There are numerous board games for children, and teaching kids to play board games can be an excellent way to promote healthy and friendly competition and good sportsmanship. Many games are also geared toward learning basic skills like reading, counting, using their memory, and recognizing colors. As well, playing board games is an excellent way to have quality time with family members.
Two standard board games for children who are young are Chutes and Ladders® (also called Snakes and Ladders®) and Candyland®. Candyland® teaches a child how to negotiate moving through a board, how to learn a few simple board game rules, and how to recognize colors. Chutes and Ladders® emphasizes counting and also introduces children to the luck element inherent in many advanced board games. It can take a long time to play, especially with numerous players, but it can emphasize learning to be patient, and learning how to take turns.
As children age, they may still enjoy these board games, but may want more challenging games to play. Variants of Parcheesi like Trouble® and Sorry® are excellent for continuing to focus on counting, luck and strategy. Other games that can generally be played by kids eight years and up include Monopoly® and Scrabble®.
Another of the popular board games for children is Clue® (also called Cluedo®). Kids work on deductive reasoning and taking notes. If one wishes to de-emphasize the fact that Clue® always begins with the death of “Mr. Body,” one can direct children to Clue Junior®.
Many kids' board games are actually less challenging versions of tried and true board games for adults. Along with Clue Junior®, one can play Scrabble Junior® and Monopoly Junior®. Trivia games geared toward children are also a popular choice. Many of these involve a DVD element, where children watch a short segment of a familiar film and guess something about it.
Junior board games for children are excellent for kids that are too young to play the more sophisticated version of a game. Alternately, parents can team up with younger children who are a little too young for certain games. For example, a parent could have her five-year-old son be on her team for a game of Monopoly® with older children. The child could be the official roller of the dice, and mover of the pieces, while the parent takes care of counting the money.
Certain two player games can be introduced fairly early. For example, some quite young children have a natural affinity for chess, even exhibiting some understanding of chess at the age of five to six. If chess is too challenging, checkers is an excellent way to teach kids how to think through the consequences of their actions.
Also, look for board games that are not mass marketed. Several excellent, less well known games are quite popular with children. These include Labyrinth Jr.®, Labyrinth®, Blokus®, and games like mancala or Chinese checkers.
Small “mom and pop” toy stores or Internet sites may offer a plethora of board games that one can’t usually find at larger stores. Many games are imports from other countries. In particular, Ravensburger, which makes excellent puzzles, also has numerous little known board games that can be a nice change from the usual American offerings.