Encouraging your 8-year-old to spend time away from screens can be a challenge. Exploring the world of board games is a great way to introduce fun, strategic play to your child. This selection of board games for 8-year-olds isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill choices. While you’ll see a few old favorites, many of these board games are completely unique creations that are sure to appeal to your elementary school-aged kids. Not only can these board games encourage your little one’s high-level thinking, but they are also the perfect avenue for quality time with the whole family.
Best Board Games for 8-Year-Olds
1. Ticket to Ride Board Game
(Best game for the entire family — $$)
Why it’s great: This fast-paced, strategic board game is engaging for both young and old players. Ticket to Ride Board Game is a cross-country train adventure game that is sure to spark and inspire your children’s wanderlust. The unique creation of this game means there’s a new setup every time you play, and the entire game can be learned following the simple directions in 15 minutes or less.
Keep in mind: This game uses a number of cards and pieces and requires an ample amount of space to set up.
Good for: Families who want a game the whole family can play and enjoy.
2. Blue Orange Games Kingdomino
(Best strategy game — $)
Why it’s great: Players aim to take control of new lands to expand their kingdoms in Blue Orange Games Kingdomino. This board game for 8-year-olds is simple and easy to follow while still encouraging higher-level thinking and advanced strategizing. Depending on the tiles played every new game presents new challenges to overcome to complete each player’s 5 x 5 grid.
Keep in mind: The more you play, the better you become at the game and foreseeing what unfolds, which can make playing with new players challenging as advanced players are likely to win.
Good for: Children who enjoy strategizing and board games that require higher-level thinking.
3. ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game
(Best STEM game — $$)
Why it’s great: Rooted in STEM development, ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game requires critical thinking skills as players navigate through spatial reasoning and extensive planning. This combination logic game offers up to 60 challenges that range from beginner to expert so everyone can have a fun time playing this game. This board game offers a 3D experience as you build and develop marble runs on a single board.
Keep in mind: This game can be played independently and does not necessarily encourage family bonding time if played solo.
Good for: Parents who want to encourage science, technology, engineering, and mathematics development at family game night.
4. Ravensburger Labyrinth Family Board Game
(Easiest instructions — $$)
Why it’s great: The simple directions of the board game for 8-year-olds mean you can spend more time playing and less time trying to learn how to play. Players aim to find the shortest route through the labyrinth using maze tiles and treasure cards. Ravensburger Labyrinth Family Board Game is simple to understand which means players can begin right away, keeping even the most inattentive kids engaged and interested.
Keep in mind: This board game relies on luck almost as much as strategy and may be frustrating for some players.
Good for: Children with short attention spans who want to spend more time playing a game than learning how it works.
5. Trekking the National Parks
(Best for outdoor lovers — $$$)
Why it’s great: A best-selling and award-winning game, Trekking the National Parks lets you experience the most magical places all over the country while sitting in your family room. Players get to learn all about the natural world while working to travel around the country. The beautiful detail included on the board itself and the cards make this game both fun to play and enjoyable to treasure as a keepsake.
Keep in mind: The second edition of this game offers simpler directions and is noted as being easier to learn.
Good for: Families who would like a game that reflects their passion for the outdoors.
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6. ThinkFun Cat Crimes Brain Game
(Silliest game — $)
Why it’s great: Requiring critical reasoning and logical deduction skills, this board game for 8-year-olds also adds a healthy dose of laughter. The ThinkFun Cat Crimes Brain Game is a silly game that increases in difficulty the more you play. With 40 crimes to solve ranging from beginner to expert, your child will spend hours playing detective.
Keep in mind: The varying levels can take a range of time, and the beginner ones may be very quick to solve.
Good for: Kids with a major sense of humor.
7. Hasbro Gaming: Battleship Classic Board Game
(Most beloved childhood favorite — $)
Why it’s great: A family favorite, Hasbro Gaming: Battleship Classic Board Game has stood the test of time for numerous reasons. Simple to learn and play, this board game for 8-year-olds includes a special Salvo feature that allows advanced players to launch multiple attacks. The portable cases make it easy to both store and travel with this game so you can always have a screen-free activity available.
Keep in mind: The containers are on the smaller side and can be a hassle trying to store all the pegs in the designated compartments.
Good for: Nostalgic parents who want to introduce a favorite game from their youth.
FAQs about Board Games for 8-Year-Olds
1. What types of board games are best for an 8-year-old?
When selecting a board game for an 8-year-old, seek out games that cater to your child’s specific interests and skillsets. Children who are problem-solvers may love strategy games, while kids with a sense of humor will like comedic games that are sure to bring on the laughs.
2. Which board games can the whole family enjoy together?
Games that are designed for more than one player are a great option for family game night. Look for straightforward games with simple instructions so both older and younger kids can play. Board games that use teams are another fantastic option to involve the whole family, even if some children are too young to fully understand the directions.
3. What are the benefits of playing board games?
Board games teach children cooperative playing, as well as how to follow and understand instructions. They can increase brain function while also encouraging patience and turn-taking. Plus, spending quality time with family playing board games can strengthen relationships and reduce stress.
4. How do I teach my 8-year-old to play board games?
It is easiest to start with simple board games when teaching your 8-year-old how to play before moving on to more advanced, involved board games. Rather than just reading the instructions aloud, modeling how to play and breaking down the steps before starting the game can make it easier for 8-year-olds to understand all the components of a game.
5. When should I play board games with my 8-year-old?
Since playing board games requires brainpower, it’s best to play when your child has the most patience. Board games are a great tool to unwind at the end of a long week and can help replace screen time, which tends to wind kids up. Consider playing after a meal during the day so your kids aren’t hungry or sleepy.
This selection of board games for 8-year-olds is the perfect addition to your family’s collection of activities. Board games offer a unique way for families to spend quality time together without the use of a screen. From higher-level thinking strategy games to old favorites, this selection of board games to be played by kids age 8 years and up have a host of benefits and can be enjoyed for years to come. With simple instructions that can be understood within a matter of minutes, you’ll be able to spend less time learning to play and more time having a ball.