It’s bittersweet when your child finally reaches an age where they can join family game night as a player instead of a watcher. On the one hand, you can’t even fathom that your little one is already outgrowing their stacking rings and rattles. On the other, you’re excited to introduce them to the games you enjoyed as a kid, starting with the most classic board games in your collection.
Especially in an era when even toddlers know how to work a smartphone before they’ve learned their ABCs, it’s important for your child’s development to integrate screen-free activities to their daily routine. Board games are an excellent resource for this: They encourage kids to take a break from technology, be present and socialize face-to-face with other players, and even fine tune some important basic skills such as counting, color recognition and problem solving.
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Of course, brands are constantly coming out with new board games to appeal to the next generation, but nothing beats the classics like Candy Land, Sorry!, and Chutes and Ladders. Below, we’ve listed the best board games for beginners, and each pick is a classic game we’re almost certain you enjoyed way back when — and will once again.
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1. Hasbro Candy Land Board Game
Challenge your sweetie pie to a classic game of Candy Land, where sugar and spice and everything nice reigns. Revisiting The Kingdom of Sweet Adventures is sure to hit you with a wave of nostalgia as you introduce your little one to King Candy, Princess Lolly and Lord Licorice.
Remember, whoever reaches King Candy’s castle takes the cake, but your child will have to race through the Peppermint Forest, LolliPop Palace, Licorice Lagoon and more before reaching their decadent destination. The board game was designed so that children as young as 3 years old can play along, so if you have a toddler in your midst, this is the perfect game to break out for a night of family fun.
2. Hasbro Sorry! Board Game
They should really rename the game to “Sorry! Not Sorry” because if any board game was designed with competition in mind, it’s this Hasbro installment. Sorry! was designed for players 6 years and older — you know, the age where kids really start developing their own thoughts, opinions and attitude.
If you’ve got a competitive child on your hands, tell them to leave it all on the board in which sliding, colliding and overcoming your opponent is the end goal. Note: The updated version of Sorry! features three pawns per color instead of four, meaning it’s faster paced and perfect for players with short attention spans.
3. Hasbro Chutes and Ladders Board Game
Chutes and Ladders is by far one of — if not the — best board games for little kids because the concept is simple, the game itself is relatively fast-paced and reading skills aren’t required. Here’s how to play: Flick the arrow on the spinner board and move your piece across the number of spaces you land on. Players climb up the ladders and slide down the chutes in a race to the top of the board. Though no skill is required (just luck!), the game does help children practice their counting and better understand the concept of number recognition.
4. Hasbro Trouble Board Game
Kids live for chaos and in this Hasbro game, everyone’s in trouble, so they’ll feel right at home. The board game is appropriate for ages 5 and older, and up to four people can play at a time. Kids will love pressing down on the Pop-O-Matic die roller to determine how many spaces they can advance, but they’ll especially enjoy sending their components back to start should they land on the other player’s pegs. With the addition of “Warp Spaces” that transport your piece to the opposite end of the board and Double Trouble spaces that grant you another turn, this game is double the trouble you might remember from back in the day.