Game nights are a low-key, reliable way for the family to have fun together. Your elementary schooler will love playing these games with you, and the best board games for 8-year-olds keep them engaged while fostering age-appropriate developmental milestones. Plus, at this age your child can now play a lot of classic board games you already love.
Year eight means kids can focus on tasks for longer periods of time and are becoming noticeably and increasingly independent, which means they're ready for longer-lasting, slightly more complex games, and a bit of friendly competition. However, one of the games below involves no competition at all and instead focuses on storytelling.
All of my picks will help your elementary schooler practice specific skills like problem solving, storytelling, and mental math. I’ve called these skills out in each pick, but many of them involve some level of strategy to keep your kid (and even the whole family) entertained.
In terms of game play, most of my picks involve at least two players, but several can be played by the whole family and one can even be played solo, which is great for your child's increasing independence. With an 8-year-old’s longer attention span, they can now play games that take at least an hour, but my first two picks can be played in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.
Read on for the best board games for 8-year-olds; they're sure to keep your child engaged and many might even be games you've been wanting to revisit or try yourself.
1. An Entry-Level Strategy Board Game The Whole Family Will Enjoy
Looking for a board game everyone from age 8 to 80 will enjoy? Sequence is a wildly popular strategic board game with over 2,700 five-star reviews, including several from fans who love playing it with children and adults alike. This game can accommodate anywhere from two to 12 players, so it's great for large families and friend groups. While playing, your child will develop strategy, become better at coping with the disappointment of losing, and practice adhering to rules.
Here's how it works: a player puts down a card from their hand and places a chip on one of two matching spots on the board; five in a row makes a sequence, which you'll want to get before opposing players or teams. And since play time is just 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of players, games can move pretty quickly.
What fans love: “Sequence is great fun. Almost every other night my grandparents walk over to our house (they live a block away), and we play something like 6 rounds! It's great for all ages - my 8 year old brother likes it, and so do my grandparents! It teaches strategy and team work. You can play it with 2 people, or pretty much how ever many you can get. Simple, but it's really fun!”
2. A Game To Develop Storytelling Skills
A storytelling board game will bring out your child's creative side, and Rory's Story Cubes boasts over 1,000 positive reviews. This game is great for your child's growing independence as it can be played solo, but it also works for a larger family or group of friends as there's really no cap on the maximum number of players. Game play is just a matter of rolling nine story cubes and using the illustrations on the cubes to tell a story that starts with “Once upon a time.”
This game can be as quick as 15 minutes, and can be a fun break from more competitive board games. Eight-year-olds will become more confident in storytelling, develop more complex sentences, practice artistic expression and literacy development, and work on problem solving as well as speaking and listening.
What fans love: “It's the best toy I have ever bought. My 6 year old looks forward to playing with these cubes. [...] These cubes help him think outside the box and use his imagination. It's also a wonderful way to prepare young ones for story writing and composition. I love it too and it's always interesting how we all use the cube in the story. When we first started using the cubes, the stories were very simple and main objective to quickly use the cube. Now the stories are getting a bit longer and have more details that have nothing to do with the cubes. [...] Worth the investment!”
3. A Super Easy Way To Teach Beginners How To Play Chess
No-Stress Chess is a great stepping stone to teaching any beginner how to play chess, and your 8-year-old will find it accessibly engaging; it’s kind of like bowling with bumpers, but for chess.
With illustrated cards that help the two players along and an illustrated board that has hints on one side, players can learn chess and practice strategy, their ability to focus on a task for an hour or more, adhering to rules, and their increased capacity to do mental math and work with abstract and larger numbers; like chess, this game is intended for two players only and lasts about an hour. Plus, this board game is a popular pick on Amazon with a 4.7-star rating after more than 1,400 reviews.
What fans love: “'No Stress Chess' is an excellent way to introduce the game of chess to youngsters who may not have the patience or focus to learn chess and stay with it. I purchased this as a Christmas present for my 8-year old daughter who has always enjoyed board games. She took to this game like fish in water, and learned all the movements of the pieces very quickly. She impressed me with how quickly she learned the rules as well, and made me super proud[...]”
4. A Classic Board Game To Introduce The Concept Of Money
You likely played this game growing up, and at age 8, your child is ready to try playing the classic version of Monopoly. This updated edition has a new cat token for a fun update to the original cast of tokens, and elementary schoolers will put into practice their understanding of money and counting as they play.
The game consists of buying and selling property while working to get around the board game without being sent to jail or paying too many taxes. In addition to counting and practicing their understanding of money, your child will practice strategy, focusing on a task for an hour or more, coping with losing or frustration, and doing mental math. This game can accommodate between two and eight players and takes about 60 to 90 minutes to play. Plus, this version of the game is highly rated with a 4.5-star rating after more than 800 reviews.
What fans love: “This Monopoly game is a great game to play with the entire family! It is just like the Monopoly game we had growing up, but has been updated. My 8 and 10 year old sons love to play it and the directions are easy to read and follow, so they can play by themselves if they want.”
5. A Portable Version Of A Classic Word Game
A portable board game is always good to have on hand, and Tile Lock Scrabble comes in a compact size with tiles that lock into the crossword board. You can take this travel-friendly version of the classic game on cars, trains, planes, or boats.
Designed for two to four players with rounds that last around 90 minutes each, your child will practice the ability to focus on a task for an hour or more, coping with losing or frustration, and growing their vocabulary. Scrabble is a timeless, classic board game with over 150 million games sold in more than 100 countries, so your family will likely be able to enjoy it for a long time. Plus, this game comes backed by a 4.2-star rating after more than 1,000 reviews.
What fans love: “Ingenious and beautifully made. The "nubs" between spaces holds plastic Scrabble tiles in place, even if the board is jarred, tipped, rotated or shaken. So no more angst when, in the heat of the moment, the board is jostled. A game-in- progress also stores nicely inside the box (which has a hinged lid, making it easy to open). I highly recommend this version to all Scrabble players, especially when traveling, or if space is tight.”
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