5 Board Games for 5 Year Olds

An african family playing Rapid Rumble by Skillmatics in the living room

Going from home or preschool to elementary school can be intimidating for five year olds. Not only are they entering a new place with new expectations for them, they’re also encountering new intellectual and social demands. To help make this transition smoother and more fun for everyone involved, host a family game night! As they take on more academic and extracurricular responsibilities, family game nights are a great way for your five-year-old to decompress and enjoy themselves, plus, time spent together helps you bond and keep an open line of communication with them.

For five-year-olds, playing board games can be a relevant reinforcement of the things they’re starting to learn or will soon learn in elementary school - including further developing their cognitive and fine motor skills. Board games also provide tons of opportunities for elementary students to work on being a part of a team, exercise patience, practice following the rules, and learn to give others the time and space to take their own turns. Playing with others also teaches your little one that they don’t win every time, and emphasizes the importance of being graceful and kind no matter the outcome. The best way for them to learn this positive behavior is to model it yourself, and don’t forget to add positive reinforcement when they get it right!

What to Look for in Board Games for 5-Year-Olds?

To help you organize a game night for your family, we’ve picked out a variety of board games tailored especially to your five-year-old’s skills, interests, and learning goals –– note their features like short play time, simple rules, and number of opportunities for replay.  While they’re definitely fun for the whole family, these games are also highly educational and help your little one perform better in and out of the classroom. So pick a night, make some fun snacks, and try out these colorful, engaging games!

1. Found It

little girl in light blue top and grey shorts running around and playing Found It

Found It! is an exciting scavenger hunt game that helps children learn as they go on an exciting “search and find” adventure. With prompts like “can you find something heavier than a leaf?” or “can you find something round?” your little one can practice their observational and reasoning skills. Once they find the object in question, players have to shout “found it!” and keep going until they’ve gotten their hands on all objects and won seven cards to win! Found It! is the Winner Of The 2022 National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA), so it’s sure to be a hit with you and your five-year-old!

Key Learning: Observation & Logical Reasoning, Phonological Awareness, Measurements & Opposites, Numbers and Counting, Color Recognition & Mixing, Comparative Adjectives, Shapes & Spatial Relationships, Rhyming Words

2. Guess in 10 Junior

Little girl holding Guess in 10 Junior game card in her hand

Guess in 10 Junior is a fascinating card game that keeps kids on their toes as they try to figure out the identity of a specific animal in ten guesses or less. Guider tiles help them pose their questions –– “Does the animal live in the ocean?” “Does the animal fly?” –– until they get the answer and earn a Game Card or run out of guesses. The first player to win seven Game Cards wins!

Key Learning: Social & Communicative Skills, Problem Solving, Decision Making & Creative Thinking

3. Train of Thought

African boy smiling at dad, playing Train of Thought by Skillmatics on a beige couch

A card game of real connections, Train of Thought pushes your child to ask and answer thoughtful questions and complete fun challenges. Help them learn more about their loved ones while they engage in fun and meaningful conversations with questions like “who do you think knows you best?” and “if you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be?” Use the questions to build a literal “train of thought” and complete it to win the game!

Key Learning: Social & Communicative Skills. Emotional Development, Creative Thinking, Bonding & Trust Building

4. Sinking Stones

Setup of Sinking Stones game by Skillmatics

While Sinking Stones is aimed at six year olds, five year olds with some game night practice and guidance can ace it! Save yourself from drowning in the deep waters in this fast-paced strategy game by hopping between stones before they sink!

Key Learning: Observation & Logical Reasoning, Numbers and Counting, Shapes & Spatial Relationships.

5. Called It!

Three kids holding up Called It! game cards by Skillmatics

Called It! is an exciting and fast-paced game where all players turn over their top card at the same time and call out the biggest animal among them. The player that calls the biggest animal first collects all the cards in the center, and the player who collects all the cards wins the game. Cards like "slam it" and "flip it" add more excitement in the game.

Game night presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce your little one to different kinds of games. Once you’ve found the perfect one, model how to play with your child so they can hit the ground running and you can all play together. Remember, your little one grows and changes pretty rapidly at this age, so if they don’t seem ready for a certain game, you can always try again in a few weeks.

This is a great time in your child’s life for regularly scheduled family game nights as these bonding moments can provide your little one with the chance to practice new skills. Consistent fun and family time can give your child the motivation to persevere through any new and tricky changes!

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