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Best Board Games for 5-Year-Olds of 2021

Updated
Want board games you won’t mind playing with your 5-year-old? 

Are you wondering if your 5-year-old is old enough to play board games? Or if you are curious as to what the benefits of board games might be, or how to choose the best board games for 5-year-olds, you’ve come to the right place.

I asked 5-year-olds which board games they like to play and why they like to play them. Then I spoke with families about their board game experiences and picked the brains of child development experts and board games aficionados. Finally, I added a big helping of personal experience to create a list of the 20 best board games for this age.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the HABA Rhino Hero A Heroic Stacking Card Game for Ages 5 and Up - Triple Award...
Best Stacking Board Game
Rhino Hero
  • Short game time
  • Easy to learn
  • Strategy game
Product Image of the GoTrovo Treasure Hunt Game Fun Scavenger Hunt Board Game for Kids Indoors and...
Best Treasure Hunt Game
GoTrovo Treasure Hunt
  • Fun and interactive
  • Develops patience & memory
  • Award-winning
Product Image of the Ticket to Ride First Journey Board Game | Board Game for Kids | Family Board...
Best Map-Based Board Game
Ticket to Ride First Journey
  • Educational game
  • Fun & entertaining
  • Combines strategy & luck
Product Image of the HABA Dragon's Breath - 2018 Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children's Game of The Year)...
Best Dexterity Board Game
Dragon's Breath
  • Beautifully design
  • Combo of skill & luck
  • Multiple play modes
Product Image of the Gamewright Outfoxed! A Cooperative Whodunit Board Game for Kids 5+,...
Best Cooperative Board Game
Outfoxed!
  • Encourages collaboration
  • Develops reasoning skills
  • Can be played solo
Product Image of the Bugs in the Kitchen - Children's Board Game, Standard
Best Action Board Game
Bugs in the Kitchen
  • Fast-paced
  • Simple to learn
  • Add extra bugs for more fun
Product Image of the Mathemagical World - Addition & Subtraction Math Board Game for Kids, Ages 5+...
Best Multiplayer Board Game
Mathemagical World
  • Can be played without adults
  • Younger siblings can play
  • Can be adapted for teams
Product Image of the Enchanted Forest - Children's Game
Best Memory Board Game
Enchanted Forest
  • Strengthens memory
  • Different experience every round
  • No reading required
Product Image of the Blokus Game [Amazon Exclusive]
Best Strategy Board Game
Blokus
  • Straightforward gameplay
  • Few rules
  • Highly engaging
Product Image of the The Floor is Lava - Interactive Game for Kids and Adults - Promotes Physical...
Best Physical Activity Board Game
The Floor Is Lava
  • Physical & dynamic
  • Good party game
  • Can be played outdoors

Can 5-Year-Olds Play Board Games?

Yes, 5-year-olds can play age-appropriate board games. Games geared toward this age group usually have fewer rules, are less complicated, and have a shorter playtime than games for older children and adults.

Benefits of Board Games for 5-Year-Olds

Play board games with a 5-year-old, and you’ll be:

  • Boosting communication skills: You and your child will discuss the rules and gameplay, and speak with each other during and after the games. They’ll also develop listening skills and vocabulary (1).
  • Enhancing social skills: Playing board games teaches a child to take turns, wait patiently, lose gracefully, and have empathy for the feelings of others.
  • Developing focus: Playing board games helps your child sit still, focus, and pay attention to what is happening — an essential skill for school.
  • Strengthening relationships: Playing board games not only provides an activity you can share right now but also builds memories you can share in the future.

How to Choose the Best Board Games for 5-Year-Olds

With so many options, how do you choose an appropriate board game for a 5-year-old?

Child’s Preferences

Think about the things your child enjoys and find a board game that aligns with those interests. You can do this by choosing a game related to their interests, such as animals or fairy tales.

Also, consider how your child likes to play. Are they extremely active? If so, a game with a physical element and/or a short playtime might be best.

Alternatively, if you have a quiet child, something more subdued will be more appropriate.

Number of Players

The recommended number of players is an element often overlooked when choosing a board game for 5-year-olds.

If the number of players you have will vary, look for games that can be played with a flexible number of players and avoid those that only work with three, four, or any other number of specific participants.

Educational Benefits

While not every game has to be an academic learning experience, an educational element can be a big benefit of playtime. This is especially true if you have a child who avoids anything that looks like learning.

Related Reading
Five year olds playing with educational toysThe Best Educational Toys for 5-Year-Olds (That They’ll Love)

Budget

If you’re not sure how your child will respond to board games, choose sets at the lower end of the price range. That way, if board games aren’t their “thing,” you won’t be wasting money.

If it turns out they do enjoy board games, then it is worth investing a bit more for a high-quality game that will grow with your child.

Format

Games may have flat boards or be 3D games with multi-layers or building elements. Some don’t have a traditional board but have cards instead — an excellent option for travel or when space is at a premium.

You can also find board games with virtual versions or that have smart or online elements to enhance gameplay. If you’re trying to limit your child’s screen time, then skip the electronic version in favor of an old-fashioned board game.


The Best Board Games for 5-Year-Olds of 2021

When curating this list of games, I’ve considered the advice above and thought about the board games my kids have loved and loathed. Plus, I picked the brain of my oldest daughter who, rather conveniently for me, runs a board game store and has lots of knowledge and experience.

1. Rhino Hero

Best Stacking Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

In Rhino Hero, players take turns to place walls and lay roof cards to build a collaborative tower. At specific, random points, you help the rhino climb the tower without demolishing it.

The winner is the first to use all of their cards, or if the tower tumbles, you all win. Or lose.

Some roof cards have additional symbols to indicate a change of play direction or that the next player skips a turn. This adds an element of strategy which keeps it interesting.

Also, for 5-year-olds, Rhino Hero Super Battle has more cards, additional animal heroes, and evil monkeys to contend with. This is an excellent choice for an upgrade if you enjoy the basic game.

Pros

  • Short game time.
  • Easy to learn.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Cards can become bent.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 years and older
Number of players 2 to 5
Game length 5 to 15 minutes
Format 3D, building

2. GoTrovo The Family Treasure Hunt Game

Best Treasure Hunt Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

You and your kids can never go wrong with this award-winning board game as it is interactive and encourages great scavenger hunt adventure.

Boredom has no space in your house as you can be sure that no two trails are ever the same.

Now you can be sure that they can still have fun without the use of gadgets which may strain their eye.

Pros

  • Fun and interactive.
  • Develops patience & memory.
  • Award-winning.

Cons

  • Some people complained that the map cannot be flattened but this is a minor issue and can be solved by using heavy books.

Additional Specs

Age Range 3 years and older
Number of players 1 to 4
Game length 30 to 60 minutes
Format Physical activity, strategy

3. Ticket to Ride First Journey

Best Map-Based Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

This version of Ticket to Ride has a map that includes the U.S. and a sliver of Southern Canada.

Players have “tickets” for different cities and connect them on the map by placing their trains and claiming the routes.

Kids learn the basics of U.S. geography, which you can expand on outside the game. Meanwhile, the cartoon graphics and cute plastic trains are appealing to kids, but not so childlike that they’ll be off-putting for the target age-range.

There’s another children’s version with the same gameplay but a map of Europe and multiple adult versions to move to as your kids grow.

Pros

  • Educational.
  • Entertaining.
  • Combines strategy and luck.

Cons

  • Less entertaining for older family members.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 12 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 15 to 30 minutes
Format Chance, strategy, planning

4. Dragon's Breath

Best Dexterity Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

To play Dragon’s Breath, players take turns to remove rings from the ice column, releasing gems. Gems that fall in certain areas are taken out of play, and the remaining gems are divided among players according to color. The player with the most gems after the last ring is removed wins.

This sounds overly simple, but there are enough variables to make it fun and exciting.

As a bonus, the game is played on a platform on the box, and gems go into the box as you play. That makes clean-up a cinch.

Pros

  • Beautifully made.
  • Combo of skill and luck.
  • Multiple play modes.

Cons

  • Small gems, which makes them easier to lose.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 9 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 15 to 20 minutes
Format 3D

5. Outfoxed!

Best Cooperative Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Players start in the center of the board and travel the grid in any direction. Simultaneously, the fox begins at one end and moves along the path through the middle. A throw of the dice determines whether the player or the fox moves.

Land on a clue space and you can put a token into the “decoder” and reveal the clue. Clues are shared among all players, and you work together to solve the mystery before the fox makes it across the board.

Pros

  • Encourages collaboration.
  • Develops reasoning skills.
  • Can be played solo.

Cons

  • Off-putting instructions.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 10 years
Number of players 1 to 4
Game length 10 to 20 minutes
Format Collaborative, deduction

6. Bugs in the Kitchen

Best Action Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Bugs in the Kitchen is played within the box. At each end, there are two “bug traps.” Barriers are set into the board, and these barriers, which are shaped like knives and forks, can be turned in different directions.

To begin, you release the robotic HexBug. The bug runs around the maze, and on your turn, you throw the dice to discover whether to turn a knife or fork. The aim of the game is to turn the utensils and guide the bug into one of the traps.

The owner of the trap receives a bug token, and the first to five bugs wins.

Pros

  • Fast-paced.
  • Simple to learn.
  • Add extra bugs for more fun.

Cons

  • Too intense for some younger kids.
  • Can become frenetic.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 12 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 15 to 20 minutes
Format Fast response

7. Mind Inventions Mathemagical World

Best Multiplayer Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

This board game is not only fun to play with but it’s educational.

Honing mathematical skills particularly basic addition and subtraction can be achieved at a younger age by playing this board game. I know moms can just hand a mobile phone or tablet to their toddlers and let them explore the world of numbers. But wouldn’t it be better for them to have a hands-on practical learning experience thru playing board games without straining their eye?

Pros

  • Can be played without adults.
  • Younger siblings can play.
  • Can be adapted for teams.

Cons

  • Limited to addition and subtraction.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 years and older
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 20 to 30 minutes
Format Basic mathematics, around the board

8. Enchanted Forest

Best Memory Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

All players begin in the “village” area at one end of the board. Each of the 13 trees has a picture on the base and is placed next to the 13 blue squares. If you land on a blue square, peek under the tree next to it and remember which picture is where.

At the other end of the board is the king’s castle area, where the treasure cards sit. A card is turned over to reveal a treasure. If you can remember which tree you saw the treasure under, race to the castle and be the first to reveal its location.

Pros

  • Strengthens memory.
  • Different every time.
  • No reading required.

Cons

  • Longer playtime.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 12 years
Number of players 2 to 6
Game length 30 to 60 minutes
Format Around the board, memory

9. Blokus

Best Strategy Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Blokus is a square grid onto which shaped pieces are placed. Each player gets the same 21 pieces, all of which are between one and five squares in different configurations.

Players take turns to place one piece on the board at a time. You begin in your corner and work outwards. Pieces must touch another of the same color, but they can only touch at the corner.

The game ends when someone has laid all of their pieces or when no more pieces can be laid. The winner is the first to lay all their pieces or the one with the fewest squares left.

It sounds overly simple, but it keeps the adults in our house playing for hours.

Pros

  • Straightforward gameplay.
  • Few rules.
  • Highly engaging.

Cons

  • Requires focus.
  • Works best with four players

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 years to adult
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 20 to 30 minutes
Format Tile laying, strategy

10. The Floor Is Lava

Best Physical Activity Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Stepping “stones” of different colors are scattered across the floor. One player spins the arrow to choose a color, and players must jump onto a tile of that color. The spinner determines who was last to land on a tile and removes the stepping stone from which they jumped.

If you can’t find a stone of the correct color to jump to, or if you touch the ground between the stones, you’re out. The last player in the game wins.

Some stepping stones have actions on them, such as “dance like a ballerina.” If you land on one of these tiles, you must perform the action, but this element can be left out if you prefer.

Pros

  • Physical.
  • Good party game.
  • Can be played outside.

Cons

  • Needs plenty of room.
  • Eliminated kids get bored.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 10 years
Number of players 2 to 6
Game length 10 to 45 minutes
Format Physical activity, elimination

11. Wildcraft!

Best Nature-Based Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Wildcraft is a collaborative game in which you climb a mountain by moving around the board. On the way, players must collect 26 edible and medicinal plant cards to cure 31 ailments. Then they must return to grandma’s house before nightfall.

To ensure everyone has an objective and feels included, each player also has to collect two huckleberries while at the top of the mountain.

There’s no need for prior knowledge, and everything you need to know is within the game. Kids can also take the cards out and about and use them to identify the plants they find.

Pros

  • 100 percent recycled materials and vegetable inks.
  • Printable downloads available.
  • Learning resource.

Cons

  • Not everyone’s ideal subject matter.
  • Long play time.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 years and older
Number of players 1 to 4
Game length 45 to 60 minutes
Format Collaborative, collection

12. Scrabble Junior

Best Spelling Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

The newest incarnation of Scrabble Junior is two word games in one.

On the “easy” side of the board, there’s a grid with pre-printed words and a numbered pathway around the outside. Players take letter tiles in the same way as traditional Scrabble. Instead of making words, they match their tiles to letters in a word on the board.

You earn points for different letters and completing a word. You move your figure around the outer pathway, and first to the finish wins.

On the reverse side, you play Scrabble in the traditional way, but without the premium squares such as double letter scores.

Pros

  • No need to spell.
  • Aids letter recognition.
  • Two games in one.

Cons

  • No tile stands.
  • Cardboard letter tiles.

Additional Specs

Age Range 4 years and older
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 20 to 45 minutes
Format Spelling, race around the board.

13. Brain Freeze

Best Two-Player Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Brain Freeze consists of two draw-on/wipe-off game boards. Each board has two pieces, which clip together easily to form an L-shape. The larger section has a 10×10 grid with a picture of a frozen treat printed in each square.

First, players choose a target square and mark the color, picture, and square location on their board’s vertical section. They then take turns to ask each other questions to work out the treat, the color, and the location the other player has chosen.

Think of it as a simple Guess Who meets Battleship, with ice-creams and lollipops.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • No pieces to lose.
  • Promotes logical thinking.

Cons

  • Challenging for “younger 5-year-olds.”
  • Takes time to learn logical thinking processes.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 years and older
Number of players 2
Game length 10 to 20 minutes
Format Deduction, logic

14. Gamewright Hisss

Best Card-Based Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

The aim of the game is to create snakes that are as long as possible. Every snake must have a head, a tail, and at least one body section, and the longer you can make your snake, the better.

Players take a card, turn it over, and try to match it to a card already laid to lengthen or complete a snake. If you can’t match your card, it’s placed on the table, and another snake is started.

If you complete a snake, you take the cards. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

Pros

  • Portable.
  • Easy to learn.
  • No set-up.

Cons

  • Quickly outgrown.

Additional Specs

Age Range 4 to 10 years
Number of players 2 to 5
Game length 15 minutes
Format Chance, strategy, card laying

15. Clue Junior

Best Deduction Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Two different Clue Junior sets are available — The Case of the Broken Toy and The Case of the Missing Cake. Rules and gameplay are the same for both — the only difference is the mystery you’re solving.

Players must discover the “who,” “what,” and “when” of the mystery by moving around the board to view picture clues. Clue cards are laid face-down on the board, and when you view a clue, you mark it off on your pre-printed detective pad.

When you have eliminated all but one possibility for who, what, and when you can solve the mystery. Players can move any character, making it easy to play with any number, but puzzle-solving is not collaborative.

Pros

  • Teaches deductive reasoning.
  • A non-violent mystery.
  • It can be played with only two people or up to six.

Cons

  • Instructions are unclear.
  • Games can take a long time.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 12 years
Number of players 2 to 6
Game length 30 minutes
Format Deductive, race to the solution

16. The Game of Life Junior

Best Family Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

The aim of the game is to move around the board, visiting locations such as the zoo or water park.

The in-board spinner tells you how many spaces to move. Land on an attraction and you pay an entry fee. Land on a yellow square and you take an action card and perform the action on the card, such as “act like a lion.”

If your child can’t read, you need at least three players for a game, or the charades part doesn’t work. You receive a star for each attraction you visit, and for every action, the other players correctly guess. The first player to ten stars wins.

Pros

  • Good for active kids.
  • Bearable for adults.
  • Easy to learn how to play.

Cons

  • Requires basic reading.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 12 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 15 to 30 minutes
Format Race to the finish, charades

17. Sums In Space

Best Counting Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

In Sums In Space, players race around the board, move past the black hole, escape the planet, and get back home. They do this by solving single-digit addition and subtraction equations.

Players roll the three dice and get two numbers between 0 and 9 and either an addition or subtraction sign. They arrange the die to form an equation, solve the equation, and move the squares’ resulting number on the board. First, one to the end wins.

When a player rolls a zero in collaborative mode, the rocket is moved one square down the countdown ladder. If everyone gets to the end before the rocket reaches zero, everyone wins. If the rocket reaches zero, the game is over.

Pros

  • Develops basic math.
  • Collaborative or competitive.
  • A good pick for kids who love space.

Cons

  • Quickly outgrown.
  • Feels basic.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 7 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 30 to 60 minutes
Format Race to the finish, against the clock, math

18. Monopoly Junior

Best Budget Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

Monopoly Junior is similar to the adult version but has 24 squares on the board instead of 40. Houses, hotels, Community Chest, utilities, railroads, and tax squares are all eliminated, and rather than specific places, the properties are things like the zoo and boardwalk.

Players move around the board buying properties, avoiding jail, and picking up Chance cards. If you land on a property owned by another player, you pay rent.

Players who cannot pay their bills are eliminated. The remaining players sell their properties back to the bank, count their money, and the player with the most cash wins.

Pros

  • Excellent value.
  • Teaches math skills.
  • Fun for adults.

Cons

  • The only money denomination is $1 bills, which limits the math lessons.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 12 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 45 minutes
Format Buy and sell, elimination

19. Operation

Best Electronic Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

The traditional Operation from your childhood is alive and well, slightly updated for kids of today.

Cavity Sam lays on his hospital bed, and budding doctors must use a steady hand to remove those pesky plastic pieces from his body. If the attached plastic-coated metal tweezers touch his body, then, bbbzzzzzzzz, your turn is over.

The only difference between the traditional version and this updated one is that the cards are of better quality and have modern graphics and colors.

Operation: Pet Scan mixes things up a little by having a maze to move the game pieces through, and special theme editions are also available, including Operation Star Wars The Mandalorian Edition, Operation Disney-Pixar Finding Dory, and Operation Star Wars Chewbacca Edition.

Pros

  • Improves fine motor skills.
  • Can be played solo.
  • It’s a fun game for kids.

Cons

  • Unrealistic body parts.
  • Small pieces.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 years and older
Number of players 1 or more
Game length 10 minutes
Format Steady hand, piece removal

20. Risk Junior

Best Determined By Chance Board Game for 5-Year-Olds

In Risk Junior, players move their pirate ships around the map to find treasure and take control of the islands.

Unlike regular Risk, which island is attacked and who wins is determined by a roll of the dice. It’s entirely down to chance. While this takes the strategy element out of the game, it does prevent anyone from being ganged up on by other players.

The chance element means the game can be over in as little as ten minutes but can run to well past an hour, which becomes grueling and rather dull.

Pros

  • Fun pirate theme.
  • Quirky counters.
  • It can be played with only two players.

Cons

  • Inconsistent game length.
  • Incorrect compass on the board.
  • Can become tedious.

Additional Specs

Age Range 5 to 10 years
Number of players 2 to 4
Game length 15 to 60 minutes
Game type Travel around the board

5-year-old Board Game Comparison Chart

Product Best Age Range No of players Game length Format
Rhino Hero Stacking Game 5 years & older 2 to 5 5 to 15 min 3D, building
GoTrovo Treasure Hunt Treasure Hunt 5 years & older 1 to 4 30 to 60 min Physical activity, strategy
Ticket to Ride First Journey Map-Based 5 to 12 years 2 to 4 15 to 30 min Chance, strategy, planning
Dragon’s Breath Dexterity Game 5 to 9 years 2 to 4 15 to 20 min 3D
Outfoxed! Cooperative Game 5 to 10 years 1 to 4 10 to 20 min Collaborative, deduction
Bugs in the Kitchen Action Game 5 to 12 years 2 to 4 15 to 20 min Fast response
Mathemagical World Multiplayer 5 years & older 2 to 4 20 to 30 min Basic mathematics, around the board
Enchanted Forest Memory Game 5 to 12 years 2 to 6 30 to 60 min Around the board, memory
Blokus Strategy Game 5 years to adult 2 to 4 20 to 30 min Tile laying, strategy
The Floor Is Lava Physical Activity 5 to 10 years 2 to 6 10 to 45 min Physical activity, elimination
Wildcraft! Nature-Based 5 years & older 1 to 4 45 to 60 min Collaborative, collection
Scrabble Junior Spelling Game 4 years & older 2 to 4 20 to 45 min Spelling, race around the board.
Brain Freeze Two-Player 5 years & older 2 10 to 20 min Deduction, logic
Gamewright Hisss Card-Based 4 to 10 years 2 to 5 15 min Chance, strategy, card laying
Clue Junior Deduction Game 5 to 12 years 2 to 6 30 min Deductive, race to the solution
The Game of Life Junior Family Game 5 to 12 years 2 to 4 15 to 30 min Race to the finish, charades
Sums In Space Counting Game 5 to 7 years 2 to 4 30 to 60 min Race to the finish, against the clock, math
Monopoly Junior Budget Pick 5 to 12 years 2 to 4 45 min Buy and sell, elimination
Operation Electronic Game 5 years & older 1 or more 10 min
Steady hand, piece removal
Risk Junior Determined By Chance 5 to 10 years 2 to 4 15 to 60 min
Travel around the board

Take The Bored Out Of Board Games

Some people have fond memories of playing board games, while others only remember being bored or put off by overly competitive adults. This is a shame because board games are a fabulous way to spend time with each other, learn a thing or two, and have fun.

To create this list of the best board games for 5-year-olds, we tried to find games to suit a range of interests, game styles, and family dynamics. Hopefully, there’s something on the list to suit your 5-year-old and those who play board games with them.

Headshot of Patricia Barnes

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.

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