As someone who has fond memories of playing board games as a child, I couldn’t wait until my kids were old enough to finally play. For a long time, the only game my kids would and could play was Candyland. Now that my oldest is five, we’ve tried a bunch and I can now confidently share the best board games for a 5 year old.
Rush Hour Junior Traffic Game
I absolutely love this game, as does my 5 year old. It is a logic game, where you set up cars in a pattern based on the accompanying cars. Your goal is to then move them to get the ice cream truck out of the traffic. We play a little different since my daughter loves pink. I swap the pink car with the ice cream truck and we work on getting the pink car out of traffic.
The card set has easy to very hard cards. At first, my 5 year old could only do the easy ones. A year later, she can do any card in the set. It has increased her logic and strategy skills. The very hard cards are challenging as in it takes me a while to figure them out. The fact my child can not do those shows that this game as you work through the card set really does teach them logic and strategy skills.
There is a My First RushHour for 3 and up but honestly, I found that game very boring and would skip it. Instead get the Rush Hour Junior. It is perfect for a 5 year old.
No Stress Chess
When the Queen’s Gambit aired on Netflix, No Stress Chess sold out everywhere. The show is amazing if you haven’t seen it yet and will make anyone want to learn the game.
If you want to teach your kid chess or just want to play a fun game, I highly recommend No Stress Chess. You can play it without knowing anything about Chess. It has taught my 5 year old about every piece and how each one moves. I wouldn’t recommend teaching chess to a 5 year old without No Stress Chess.
After playing it for a few months, she now doesn’t need the cards but can figure out which players to move in order to protect her own pieces or to capture pieces.
The Fairy Game
My child really wanted a princess game and no matter how hard I looked all the princess games I found were terrible. It wasn’t until we stumbled upon The Fairy Game in a toy store, that I found something worth playing. While it wasn’t princesses, it worked.
The game is a cooperation game, so the players work together. The object of the game is to get the gems back to the wand before Mr. Winter freezes all of the flowers. I highly recommend it, it was the all time favorite in our house for a long time.
Another game by the same makers of The Fairy Game is Mermaid Island. While I like The Fairy Game more than Mermaid Island. I still say this game is fun for a 5 year old. Again, it is one of the few games that is geared to girls at this age.
We play this one when my child has some friends over. They all love trying to avoid the sea witch. The mermaids can protect each other with their wands. They also only win if everyone gets to Mermaid Island.
Ticket to Ride First Journey
Ticket to Ride First Journey is a game our friends have. Our kid played it at their house and immediately wanted to get one. It is on our birthday list for this coming year so I wanted to include it here because it was such as hit with the other 5 year olds we know. It says 6+ so I think it is better suited for a 5 year old on the older side.
I had no idea they made a version of Monopoly for kids. My child got it as a gift for her birthday and it was a hit. It took her some time to understand that if you spend money to buy properties you get more money. After that, it became a lot of fun. Her thinking and strategy kept developing. She learned to go for properties from the same color to double the rent.
It was also a great math game. I would always make her count out her money and pay. Also she would have to figure out how much I owed her if I landed on her property (like 2+2 if she owned both properties of a single color).
The Junior Monopoly set comes in so many fun editions. We got the unicorn edition but they also have dinosaur, toy story, princesses, trolls, etc.
Uno (get card holders)
We never tried to play card games until recently because it always required you to hold a lot of cards. On a trip to visit grandparents, our kid learned how to play Uno. The key to playing the game with our 5 year old was getting an awesome card holder for her. This was game changing! We bought these cardholders, and they are really good quality.
Also, another benefit of getting card holders was that it allowed our 4 year old who couldn’t quite play by herself to play on a team with a parent. We would find a 3 or a red card together, which was great for helping her learn her numbers.
We also love to bring this game along when we travel. It is a great to play on airplanes.
Code and Go Robot Mouse
If you want to get your child a head start in computer programming and also play a fun maze game, then Code and Go Robot Mouse is your game. You set up a path (make your own or use the cards) for the mouse to follow to find the cheese. You then use arrow cards and put them in the correct sequence to go from the starting point to the cheese. The next step is to then program the mouse using the arrows on it.
After some practice, your child won’t even need the arrow cards and will just use the arrows on the mouse to tell it the sequence. My older kids also love this game and will make up their own paths for the mouse to follow.
It is also reasonably priced for early programming games for kids.
We got The Ladybug Game years ago because it says 3+. However, it didn’t workout for our 3 year old so we put it in storage for a year. When we got it back out for our 4 almost 5 year old, it was an instant hit. The game was invented by a first grader and it so cute. The goal of the game is to get enough aphids to get past the ants.
I personally love the game because it is about bugs but also because it involves a lot of numbers. It is such a good game to practice early math skills. It really helps kids start to recognize the plus and minus signs and what those mean.
Zingo (or Bingo)
In our house, we play both Zingo and Bingo. I would recommend Zingo for 5 year olds and also for families with younger siblings because a 3 year old can play Zingo. It is completely picture based and is a fun matching game. When playing with a preschooler, you would want to play black out (fill the whole board to win). Once your kid is old enough, you can switch to 4 in a row.
The Bingo we own has four sets. I love that because we were able to play the animal boards when we had a 3 year old. The alphabet set when we had a 4 year old. We now play the number set and the sight word boards with our 5 year old. It is practicing really important kindergarten skills while having fun playing a game.
Charades for Kids
While this isn’t a board game, I had to include it because it is an awesome family game. My littles love to play pretend and are always asking for us to join. Let’s be honest, as much as I love playing with my kids, I don’t always want to. This is the perfect game because it gives us another way to play pretend with them.
I picked up Twister at a garage sale one summer. I remember the game from my own childhood and thought why not. And it is still a fun movement game for kids. The best part was it finally taught my kindergartener left and right.
The one thing she couldn’t quite do was read the spinner. She could get the color and if it was hand or foot since it shows pictures. Therefore, we always just let her pick left or right when it was her turn to spin.
Also not a board game but overall a really fun game. Story Cards is great game to travel with. The game works by each person picking 4-5 cards from the deck. Every card has a unique picture on it. Once you get your cards, you can arrange them however you like and then compose a story from the pictures. If you have a kid who loves storytelling, then this will be a lot of fun.
But if you kid isn’t big on telling their own stories, they might still like this game. It also helps build those storytelling skills. Especially as you play to and tell your own stories, their stories will develop into more detailed cohesive stories as they learn to weave the cards together in their own story.
Hoot Owl Hoot
We played Hoot Owl Hoot so much when we first got it that I honestly got sick of it. It is a cooperation game where you work together to help all of the owls get home to their nest before the sun rises. A 3-year-old can play this game since it is color based and you move the owls to the color you draw.
However, for the older kid, there can be a lot of strategy that takes place. You can add more owls and then it is always a decision on which owl to move because you need to get them all home before the sun rises.
We lost this game a year ago and my little one still asks if we can get a new one.
Feed the Woozle
We actually bought Feed the Woozle to encourage better eating habits with our picky kids. Both a preschooler or a kindergartener can play it. It involves a lot of movement which is great for a kid that has a hard time sitting for long. I still love it just because it is all about a monster who eats weird food like fly ice cream or sock pickles.
We had a hard time getting our kids to eat well and after a lot of trial and error we made some substantial progress. All of my tips, one of which is this game, are all in my post about how to get your picky toddler to eat but applies to kids 5 and under.
Don’t Step in It
We received Don’t Step in It as a birthday gift from a friend. It is a fun game and reminds me of something like pin the tail on the donkey at birthday parties. In the game, you take playdoh and make “poops” with a mold. You then set the poops on the walkway. After that you get to use a spinner which gives you a challenge like get across the walkway in only 3 steps. Then you use a blindfold, spin the kid and have them walk down the mat trying not to step in the poop. And if you have ever met a 5 year old, they all think poop is hilarious.
The best board games and card games to gift or buy for your 5 year old
Shopping for kids can be hard and if you aren’t shopping for your own kid, you might have zero idea what they are in to. A safe and awesome bet is to give a game. Once you reach the age of 5, there are so many really fun games to play. Also, most board and card games are a reasonable price for a gift.
I hope by sharing the best board games and card games that are favorites in our house with our kids, you will be able to find the perfect game.
If you have any other games that your kid loves that are not on the list, then please leave them in the comments for our readers!
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I am a wife, teacher, and mother to two awesome girls. I write about what I am passionate, which is sharing my experiences, failures, and successes on everything from family, marriage and motherhood to home improvement, DIY house projects and home making. I also always enjoy sharing with my readers tips I learn about selfcare, beauty and skin care for women. Let this space be a resource for you to pursue your very best day.