Amp up indoor fun with these 12 best-selling board games for kids, families and adults
In our household, board games are the only way we can get the kids off their computers without making threats — especially during family vacations. In fact, other than meals, board games seem like the only way to get family members out of their own world and into this one.
So kudos to board games, which also have been shown to improve memory in adults. And for younger kids, it gives them what they most want: to be with their parents with no goal in mind beyond the joy of spending time together. For parents, they’re a great way to enjoy time without kids! So here are the 12 best-selling board games, from Candy Land to Would You Rather, that will satisfy multiple generations.
Board Games for Kids
Hasbro Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and HiHo Cherry-O
We all remember when we were children, and with these games you can share the childhood experience of your own little ones — and see how much smarter and more advanced they are than when you were their age (How did that happen?)
In board game industry lingo, these are known as roll-the-dice-move-the-mice games. Candy Land is a colorful way for a preschooler to experience the joy of game play. Chutes and Ladders, research suggests, may help with math skills, as can being the first to pick your cherry tree clean with Hi Ho! Cherry-O, a game that makes counting as easy as 1-2-3.
All three games are skill-builders and are as popular as Taylor Swift in our house. Buy now and save up to 25% on select board games at Discount School Supply.
This bug-building game is a giggle fest for the young kids. Do you remember it? Players spin the spinner and hope that it lands on a Cootie bug part that they need for their bug. Build your bug piece by piece, and the first one to create a complete bug wins. It includes colorful and fun plastic bug bodies, heads, and other parts for creating crazy critters. We loved watching our kids get creative while mixing and matching the pieces to make their bugs. There was hardly any crying! The game requires no reading so it’s great for preschoolers (and lazy frat kids at a vape party).
See all board game deals at Hasbro at Amazon.
JH5 My First Bakery Board Game
My First Bakery is a great way to develop problem solving skills with tasty treats — but without the calories and sugar rush of real food! The idea is for the kids to team-build, to work together to get the bakeries ready for the day before they open. I tell my kids that if they don’t make the deadline it’ll affect their funding!
Specifically, the kids help each other to find and memorize all the matching pairs of treats they’ll need before the time runs out. Made with high-quality game pieces means the My First Bakery can be played continuously as your child grows. Buy now at Amazon.
Hasbro Hungry Hungry Hippos — Dino Edition
This a fun and prehistoric twist on classic marble chomping game Hungry Hungry Hippos. The Dino Edition preschool game features four adorable (and hungry) dinosaurs. My niece asked me what kind of dinosaurs they are and I didn’t know, so I said triceratops — you know, the ones with the shield on their back. Whatever they’re called, these dinosaurs are in a race to gobble up the most marbles, obviously, so kids can marvel as their dinos chomp down the plastic marbles. At our home we pretended they were watermelons.
Once your little ones master the game, up the challenge by trying to eat up the pink berry marbles. Beware: the little ones might attempt to duplicate this feeding frenzy at their next meal.
See all board game deals at Hasbro at Amazon.
Hasbro Monopoly Junior
There’s a part of me that’s less than excited about pre-schoolers getting familiar with real estate, but this version of Monopoly is different: Its double-sided gameboard offers two levels of play, so families can decide which level is most appropriate. The Level 1 game, recommended for ages 4-5, helps kids practice matching and counting, as they count spaces, match pictures, and, ahem, buy properties. The player with the most properties wins.
When the kiddies have demonstrated a modicum of real estate skills they can flip over the board for the more advanced Level 2 game, recommended for ages 6 and up. This level focuses on reading and simple math. Players can buy properties and collect rent. I forbid harassing tenants! Both games include six cute tokens: Penguin, Car, Ducky, Scottie, Hazel, and Little T-Rex. Good for preschool playdates.
See all board game deals at Hasbro at Amazon.
Board Games for the Family
Education Outdoors Camp Board Game
Ever wonder what a group of hawks is called? With Education Outdoors Camp board game, both children and adults can learn fun facts about the great outdoors. The game is designed to grow with the player, starting at level one questions, which are primarily identification of animals. As the players advance in age and their knowledge about the outdoors, they grow into the higher level questions, maxing out at level four. So, boomers, millennials, Xers, zoomers can play against each other to get to camp. Oh, and a group of hawks is called…a cast!
Hasbro Clue Scooby-Doo Edition
No one really need ask “Scooby-Doo where are you?” He’s here, in a Clue version, as everyone’s favorite mystery crime dog. Gather the family and solve the mystery in Clue: Scooby-Doo 50th Anniversary Edition (hard to believe Scooby is 50 — that’s like 350 years-old in dog years!). Here’s the narrative: Monsters are abducting people at Mrs. White’s haunted mansion and it’s up to Scooby-Doo and Shaggy and the gang to discover who was abducted, where the abduction took place and what item the monster left behind.
Discover more of your beloved classic character, TV show and iconic movie board games at F.Y.E.
Underdog Games: Trekking The National Parks Board Game
TREKKING The National Parks is a wildly popular game (30,000 sold in the last month) and is great if you have kids and enjoy visiting national parks. It’s a well-designed game where strategy must change and adapt to game flow. It’s also quick and easy to learn — there are four basic moves and three governing rules of play. Collect cards that allow you to move around the United States and claim parks or be the first to visit parks, which earns you victory points.
Thankfully, it’s not solely about national parks — because the actual parks don’t determine game direction or outcome. As a family, we’re not national park goers, but you can learn the park names, where they are, and a few basic facts about each one.
If you can get past the feeling of your own parental underachievement when you learn this game was created by a husband and wife team that traveled to every national park in the country and then worked with their son to create it, this is a great game for the kids.
Justin & Dave’s Awesome “Would You Rather” Board Game
This one’s kinda zany. A board game of deranged dilemmas and difficult choices that ask you and your friends bizarre, imaginative, hilarious and occasionally disgusting questions everyone must answer in order to win the game. Would You Rather is packed with over 800 dilemmas. The trick is to pick how others would answer. For example: “Would you rather have seven samurai sworn to protect you, or 500 hamsters?” — and you guess what others would choose.
Full disclosure: My five-year-old had been asking me “would you rather” questions for a year until I realized it was a board game.
Catan Trade Build Settle
In this board game, you’re a settler on the remote isle of Catan. By rolling the dice you collect resources like ore, brick, lumber, grain, and wool. You can trade those resources to build roads, settlements, and cities to earn victory points. The real fun happens when you outmaneuver your opponents. One Amazon reviewer wrote that it’s a subtle way to teach lessons to kids (“You can do that if you want to, but they’ll remember that next turn…”).
Caveat: We were surprised and frankly upset at our nine-year old’s vindictive tendencies, but were impressed with how he managed his resources. It reminded us that board games are a great way to learn about our kids. Bottom line: This is easy for everyone to learn for hours of entertainment.
Board Games for Adults
Trivial Pursuit: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Coming in 2024: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Trivial Pursuit — a great game for when it’s not so sunny in New York. Tap your knowledge of TV’s longest running live-action comedy series to outwit your fellow know-it-alls in six categories: Episodes, Quotes, About the Gang, Friends and Enemies, What Happens at Paddy’s… and Schemes and Plans. Includes 600 questions, die, and instructions all in a portable storage wedge for fun on the go. Danny De Vito doll not included!
Pre-order these 2024 pre-order board games from ENTERTAINMENT EARTH.
Evan & Josh’s Very Special Game Company’s Ransom Notes
Best-seller Ransom Notes is a word magnet game that prompts terribly constructed and very funny sentences. Players use a limited pool of word magnets to respond to prompts like “Tell someone you’ve clogged their toilet at a party,” “Describe a use for a wooden spoon,” “Who is Santa Claus?,” or “Describe a dentist’s job.” Just take a few handfuls of word magnets, flip over a prompt card, and start playing — no long instructions to explain. Great for limited-attention-span guests!
80,000+ customers bought this game in the last month, but here are our suggestions:
1. Go through the prompt cards before playing — some cards are not for young people or family friendly. It says 15+ and that’s about right.
2. Add a time limit (use a sand timer) or you’ll be waiting for that one person to finish forever, and we mean forever.
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