When a child reaches age 5 they often enter a sweet spot for understanding competition. Simple
board games can give them an opportunity to explore strategic play while enjoying a little friendly rivalry (emphasis on friendly). It’s also a great time to start talking about being a good loser. And with these board games for 5-year-olds, they can have fun while developing an appreciation for winning and losing.
These games come from the minds of companies that have studied child development and understand a need to put an emphasis on education. Some of these games will help improve math and
STEAM skills, others are more focused on word play or agility and helping kids build up their fine motor skills. But all of them also have a heavy helping of silliness as well. Plus, there are some tried and true board games you’ll remember from your own childhood that still hold up today (Candyland, anyone?).
And these board games for kids aren’t exclusively for preschoolers and kindergarteners either. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy playing these games too. Take it from this mom of a 6-year-old who has played nearly all of these games, they’re a surprisingly good time for all generations. So gather up the whole family, grandma and grandpa can get involved too, and have a little indoor entertainment with these board games for 5-year-olds.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Camp
Kindergarteners may not be ready for overnight camp, but with the board game
Camp they can get a taste of the fun to come. This educational game features a colorful board game that’s a forest scene with a winding path amidst it. This is what kids will follow as they work to win by getting to the campfire first. Along the way, campers — cute forest critters like a Bruce the Moose and Sassy Squirrel — may land on a “Clubhouse Position” where they get to read a Fun Fact card (example: “Some fish can climb trees”). Or they might land on a Footprint space where the player has to answer a Camp Question card. Each card has four levels of questions so the game grows with the child. Fun times. 2 Bugs in the Kitchen
For sheer giggles,
Bugs in the Kitchen scores big points. Basically, two to four players each man a corner of the tall game board and tries to protect their corner from the dreaded bug, a HEXBUG nano that scuttles through a maze made up of adjustable spoon, fork, and knife walls. Players roll a die covered in these silverware pictures. Land on a fork and you can spin a fork to open a wall to get the bug away from your corner of the board. Work fast enough and you could even direct the critter to someone else’s corner. It’s a fast paced silly operation that kids will love. 3 Battleship
Take it from a mom who knows, the box
Battleship says it’s for ages 7 and up, but 5-year-olds will love this game just as much, and it’s no wonder why. It’s a classic. And you don’t need to get the digital version either to let your kids have fun with this classic naval warfare game. Basically, two players each get a foldable board that looks a bit like a Light Brite. They set up their boats on their bottom board and going back and forth calling numbers and letters, each player tries to sink the other’s boats. This is a great way to work on recognizing the alphabet and numbers while trying to win. 4 Candyland
Children 3 and up can play
Candyland which is great for big brothers or sisters dying to play a board game. In Candyland little kids don’t need to be excluded. As you may recall, players start on down a colorful road, through scenes like a Lollipop Palace, to get to King Kandy's Castle first. It’s an incredibly simple concept, but that’s what makes it one of the great board games for 5-year-olds. Think of Candyland as the perfect introduction to board game play. Once they master this sweet contest, they can graduate to more advanced board game options. 5 Operation
Operation? A cartoon man lays on an exam table and the players get to carefully remove organs without setting off the alarm, aka surgery. So it’s not exactly a pre-med class nor HIPAA approved, but it is a super fun and silly game that any 5-year-old can play. Plus, you could use it as an introduction to teaching your kids about parts of the body. Fun fact: the patient actually has a name — Cavity Sam. Operation comes with 13 ailments kids have to remove. The player that removes the most ailments wins. Better yet? This game doesn’t actually need a competitor. Children can play alone too. 6 Dinosaur Escape
Have a budding paleontologist on your hands? Then you must order
Dinosaur Escape. This game is made for kids 4 and up and is a colorful trip to the Jurassic era that centers around getting dinosaur pieces to safety on the island before a volcano erupts. But on top of that, this game comes with a matching element that’s great for developing children’s memory. By uncovering matching dinos under fern pieces, they can help the dinosaurs escape. This game also has a gentle approach in that all of the players work together to save the dinos. It’s a team effort which is another important lesson to teach kids about competition. 7 Pretty Pretty Princess
You might remember this bejeweled board game from your own childhood. It’s called
Pretty Pretty Princess and the concept is simple: each player is vying to gather a full collection of jewels. If they can do that as they navigate the board, they win. You read that right, this is a board game all about accessorizing. A product of the early ‘90s, it continues to mesmerize kids and remains one of the terrific board games for 5-year-olds. Pink, blue, green, and purple rings, necklaces, clip on earrings, bracelets, and the coveted crown make up the jewels players compete for. Warning: not for tiny princesses, the small parts are a chocking hazard. 8 Hungry Hungry Hippos
You loved it as a kid, your kid will love it too.
Hungry Hungry Hippos is loud and physical and a great way to burn some energy when play is limited to the indoors. But one big warning: if you have little children younger than 5 also in the house, keep this game away. The small pieces are not safe for little ones. If that’s not an issue, get your snacking hand ready as four players or less snap their hippos in order to eat up all of the marbles. Then work on counting skills as kiddos tally up how many marbles their little hippo inhaled. 9 The Floor is Lava
Want to find some physical board games for 5-year-olds? Your child might already be playing their own imaginary
The Floor is Lava game, likely on your couches and cupboards. If you want them to take their indoor parkour set to a safe space, grab The Floor is Lava board game. Using bright large shapes, you get to layout the obstacle course for this family friendly competition for 2 to 6 players who are ages 5 and up. A player spins a foam spinner and whatever color it lands on is where every player has to jump to. The last one to land on the color has their original tile removed. Anyone who falls into the lava (a.k.a. floor) is out. 10 Dragon’s Breath
Any game that brings in a little fantasy is worth considering when it comes to 5-year-olds.
Dragon’s Breath does just that. The game is played by one young dragon and four young dragons, who try to get the most gems out of an ice column filled with them. Sounds simple enough, but this is a 3-D board game where gems can slip through holes on top, adding an additional element of risk. As the game goes on, the dad gets to remove another ring on the ice column releasing more gems for players to collect. Super colorful, this game will capture kids’ attention the minute they open the box. 11 Outfoxed!
Want a precursor to Clue for your young board gamer? Consider
Outfoxed! This is a colorful whodunit designed for the littlest private eyes that will take whole bunch of critical thinking to solve. The problem? Mrs. Plumpert's prized pot pie has gone missing, gasp! Now players have to work together to reveal suspects and find clues to discover who stole the pie. To add an extra element of fun, this game comes with a Clue Decoder tool to eliminate suspects. Find the guilty fox and you win. If you want to develop a child’s deductive logic, this might just be the board game of choice for 5-year-olds. 12 Treasure Hunt Game
Thanks to Easter egg hunts and children’s books about pirates, the concept of finding treasure is something kids get a good understanding of at a young age. The idea of coming upon a box filled with gold and gems has captured people’s imaginations for centuries. So translate that same idea into a board game and you have a winning afternoon.
Treasure Hunt Game is for children 4 and up and won the Mom's Choice Award. Basically parents lay out a trail, then kids solve clues to make their way through the trail to uncover the treasure. Easier than building your own indoor treasure hunt, you can reset the trail over and over for a fun afternoon indoors. 13 Connect Four
Ok, so it’s a vertical game board, but a game board at that.
Connect Four is a fantastic game for developing logic, counting, and color identification skills. As any child of the ‘90s will recall, each player gets either yellow or red circular game pieces. Using their pieces they slide them into the standing board in the hopes of getting four in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Get four in a row and you win. The tactile nature of this game adds a noisy, fun element when the winner pulls the release to send the game pieces crashing down in victory that kids will want to hear over and over again.
Ready to play? Grab one of these board games for 5-year-olds and you can start your child on a long love affair with strategy and healthy competition.
What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox