The Best Games for Kids, Gift Guide 2021

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Giving games and puzzles as Christmas gifts is a time-honored tradition in our family. This is why I’ve found the best new games for 2021 that my kids and yours will love to play.

From card games to board games and dice games, you’ll also discover the best classic games from years past that you don’t want to miss. Because you don’t have to be new to be a great gift for kids.

Get ready for some tabletop game family fun!

2021 Holiday Gifts and Toys for Kids

The Best Games Gifts for Kids and Families 2021


Monkey Around

ages 2+
From Peaceable Kingdom, this game is a fun game for gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, imitation, vocabulary, and social-emotional skills through play! Toddlers will do the prompts that include movements like hugs to high fives to simple gross motor skills like balancing, hopping, and marching.


Story Time Chess

ages 3+
Learn to play chess with chess pieces that have unique stories and 30 mini-games, all of which teach children the rules of the chess game.

 


Ravensburger Friends of a Feather

ages 3+
A quick game for two to five players and perfect for preschoolers!


Animals Upon Animals

ages 4+
You’ll love this wobbly stacking game where players race to place all their animals on the animal pile first. Roll the die to see how many animals you can stack up– or if you get to add to the base. A fun interactive game (that we love) that fosters hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.


Ladybug Memory Game

ages 4+
SO adorable — and great for fine motor skills, memory, and visual discrimination. Lift the chunky ladybugs two at a time to find a match!


Jack and the Beanstalk

ages 4+
My kids and I love Smart Games 1 player 3D logic and deduction games and this new choice is no exception. Comes with 60 challenges!


Hape Robot Factor Domino

ages 4+
This cool STEM toy from Hape lets kids build with ball tracks, dominos, and catapults plus a tunnel, car, spinning arm, and more!


Make a Pie!

ages 5+
EeBoo games are some of our favorites. This game introduces kids to fractions –– and helps to reinforce halves, thirds, fourths, eighths, and sixteenths.


Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy

ages 6+
Love Pokemon? This game at the Battle Academy will teach you everything about Pokemon. It gives you 60 cards, a board, damage counters, and a coin plus codes for online play.


Gnomes at Night

ages 6+
Work as a team in this fun cooperative search and find maze game. Move the magnetic gnomes around the maze as you chance a thief who is running around the maze leaving clues.


MudPuppy Map of the World 78 Piece Puzzle

ages 6+
Learn world geography with this beautiful world puzzle!

 


Check the Oven 

ages 7+
A hilarious game of bluffing where kids develop confidence and solid math skills! Players use strategy, humor, and logic to accumulate cards adding to 12.


BrainBolt Memory Game

ages 7+
A light-up memory game from Educational Insights that will challenge you to remember the light sequence and see how long you can remember it correctly! (For one or two players.)


Flipside

ages 8+
Match the colored blocks to the lights using memory and speed! Great for individual play or multiple-player fun.

ousid
OuiSi

ages 4+ or 10+
I love how many open-ended game options there are for the 210 photographic cards. Kids will not just have fun but make connections and visual matches to playfully increase their cognitive flexibility.


Beat That! 

ages 9+
Perfect for multiple ages of children, teens, and grown-ups, this is a party game for up to 8 players with fun challenges and battles of coordination, motor skills, dexterity, and teamwork.

Blobby’s Pizza Math Card Game
ages 9+
(Our favorite thing about this game is the ordering pad because it’s so cute!) But really, it’s also a fun and engaging game where you’re trying to earn the highest bill by building and eating whole pizzas. Play from your plate and the table and use the monsters to steal pizzas from other players. While you’re at it, you’ll be practicing addition, fractions, decimals, and percentages!


Abandon All Artichokes

ages 10+
From our friends at Gamewright, this new veggie power game’s goal is to ditch all the artichoke cards (to the compost) in favor of other vegetables.


Mystic Market

ages 10+
Hone your strategy and math skills and learn basic economics, all in a fun card game for 2 to 4 players. You’ll buy and sell magical potion-making ingredients to make sets then make the potions and trade them to earn points! Plus, aren’t the potion vials fantastic?


Happy City

ages 10+
A building strategy game from Gamewright where players earn money to build their own cities with buildings and people — and the happiest city wins.

Magic The Gathering Forgotten Realms
Magic: The Gathering Adventures in The Forgotten Realm
ages 9+
A team-up between Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, creating the ultimate fantasy card game.


Dune Gale Force Nine

ages 14+
Along with the (incredible) updated Dune movie, here’s an updated board game based on the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel! Become the leader of one of the factions then fight to gain control of the spice and the planet Dune.

More Essential Games to Give as Gifts

roll and play
Roll and Play

Think Fun
ages 18 months+
Honestly, you don’t find many games for this age group and this is the best interactive card game for toddlers and preschoolers I’ve seen. Roll the big colored dice, pick the matching color card, and do the action. There are 48 game cards in six age-appropriate categories.


Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!
ages 3+
Preschoolers love to play this award-winning game. Parents and teachers love it because it builds color recognition and counting practice as well as fine motor practice. Use the squirrel Squeezers to put the colored acorns into their logs. The first person to fill up their log wins. (Full review here.) A best game for kids under five.

silly street
Silly Street

ages 4+
An award-winning cooperative game that includes many types of play: dramatic, communication, creative, interpretive, competitive, teamwork. It’s FUN and silly!

Heads Talk Tails Walk
ThinkFun Heads Talk Tails Walk
ages 3+
Can you walk like a chicken while meowing like a cat? Match bodies with heads! But if you make a mismatch, everyone makes the mismatched animal’s sounds and motions! Hilarious! This is one of the best games I’ve seen for preschoolers.


Peaceable Kingdom Fire Truck Pups Floor Puzzle

Ages 3+
Preschoolers love fitting together these sturdy, large shapes into a large floor puzzle.


Guess Who? 
ages 6+
Two players, deductive reasoning, communication, and fun! Try to guess your opponent’s mystery player. This game will be a favorite choice for YEARS to come.

yeti
Yeti in My Spaghetti

ages 4+
What a blast! Start out with the noodles across the top of the bowl with the Yeti on top. Players take turns removing the noodles one-by-one without letting Yeti fall. If it falls, you’re out.
spot it
Spot It 
ages 6+
Have you played this addictive card game yet? It’s a blast, easy to play, and just right for your purse or suitcase. Your goal is to match any of the images on your cards to the card in the middle. The winner is the player who is out of cards first.

Bounce-Off
ages 6+
Race to recreate the pattern on the challenge card by bouncing balls into the grid. The first color to complete the pattern wins the card. Earn 3 cards to win the game. This game is one of the best family games for kids and parents to do together!! Review here.

Buildzi

ages 6+
Another game from the makers of Tenzi! This game asks players to study the picture on the card and build it. LOVE it!
The 30 Best Games for Kids (Give as Gifts for Christmas 2019) Avocado Smash
Avocado Smash! 

ages 6+
A fun avocado twist on the game of Snap for kids! It’s simple to learn and quick to play. Switch and smash quickly to win this fun game.

Wooden Sudoku

ages 6+
You’ll love this beautiful two-sided Sudoku wooden game board with smooth, wooden titles of numbers and shapes! Use the booklet with 60 challenges to get children started playing. The booklet gives starting positions for the tiles in three levels of difficulty and on two game boards, 4×4 and 6×6. Not only is this a FUN game for one player, but it’s also great for critical thinking, pattern recognition, problem-solving, visual/spatial thinking, and deductive reasoning. (Win-win!)

Bubble Talk gifts for 10 year old boys

BubbleTalk
ages 8+
Each player chooses the funniest caption from his or her cards. The judge picks the winner and that winner keeps the funny card. Take turns being the judge. HILARIOUS!


MudPuppy Double-Sided Puzzle 100 Pieces

ages 6+
Get a 2 for 1 puzzle with colorful animals on one side and black and white animals on the other. So cute, right!?


Tenzi Game

ages 7+
Tenzi is a SUPER FUN yet simple dice game that works for almost all ages (except the ages 0 – 3) which is why it’s one of our top recommendations (aka. the BEST) family night game. Be the first player to get all ten of your dice to show the same number. Full review here.


Sleeping Queens

ages 8+
Help the Sleeping Queens wake up by waking them up with the Kings and be the first player to reach 50 points. We ADORE this game and play it all the time. (My 14-year-old has loved this game since she was little!) It’s easy to play, fun, and great for family game night.

Blue Orange Maki Stack
ages 7+
Aren’t these wooden sushi pieces the best? Pick a card and race to build a matching stack using the sushi, soy sauce, and mat. My daughter and I often play this before bedtime and love it. We like that it takes about 10 – 15 minutes and makes us laugh. A great gift option for 2019. (Full review here.)

scrambled states of america
Scrambled States of America

ages 8+
This card game gets regular play in our house. Not only is it fun to play but it gets kids more familiar with the United States.


RushHour Traffic Jam Logic Game
ages 8+
Not only does this game provide hours of strategy and problem solving but it’s FUN to accomplish these tricky puzzles. We are big fans.

word a round
Word-A-Round

ages 10+
We laugh so much during this game as we totally butcher words trying to figure them out. In fact, my daughter has started writing down the funny words we invent on accident.) To win a card, you correctly read the word around one of the colored circles. The player with the most cards wins.

Blokus
Blokus
ages 7+
This is my personal favorite family strategy game — mostly because occasionally I can beat my kids. They love this game, too — and let me win sometimes. Isn’t that nice?

Games & Puzzles Holiday Gift Guide
Dr. Eureka!
ages 8+
My kids (and husband) like this game so much. To play, turn over one of the challenge cards. Try to match the formula in one of your 3 test tubes using the 6 colored balls. Move the molecule balls from tube to tube –but don’t touch! Read my full review here.
Quixx dice game
Qwixx – A Fast Family Dice Game

ages 8 +
Qwixx is a simple but fun strategy dice game where the more numbers you cross off, the more points you score. With no downtime between turns, you’ll have a chance to gain from each and every roll.

Foosball Table

A reasonably priced competition-sized foosball table brings fun to any setting, perfect for home game rooms.

 


Brain Waves: The Astute Goose

ages 8+
Put your thinking caps on for this unique award-winning memory game which asks players to recall what the burglary suspect was wearing, the color, and the animal he is holding. An added bonus to the thinking fun is that it can be for 1 to 5 players!


Twin It!

ages 8+
Think fast and spot identical pairs. Grab the match. But don’t get tricked by similar patterns– because they can get stolen if a third match appears.


Hi Lo Flip 

ages 8+
Easy to learn and fun to play with the entire family– this is a numbers card game with visual discrimination and probability elements.


Pairzi
ages 6+
Play up to five different games, have fun, and practice cognitive flexibility, speed, working memory, and more. Created by the game Tenzi, Pairzi is a fast-paced card and dice game with cute critter cards.


Ubongo

ages 8+
I love this game — it reminds me of Tetris and it works for 1 to 4 players. Fit your shapes into the puzzle, win gems, and the player with the most gems wins the game. Geometry fun!

Gifts for 11-Year Old Boys
The Settlers of Catan
ages 14+
Players must roll and trade for resources to build roads, settlements, and cities for points. The first to ten points wins. It’s easy to learn but the strategy requires some practice –it’s a very popular game for families and friend groups!


Cahoots
ages 10+
If you like cooperative card games, give this 2019 choice a whirl. You’ll be working on a team to complete a series of goals matching colors or numbers during a timed session of play.

Codenames
Codenames

ages 14+
Word clues, spies, an assassin, and some deductive reasoning, this game is the total package — and one of the best games to play with a larger group of people.

2021 games for families and kids

Want more awesome gift ideas?

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Gift Guides by Age

Best Gifts for 3 Year Olds

Best Gifts for 4 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 4 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 5 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 5 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 6 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 6 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 7 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 7 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 8 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 8 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 9 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 9 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 10 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 10 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 11 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 11 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 12 Year Old Boys
Best Gifts for 12 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for 13 Year Old Girls

Best Gifts for Teen Boys
Best Gifts for Teen Girls

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2 Responses

  1. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for games for special needs male about 14 years old. Very unsociable and sits by himself at lunch time. Hoping a cool game might attract others to join him.

    1. Ray,
      Magic the Gathering is a big hit with many boys. Other longer games that might be of interest are Catan and Ticket to Ride. If those aren’t up his alley, you could go with something like Battleship, Apples to Apples, Blokus, or Five Crowns.
      I also wonder about Minecraft servers online — my kids like the Harry Potter server — and for my oldest daughter who struggled with making friends in real life, her online friends gave her confidence.

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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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