Board games are always a fun way to get everyone together to laugh and play. As kids transition from playing games like Candy Land and Hi, Ho, Cherry-O it can be difficult to find games that are challenging and fun for them to play. I’ve put together this list of 6 board games for older kids that are kid-tested and Nanny approved.
Best Board Games for Older Kids
Settlers of Catan
I first started playing Settlers of Catan when I was in college with friends on Friday nights. Recently, I brought my game to work and taught the kids how to play. In the course of 2 days, we played 4 different times. It’s safe to say they love it.
Each player builds settlements, cities, and roads to earn victory points. The game has a lot of different elements and can take a bit to learn. I recommend playing this with other adults first, then teaching it to the kids. This is a strategy game that is fun for kids that tend to enjoy puzzle games.
The standard game is for 3-4 players. If you want to play with more you’ll have to buy the expansion pack which allows 5-6 people to play the game.
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Ticket to Ride
This is one of the best board games for older kids I’ve ever played. Not only is it fast-moving, but it helps kids learn a little bit of geography as the same time.
In Ticket to Ride players collect cards that match train routes in order to put their game pieces there to claim the route. The more routes you complete the more points you get.
Pin it for Later
Don’t worry no kittens will be harmed when you play this game. You will, however, be laughing and trying to avoid getting out. Exploding Kittens was funded via Kickstarter and has been a huge success.
This quick-moving card game is like UNO, but with kittens that happen to explode and can get you out of the game if you can’t defuse the bomb. The cards are hilarious with bikini cats, taco cats, and potato cats. And they’ve recently made an adults-only version of Exploding Kittens that is definitely NOT family friendly, but super fun!
You can’t get a more simple game than Spot It! This game is a blast for kids who have quick reaction times.
A deck of circular cards has photos on them, and while there are endless combinations of photos each card has a photo in common with every other card. Players have to find the photo the cards have in common and be the first to say it.
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Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples is a tried and true classic and while Apples to Apples Jr. is a great place for younger children to start after a while the fun runs out as the kids learn more about the world. This perfect board game for older kids will have them laughing non-stop.
While depending on the age and grade your children are in they might not know everything in the Apples to Apples box it makes for a great learning opportunity. When the Nanny kids and I play this game if they don’t know the word or subject we talk about it, looking it up, and if they understand it gets added to the pile of cards we use. If they don’t get it we set it aside. I’ve gone through the box a couple of times and adding things back in I know they understand now.
Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor
While escape rooms are awesome and can be a special treat, paying $50 a person just doesn’t work for most families. In stead try an escape room at home with Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor
This super fun game has the entire family working together to solve puzzles and go through a storyline full of mystery. The only downside of this game is you can only play it once as once you solve it, you know all the answers. I’d recommend going in on this game with a couple of different families and passing it from one to the next. That way everyone has fun and saves some money.