Let's be honest, playing a board game with a preschooler or kindergartner can quickly go south. If the game is too easy, they're on to the next thing; if it's too hard, they get frustrated and tune out. And even if they do end up liking the game, the premise of it might be so mundane that you start gritting your teeth at the mere mention of it. But the best board games for 5-year-olds are fun for everyone, and can transform a dull moment into a memorable one.
Plus, options abound these days. No longer do you have to choose from predictable games like Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Today, there's an amazing array of board games designed for kids ages 5 and up that have imaginative premises and strategic gameplay. From cooperative games, where you need to work together to win, to educational games that sneakily teach a child things like reading or programming, the games in this roundup are perfect for playing with a little one — whether it's just the two of you or the whole family.
Plus, some of the games below have won impressive awards, and all of them are highly rated on Amazon. Best yet, they all cost under $25.
1. A Cooperative Board Game That's All About Team Work
With Hoot Owl Hoot!, a super fun, cooperative game from Peaceable Kingdom, you don't have to worry about having any sore losers on your hands. An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award winner, this game was designed for two to four players, ages 4 and up, and the name of the game here is team work. The goal is to work together to get the owls back to their nest before the sun comes. Since there are two levels of play, it's a game that can grow with a child. Plus, there's some strategy involved, so older children and adults will enjoy it too. It's a quick game (takes about 15 minutes) and one that has massive re-playability.
What parents are saying: "This game is great. It is one that I enjoy playing as a parent, too. The game encourages players to work together to accomplish the goal of getting all the owls to the nest in time. I like that aspect because so often in games everyone is playing only for himself. It changes the focus from "ME" to "US." I highly recommend.I bought this for my 4-year-old but my 11-year-old enjoyed it immensely too as it is not so baby-ish."
2. An Interactive Game That's Perfect For The Whole Family
If you're looking for a game that can be played on family game night, this is it. Charades for Kids is as lively as regular Charades, but customized for kid's who can't read or are just learning to. The cards contain three levels of clues, and include a pictured clue, so younger players can still act it out. The game is designed for three or more players, ages 4 and up, and is fast-paced (there's a timer included to keep things moving). With a 4.6-star rating on Amazon, and more than 300 reviews, it's easy to see why this is many families go-to game for family gatherings or vacations.
What parents are saying: "We have 5 kids (4 under 12 yo) and thought this would be a fun game to have on hand. Little did we know that they'd love it so much. The shouting and laughter coming from the room when they play is hilarious. They love playing and are always asking the adults to join in too. One heck of a good time for all involved!!!"
3. An Educational Board Game That Was The Most-Backed Game In Kickstarter History
Robot Turtle was the most-backed game in Kickstarter history, and won a Teachers' Pick Award from Scholastic Instructor Magazine. It's easy to see why: it sneakily teaches basic programming skills — from coding to functions — to preschoolers! Plus, it makes silly turtle sounds that a 5-year-old will love. The game is designed for two to five players, ages 3 and up, and includes a series of "unlockables" designed to gradually increase the complexity of the game. There's a clear instructional manual included, but it is one that you'll have to spend some time reading before launching into gameplay. However, after the initial "set up," you and your child will both be hooked from the start.
What parents are saying: "Even without the added coding practice, this is a great game. It lets the parent have fun and remain engaged without the pesky need to "let the kid win" and it lets the child(ren) enjoy the challenge while cracking up at all the silly sounds the parent makes. The design is fun and non-gendered, with cute laser-carrying turtles following flowers to find jewels. There are several levels of difficulty, too, so the game grows with the child. Incredibly well-designed and so much fun!"
4. A BINGO-Like Word Game That Stealthily Teaches Reading Skills
Zingo Sight Words is not only a fun, fast-paced game that both you and a 5-year-old will love, it's also teaches reading skills on the sly. Made for pre-K to 2nd graders, this BINGO-stye game teaches recognition of essential words and helps with reading skills. In fact, the words in the game were selected by leading educators as the most fundamental ones for reading development. The game won an Oppenheim Gold Award in 2002, and was a 2013 Toy of the Year Finalist. Anywhere from two to six players can play at once. With a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, and more than a thousand reviews, it's easy to see why adding this game to your collection is a no-brainer.
What parents are saying: "This game has really helped my 5yo be enthusiastic about adding and counting. And it’s fun. I actually don’t mind playing this 8 times in a row 🤨 Can’t ask for much more."
5. A Strategic Board Game That's Fun For Kids & Good For The Planet
For lighthearted but strategic play, you can't go wrong with Race to the Treasure!, another great, cooperative board game from Peaceable Kingdom. It's designed for two to four players, ages 5 and up, and gameplay takes about 20 minutes. The goal is to make a path and collect keys to open treasure, all before the Ogre can get to it. Players work together to build the path, so if you win, it's truly a team effort. What's more, this game is 100 percent green. It's printed with soy-based inks on FSC paper and includes only recycled plastics. With a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, and more than 680 reviews, this is an all-around feel-good game.
What parents are saying: "My family loves this game and it's great for collaboration. I hated that my 5 year old was getting so competitive over board games where one player wins and the others lose. We love to play games as a family but really wanted to teach her the value of working as a team towards a common goal before she started kindergarten. ... I ordered this game and a few others that had some good reviews and this one quickly became a family favorite. I love how you can choose where to place the pieces in order to create a new challenge every time."
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