Board games are not just about rolling dice and moving pieces; they’re immersive experiences that captivate young minds, fostering social skills, critical thinking, and a love for learning. In this list, we present the 30 best board games for kids ages 8 and above—a treasure trove of entertainment that transcends mere playtime. Not only will the kids have a blast but so will the adults. That’s a win-win!


Enjoy Family Board Games

Whether you’re embarking on a family game night or seeking educational gems, these board games promise hours of fun and valuable developmental experiences for 8 year olds and older. Join us on a journey where every roll of the dice and every strategic move unfolds a world of possibilities!

We have weekly game nights at our house and invite friends. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy many of the benefits listed below as well as some much needed screen-free time. Here are many of our favorites.

Playing board games offers a range of benefits for kids, contributing to their social and academic development in meaningful ways. Here are some key advantages:

Benefits of Playing Board Games

Wow, playing a board game is a fantastic opportunity to develop so many valuble life skills that will stick with your kids or students for years to come…

Social Benefits

Communication Skills: Board games encourage verbal communication, negotiation, and discussion, helping kids articulate their thoughts and ideas.

Teamwork: Many board games are designed for collaborative play, fostering teamwork and the ability to work together toward a common goal.

Sportsmanship: Kids learn how to win and lose gracefully, developing good sportsmanship and resilience in the face of challenges.

Social Interaction: Board games provide a structured environment for social interaction, allowing kids to bond with family and friends.

Turn-Taking and Patience: Waiting for one’s turn and respecting others’ turns in board games promote patience and turn-taking skills.

Conflict Resolution: Games often involve decision-making and conflict resolution, teaching kids how to navigate disagreements in a constructive manner.

Academic Benefits

Cognitive Skills: Board games enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills as players strategize and plan their moves.

Mathematics: Many board games involve counting, addition, subtraction, and strategic thinking, helping to reinforce mathematical concepts in an enjoyable context.

Reading and Language Development: Games with cards or instructions encourage reading, vocabulary development, and comprehension.

Memory Enhancement: Board games often require players to remember rules, strategies, and the progress of the game, improving memory skills.

Spatial Awareness: Tile-laying and board arrangement in games like Carcassonne or Tsuro improve spatial awareness and geometry skills.

Pattern Recognition: Games like Azul promote pattern recognition, an important skill in various academic subjects.

Executive Function Skills: Planning ahead, organizing thoughts, and adapting to changing circumstances in games contribute to the development of executive function skills.

Learning Rules and Following Instructions: Board games often have specific rules, teaching children the importance of following instructions and understanding structured systems.

Strategic Planning: Games such as Splendor or Ticket to Ride require players to formulate and execute strategies, honing their strategic planning abilities.

Best Board Games For 8 Year Olds & Up

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Not included is the card game Magic the Gathering and the role playing game, Dungeons and Dragons. These are both more involved games that take some extra time to learn and play but are favorites.

Ages: These games should work well for a variety of ages 8+ with plenty of enjoyment for teens and adults. Most of these games would generally be played with an adult.

A few notes about Settlers of Catan: While this is a fantastic game, it can be a bit long and frustrating for young and old! It’s better with at least 4 players. Think of it as a twist on Monopoly.

Ticket To Ride

Ticket to Ride: A thrilling railway adventure that enhances strategic thinking and geography skills as players connect train routes across the country.


Carcassone: Foster spatial awareness and tactical planning by laying tiles to build medieval landscapes, castles, and roads in this classic tile-laying game. Bonus: There’s many expansion sets you can add for more strategy!

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island: Promotes teamwork as players collaborate to retrieve valuable artifacts from a sinking island, encouraging communication and problem-solving. Bonus: If you enjoy this, there are other versions, like Forbidden Desert. I first bought this when my son was 8!

Museum Suspects

Museum Suspects: If you have outgrown Outfoxed, try this one! You never get the same setup twice, so kids must think and weigh what they know so far and pay attention to what others are doing. Great for building memory and reasoning skills.


Tsuro: Easy to learn and quick to play, Tsuro teaches kids about pathfinding and decision-making as they navigate their dragon tokens along interconnected paths.

Bears and Bees

Bears and Bees: An engaging dexterity game that enhances fine motor skills as players use tweezers to remove bees from a honeycomb without disturbing the slumbering bear. If you like this style of game, the same company, Grandpa Beck’s has more of them!

Dungeons and Dragons: Adventure Begins

Dungeons and Dragons: Adventure Begins: An accessible introduction to the world of Dungeons and Dragons, fostering creativity and teamwork as players embark on quests, battle monsters, and explore dungeons. Note: This is a great introduction to the concept of playing DnD!

Dungeon Mayhem

Dungeon Mayhem: A fast-paced, family-friendly card game set in the D&D universe, allowing kids to choose a character and engage in epic battles using unique abilities and spells.


Kingdomino: Combining tile placement and kingdom building, Kingdomino helps kids develop spatial reasoning and strategic planning as they create their own colorful dominos.


Dixit: Unleash creativity and imagination with this storytelling and deduction game where players use surreal and whimsical cards to inspire captivating narratives.


Boop: A charming memory and matching game featuring adorable monsters, Boop enhances cognitive skills while providing a fun and engaging experience.


Munchkin: Introduce kids to the world of dungeon-crawling and monster-slaying humorously, with this fast-paced card game full of whimsical characters and clever strategy.

Trekking the National Parks

Trekking the National Parks: Learn about U.S. national parks in this educational and strategic game that combines geography, planning, and resource management.

Sleeping Queens

Sleeping Queens: A whimsical and entertaining card game that helps kids practice math skills as they wake queens, collect kings, and use magical powers to win.

Sushi Go!

Sushi Go!: Develop quick decision-making skills and learn about set collection as players draft adorable sushi cards to create the most delectable meal.

Castle Panic

Castle Panic: Collaborative tower defense fun where players work together to defend their castle against approaching monsters, promoting teamwork and strategic planning.


Splendor: Cultivate economic and strategic thinking as players collect gemstones, purchase development cards, and strive to build the most prestigious merchant empire.


Azul: Encouraging pattern recognition and strategic planning, Azul challenges players to create beautiful tile mosaics while competing for the highest score.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

The Quacks of Quedlinburg: A potion-brewing race where players experiment with ingredients, fostering risk-taking and strategic thinking in a delightful push-your-luck game.


Karak: Journey through the desert, collecting resources and trading goods in this family-friendly game that combines resource management and strategic planning.

Isle of Cats

Isle of Cats: Combine Tetris-like tile placement with cat adoption in this delightful game that encourages spatial awareness and strategic thinking.

Pandemic Hot Zone

Pandemic Hot Zone: Introduce cooperative play and critical decision-making with this streamlined version of the popular Pandemic series, focusing on global disease containment.

Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham: Encouraging bluffing and negotiation, players take on the roles of medieval merchants trying to smuggle goods past the watchful sheriff. (14+)

5-Minute Dungeon

5-Minute Dungeon: A fast-paced and chaotic cooperative game that challenges players to work together to defeat bosses within a time limit, promoting quick thinking and collaboration.


Karuba: A tile-laying adventure game that introduces kids to pathfinding and planning as they guide explorers through the jungle to discover treasures.


Wingspan: Explore the world of birdwatching in this visually stunning game that combines strategy and resource management, teaching kids about different bird species and habitats. (14+)


Patchwork: Introduce kids to quilting in this two-player game that promotes spatial awareness and strategic planning as players compete to create the most aesthetically pleasing quilt.

Century Golem Edition

Century Golem Edition: Embark on a journey to collect and trade valuable crystals in this visually appealing and accessible resource management game.

Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure

Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure: Blend strategy and risk-taking as players delve into a dungeon, collect artifacts, and try to escape before the dragon catches them in this deck-building game.

The Quest for El Dorado

The Quest for El Dorado: A deck-building race through the jungle, encouraging players to manage resources and strategically build their decks to reach the legendary city of gold.

Dice Forge

Dice Forge: Introduce the concept of customizable dice and strategic decision-making as players forge their own dice to gain resources and achieve victory.

Key to the Kingdom

Key to the Kingdom: A fantasy adventure game where players explore a mysterious kingdom, face challenges, discover secrets, and foster imagination and strategic thinking.

There are so many more games that didn’t even make it to this list for you to find along your board game adventures!

More Fun Board Game Ideas

Printable Board Game Pack

20+ printable board games for kids! Perfect for Pre-K, K, 1st, or whatever age and ability work for your needs. 

Includes seasons, holidays, animals, space, reptiles, and more fun themes! Whenever a new game is made, it will be added, and a new link will be emailed to you.

Each game has instructions, a DIY die or spinner, and needed tokens. You will want to add a few game pieces/household items from your stash. Laminate for long-lasting use or place in a page protector.