Recommend games for a 6-year-old

As part of my plans to use time travel to save the world from mass murderers before they happen, I act as a big brother for a six-year-old boy. He’s cool-- likes bicycling, kayaking, playing soccer, and playing games. All stuff I like to do as well, except when I sit down and play a board game, I’ve always gone for the incredibly complex stuff. Civilization (pre-computer game folks); Axis & Allies; Puerto Rico; Carcassonne. While these are great fun, they’re *way * too complex for a six-year-old to master. Heck, he can barely keep straight all the moves for Chess (but he is learning).

Now I did manage to come up with a Carcassonne variant that he can play with some skill, but does anyone else have some recommendations for games a six-year-old will enjoy that won’t get terminably boring after six goes around the board? And please remember that it’s gotta be at least mildly interesting for me as well :wink:

There are lots of good card games for kids. Rummy and crazy eights come to mind.

I come from a card-playing family. I was playing poker by age 10.

I’ve got a six-year-old daughter, and we like to play lots of games.

Lego Creator–a board game where you go around the board and collect pieces to create the Lego model on your card. Some spaces let you steal bricks from other players, so it gets quite interesting then :).

Aquarius–a card game published by Looney Labs. It’s sort of like hippie-themed dominoes with cards. You match the pictures of the different elements (earth, air, water, fire, and ether), and when you get a group of seven of your element together, you win. Of course, what often happens is that you get a big group together, and then someone plays a card that changes your element!

Monopoly Junior Dig’n Dinos–It’s like Monopoly, except you are a paleontologist who is going around the board buying dinosaur fossils (and charging other players for the privilege of seeing your fossil when they land on it). Much, much shorter than a game of regular Monopoly (which my kid likes too, but I get bored).

Checkers and Chinese Checkers–Good strategy games that are easier to learn than chess. My daughter likes Chinese Checkers a lot.

Backgammon–My husband has started to teach her this game (I don’t know how to play). His ex-roommate is from Iran, and apparently backgammon is very popular there. It appears to have a good mix of luck and strategy.

Go Fish–The only problem with this game is that it’s sometimes difficult for kids to keep all those cards in their hand!

Uno–Don’t bother with the “kids” version, just get the regular one. A new set even has symbols for “reverse” and “skip”, so that kids don’t even have to remember what “R” and “S” stand for. (My kid doesn’t read well yet, but she knows the cards by sight.)

Uno Stacko–(aka Jenga with colored bricks) You roll the die, and it tells you which color of brick you can pull out. Kids like it when the tower crashes!

Hope this gives you a good start!

I read a few hundred papers written by nine-year-olds about their favorite games last month. The ones they said they enjoyed playing with their younger siblings are ones like Monopoly Junior/Disney Monopoly (with the set time limit rules, not until money runs out), Life, Sorry and Uno.

Junior Trivial Pursuit is good too. Just make sure you get a recent version, or the kid will have no idea about the entertainment questions.

Wow, Tamex, you have one smart 6-year-old.

Some fun dumb games I liked at approximately 6 years old:


Chutes and Ladders



Candy Land


Hungry, hungry hippos

Clue Jr.

Pictionary Jr.

If you want to introduce some rudimentary strategy games, you could try Battleship and Stratego.

The Harry Potter collectible card game is surprisingly fun. It’s a simplified version of Magic: The Gathering. Works best if the kid is interested in the books, of course.



pick up sticks


Well…the OP did say that they wanted games that didn’t get boring for adults, so I left out Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. She loves those games, but they get a bit tedious for adults :).

Oh, I forgot Kerplunk! My sister bought her this game for Christmas. Lots of good stick-pulling and marble-dropping fun!

We’re a game-playing family, all right. My husband is a Magic: the Gathering addict, and he’s taught our daughter to play that. She memorizes all the cards in her deck and what they do, because she can’t read them. He makes her special decks full of firepower and cool creatures. It’s sometimes kind of scary. She also plays my rat familiar in our Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Oh, Scabble’s right out-- I’ve got a list of all valid two and three letter words in my wallet right now, which I memorize when I’ve got nothing better to do :wink: He can barely spell

We’ve already played Checkers and Backgammon, which are good two person games, but I always thought Clue was somewhat lame when there were just two of you.

:heads off to find rules for Go Fish:

I’ve also got a six-year-old.
He’s been playing regular Uno for about a year. He’s quite the hustler. I’ve been thinking about taking him to a street corner and letting him earn some extra money. :wink:
It’s very easy to pick up and fun for adults, too.

Checkers and Chinese Checkers are good.

Guess Who? is fun. It’s a two-player game, a bit banal for adults, but the kids like it.

He loves Life. I have to add it all up at the end, though.

I’ve been teaching him Scrabble. He’s in First Grade and has just learned to read. I have to help him sometimes, but he can come up with words on his own. I just have to help him figure out where to place them.

Sorry is another good one. Not too much reading is involved. He’s been playing that for at least a year or so.

Trouble is an old favorite. It’s a lot like Sorry, and there’s definitely no reading needed. They love that popper thing in the middle.


I have absolutely no idea how the game is played, but I gather the point is to obtain magic, powerful cards. All I know is the cards are really, really freaking expensive.

Also, you might try one of those trivia games designed for his age group. They are quite fun to play, even for adults.

I think it’s great that you’re making a difference in a child’s life.


That popper caused so many goddamn fistfights and groundings in my house that I will never subject anyone to the game of Trouble :frowning:

I have a six year old son and we play some of the above mentioned games such as Trivial Pursuit Jr, Uno, Lego Creator, Chinese Checkers, and I’ll add Outburst Jr to the list.

How did the popper thing cause fistfights?

Get him a Timex-Sinclair ZX81 and teach him BASIC programming.

What, it worked for me. At least until I wrote a program that overloaded the memory.

OK, so I’m a big geek. :stuck_out_tongue:

My children and I enjoy Parcheesi, “the ancient game of India.” When I was growing up, we had an “ancient Egyptian” game called Oh-Wah-Ree (I think that’s how it was spelled). Both games are pretty simple but have lots of strategy possibilities.

If anyone has seen Oh Wah Ree available, let me know! I’d love to play it with my kids.

Parcheesi is a big game in this house too, there is enough stratagy to keep a grownup occupied and enough luck that a kid has a chance, plus they get to foil the grownups plans which causes great hillarity. The other huge one that has been a family favorite is cribbage. I think my grandmother taught us all how to play before we could read and it really helps to teach addition. Lots of stratagy. That and just read to him. Read as much as you can. So many kids in that situation never get read to, and there is almost nothing they love more. It is worth another thread to get book suggestions.

The popper? It’s noisy and irritating. That, and if you’re really good you can get it to pop the die straight up and down (and thus imitate the previous person’s die roll). Insidious, nasty thing.

I had a TI-1000. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone :wink:

We’ve actually started to teach our daughter to play cribbage, too. She certainly brings a degree of randomness to the game! She knows that runs and pairs are good, but has a little trouble finding the 15s…but she is only in kindergarten (for a few more days). She also tends to want to play games with the pegs. :slight_smile: