Board games, dice games, and card games make for great classroom play staples. Whether it’s cooperation, strategy, math, literacy, content knowledge, or just fun, there’s a game for that! From classic to brand-new, here are 28 of the best board games for elementary classrooms and beyond. They also make for great gifts for family nights and ways to occupy kids on rainy days at home.
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A take on the original Blokus version (for up to four players), this allows even more students to play. Be the player to get as many of your pieces onto the board before being blocked.
Buy it: Blokus on Amazon
The pop-o-matic bubble is what makes this game so much fun! Be the first to get your player around the board to win.
Buy it: Trouble on Amazon
Teaching an anatomy lesson? It’s time to break out the Operation game! Cavity Sam is under the weather, but students can make him feel better again.
Buy it: Operation on Amazon
4. Monopoly Builder
This is a different spin on the classic Monopoly game. Here players buy property and physically stack buildings with the building blocks. It’s one of the best board games for elementary students that teaches money and negotiation skills.
Buy it: Monopoly Builder on Amazon
The classic game of coordinates and planning ahead. Fun to play, and even more fun to win! Be the first to sink your opponent’s battleship.
Buy it: Battleship on Amazon
This classic game involves strategy and deductive reasoning to figure out whodunit.
Buy it: Clue on Amazon
7. Ticket to Ride
A lesson on geography and a board game? Count me in! Connect iconic North American cities across a map of 20th-century USA and build your train routes to earn points.
Buy it: Ticket to Ride on Amazon
8. Camelot Jr.
Create paths between the princess and the knight with these 48 puzzles of increasing difficulty. The classroom bonus of this logic game (along with Castle Logix, Three Little Piggies, and Little Red Riding Hood from the same company) is in the built-in flexibility. This is one of the best board games for elementary students and beyond, as students can work alone or with peers, progress through the series at their own pace, and check their own answers.
Buy it: Camelot Jr. on Amazon
9. Rush Hour
Here’s another well-loved logic puzzle game that students can play alone or with peers. We love having this on hand for kids who need an extra challenge.
Buy it: Rush Hour on Amazon
10. Time Telling Game
Games and puzzles from EeBoo always win for visual appeal, but this one also scores high for being educational. Tackle a skill that all kids need to learn in a fun and engaging way. Adaptable for telling time to the hour, half hour, five minutes, and a minute—this is a ready-made math center.
Buy it: Time Telling Game on Amazon
Whether you’ve held onto a vintage set or you want to snag the newer version with updated colors, this code-making-and-breaking game is a perennial favorite for indoor recess or kids who finish their work early.
Buy it: Mastermind on Amazon
Do you have students who need to learn how to follow directions and both win and lose with grace? Let this old favorite board game do the teaching.
Buy it: Sorry! on Amazon
This fancy version of the “What am I?” game is hilarious and a language-booster. Use the cards provided or make your own to review vocabulary or content information.
Buy it: Hedbanz on Amazon
14. Rivers, Roads & Rails
Players create a growing map by matching tiles that include rivers, roads, and train track routes. We love leaving this out as a “community game” for students to stop by and play a few turns during a free moment. It is an excellent extension during a mapping unit too.
Buy it: Rivers, Roads & Rails on Amazon
15. Sloth in a Hurry
Add structure and fun to classroom charades with this game that awards participants for creativity in acting out silly scenarios. It’s easily adaptable for team play during a whole-class brain break.
Buy it: Sloth in a Hurry on Amazon
16. Guess Who?
This enduring game is one of our favorites on the list of best board games for elementary classes. Its deductive reasoning builds vocabulary and language skills, and beyond the original cast of characters, there are limitless possibilities for adapting this game to help students review content information. Just replace the cards with pictures related to your curriculum.
Buy it: Guess Who? on Amazon
17. Twister Ultimate
For indoor recess or a movement break, this updated version of the standby group game will get everyone out of their seats and laughing. The larger play mat lets more kids join in the fun!
Buy it: Twister Ultimate on Amazon
18. Top Trumps Card Game
Capitalize on kids’ love of trading cards with this card game that allows students to choose the statistic that will “trump” opponents. Decks come in many topics, from Harry Potter to geography to dogs. Don’t see a deck on the topic you want? Once they know the game, kids love to create their own decks too.
Buy it: Top Trumps Card Game on Amazon
19. Old Mummy Card Game
This updated version of Old Maid appeals to kids with its werewolves, zombies, and other spooky creatures. Introduce it as a Halloween center and leave it out as a fun indoor recess option all year long.
Buy it: Old Mummy on Amazon
Simple to learn and easy to adapt and extend, Tenzi makes for the perfect classroom math game, especially for kids who love to go fast. Be sure to check out our other favorite dice games for the classroom.
Buy it: Tenzi on Amazon
There’s something so satisfying about these smooth wooden tiles. Scale down this attribute-matching game for younger students, or unleash older kiddos to wage full-on strategy battles.
Buy it: Qwirkle on Amazon
Build students’ spatial thinking skills with this fun puzzle game. Twist, turn, and flip 16 dice to re-create the patterns shown on cards. As written, the game directions include three different rounds of play, but the materials are easily adaptable for a shortened version at a math center too.
Buy it: Q-bitz on Amazon
This Connect 4 and tic-tac-toe hybrid requires no setup and encourages kids to think one step ahead. Stack X and O blocks to try to get a row of four—but with different colors and symbols on each block face, students need to be careful their move doesn’t inadvertently win the game for their opponent.
Buy it: Brix on Amazon
24. Apples to Apples Junior
Players must match noun cards to relevant adjective cards. This is one of our fave games for vocabulary development, especially for ELL students. It’s simple to customize it to contain words you want to target too.
Buy it: Apples to Apples Junior on Amazon
Do your students a favor and introduce them to this classic word-lover’s pastime. Kids can play with each other or join forces to beat the teacher.
Buy it: Scrabble on Amazon
It takes patience, a steady hand, and thoughtful consideration to place wire pieces on the game structure without toppling it. This is a fun game to connect to STEM explorations of structures or balance.
Buy it: Suspend on Amazon
This unique storytelling game is an awesome addition to the ELA classroom. Players must describe fantastical cards in creative ways and decipher the descriptions of others. We love how this game can give striving readers and writers the chance to shine creatively.
Buy it: Dixit on Amazon
Here’s a great option that allows advanced and upper elementary students to sharpen their mental math skills. Players create equations from an array of cards to make a target number. The directions suggest including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots as options—but you’re the teacher, so adapt away!
Buy it: Proof! on Amazon