, relying on sharp visual perception and quick reaction times. It also keeps all the players engaged throughout, so no-one gets bored. And there are five mini games – including “fill the well”, “the poisoned gift”, and “hot potato” – that keeps the game feeling fresh and fun, without having to rely on just one method of play.

The game comes with 55 cards in a convenient travel tin, as well as instructions for play. However, it’s not really suitable for children under three.

Key details – Players: 2-8; Age range: 6+; Estimated playing time: 15mins

2. Ticket to Ride: First Journey (Europe): The best strategy game for kids

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon

Designed for a younger age group than the original, First Journey still provides all the fun, fascination and strategy of Ticket to Ride. Players must work to complete six tickets, with the final Golden Ticket as the ultimate prize. To do this, players collect train cards and claim routes on the map, aiming to connect the cities on their tickets, but it offers both a simplified map and simplified rules compared to the original.

The game is a great way to introduce children to using strategy and critical thinking. It can also teach children about European geography, which you can then build upon outside of the game. It may just foster an interest in travel!

Ticket to Ride: First Journey includes one board map of European train routes, 72 train cards, 80 coloured trains, 32 tickets, four “East to West” bonus tickets and a rule sheet. This game is also not suitable for children under three.

Key details – Players: 2-4; Age range: 6+; Estimated playing time: 15-30mins

3. Hedbanz: The best question board game for kids

Price: £10 | Buy now from Argos

This fast and fun game sees the players acting as the board. Each player wears a headband with a card that they can’t see, they then have to ask the other players questions about what’s on their card, and the first to guess it wins the round. The winner of each round gets a scoring badge to put on their headband, and the first to three wins the game.

Playing this game, children can practise deductive reasoning when guessing whether their card is animal, food or household object. It’s easy to learn and fast-paced, so players remain engaged, and it’s good to play either with the whole family or just among kids.

The game comes with 68 clue cards, six headbands, six question cards, 24 chips and a timer. The hands-on nature of the game means it can also work as a travel game for long car rides.

Key details – Players: 2-6; Age range: 7+; Estimated playing time: 30mins

4. The Floor Is Lava!: The best physical board game for kids

Price: £12 | Buy now from Argos

Almost every kid has pretended that the floor is lava at some point. Now, the kids can play without climbing and jumping all over your furniture! Instead, this game uses foam tiles to act as safe surfaces to stand on.

To play, the designated player shouts, “the floor is lava!” and all the other players need to jump on a tile. The player then spins the spinner, randomly selecting a colour. All the other players must get to a tile of that colour, and the last one to safety has their previous tile removed. If a player can’t reach a tile, or touches the floor, they’re out.

Tiles with a question mark require players to perform an action from the deck of challenge cards without falling off their tile. The last player standing wins! The game includes 25 coloured foam tiles, 27 action cards and a spinner. It’s suitable for younger children to enjoy as well, making it fun for the whole family.

Key details – Players: 2-6; Age range: 5+; Estimated playing time: Not specified

5. Outfoxed!: The best cooperation board game for kids

Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon

For kids that would rather work together than compete, Outfoxed! is an excellent choice. Players need to team up to find out who stole Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie. Together they gather clues, use a special evidence scanner to eliminate potential suspects, and catch Mr Fox before he escapes.

The game helps children develop their powers of deduction with the support of those around them. They will also practise estimating probability and paying attention to detail, as well as learn the benefits of collaboration. Gameplay is pretty straightforward, with players starting in the middle and working towards clues. If their dice roll isn’t successful, the thief is one step closer to escaping.

The box includes 16 suspect cards, 16 thief cards, 12 clue markers, four detective pawns, three custom dice, one fox figure, one evidence scanner, the game board and a rule sheet. Some pieces can be a choking hazard for very young children, so it’s not suitable for children under three.

Key details – Players: 2-4; Age range: 5+; Estimated playing time: 20mins

6. Guess Who?: The best two-player board game for kids

Price: £15 | Buy now from Smyths Toys

We tried to stay away from well-known games, but we couldn’t resist this classic. Guess Who? is a simple yet entertaining game of questions between two players. Each player gets a board – red or blue – with a variety of character pictures. Then they both pick a mystery character, and race to guess the other player’s card first.

Are they a woman? Do they wear glasses? Is their hair brown? Flipping down the character pictures on the board that don’t match the description narrows down the answer. The first player to correctly guess the other’s character wins the game, but guess wrong and you lose!

The game helps children practise social engagement, as well as back-and-forth communication. It can help practise description skills, strategy, and logical thinking as well. But mostly, the game is fun! Each box includes two game boards, 48 face cards, 24 mystery cards, two scorekeepers, and instructions for play.

Key details – Players: 2; Age range: 6+; Estimated playing time: Not specified

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