Board games are a fantastic way to spend family time. Sometimes, it can be hard to know which game can be best enjoyed by your kiddos. So I did some research on what board games are best for 7-year-olds, and here’s what I found.
What are some great board games for 7-year-olds? Some of the best board games all have a few things in common, such as ease of play, mastery, and randomness. Some of these games are strategy games, and some are very random. These good games include Sorry, Snakes and Ladders, Operation, Zingo, Sequence, and Checkers.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some kiddos will prefer some games to others, based on personal preference and learning styles.
This is a classic game that I played as a kid. The game ‘Sorry!’ is actually based off of an ancient cross and circle game that originated in India, called ‘Pachisi’.
The objective is to be the first player to get all four of their colored pawns from their start space, around the board (sometimes “backward”) to their “home” space.
The pawns are normally moved in a clockwise direction but can be moved backward if directed. Movement of pawns is directed by the drawing of a card.
The board game is laid out in a square with 16 spaces per side, with each player assigned his or her own colored Start location and Home locations offset towards the center, one per side.
Four five-square paths, one per color, lead from the common outer path towards a player’s Home and are designated his or her “Safety Zone”. On each side are two “Slides”, grouping four or five spaces each.
Older versions of Sorry! contain a colored “diamond space” directly one space back from each start square, with the rules stating that a pawn of the diamond’s color may not move forward over this square.
Instead, a player of that color must diverge from the outer space square towards his or her “Home”. However, the diamond and corresponding rule were removed from subsequent print.
If you happen to get a card and land on an opponent, that pawn goes back to start.
This game is particularly fantastic for 7-year-olds because the concept is extremely simple and easy to play. It is very random because all movement is designated by cards.
The rules are short, sweet and easily mastered. As a bonus, this game can be played in teams, making it much easier for a new player to learn how to play.
If you would like to purchase your child the game of ‘Sorry!’, you can find an excellent and affordable one here.
Snakes and Ladders
Here is another classic that I’m sure many have played. I myself enjoyed this game very much, and I remember it being super fun. This game also happens to be based on another ancient Indian game, from around 2nd century AD.
Not only has this game been played for thousands of years, but it also boasts some impressive mathematics. Any version of Snakes and Ladders can be represented exactly as an absorbing Markov chain since from any square the odds of moving to any other square are fixed and independent of any previous game history.
The Milton Bradley version of Chutes and Ladders has 100 squares, with 19 chutes and ladders. A player will need an average of 39.2 spins to move from the starting point, which is off the board, to square 100.
A two-player game is expected to end in 47.76 moves with a 50.9% chance of winning for the first player. Those calculations are based on a variant where throwing a six does not lead to an additional role, and where the player must roll the exact number to reach square 100. If they overshoot it, their counter does not move.
Math aside, the goal of this game is to have your piece reach the top of the board first.
Each player starts with a token on the starting square (usually the “1” grid square in the bottom left corner, or simply, off the board next to the “1” grid square). Players take turns rolling a single die to move their token by the number of squares indicated by the die roll.
Tokens follow a fixed route marked on the gameboard which usually follows a wiggly track from the bottom to the top of the playing area, passing once through every square.
If, on completion of a move, a player’s token lands on the lower-numbered end of a “ladder”, the player moves the token up to the ladder’s higher-numbered square.
If the player lands on the higher-numbered square of a “snake” (or chute), the token must be moved down to the snake’s lower-numbered square. If a player rolls a 6, the player may, after moving, immediately take another turn; otherwise, play passes to the next player in turn.
The player who is first to bring their token to the last square of the track is the winner.
Variants exist where a player must roll the exact number to reach the final square. Depending on the variation, if the die roll is too large, the token either remains in place or goes off the final square and back again.
(For example, if a player requiring a 3 to win rolls a 5, the token moves forward three spaces, then back two spaces.)
In certain circumstances (such as a player rolling a 6 when a 1 is required to win), a player can end up further away from the final square after their move than before it.
This game is, again, excellent for 7-year-olds because the rules are extremely simple, and the gameplay is as easy as can be. There is little strategy involved, so young players won’t be squashed by older, wiser ones.
If you would like to get started right away on teaching your child this classic game, you can find a fantastic version by clicking this link.
I have very fond memories of playing this game with my grandfather, at their home in Colorado. This game may require some skill and dexterity, but it can definitely be achieved by the average 7-year-old.
After all, I am terribly clumsy and would make a dangerous surgeon, and I still managed to be able to play this game.
Operation includes two sets of cards: The Specialist cards are dealt out evenly amongst the players at the beginning of the game.
In the U.S and Australian version, players take turns picking Doctor cards, which offer a cash payment for removing each particular ailment, using a pair of tweezers connected with wire to the board.
Successfully removing the ailment is rewarded according to the dollar amount shown on the card. However, if the tweezers touch the metal edge of the opening during the attempt (thereby closing a circuit), a buzzer sounds, Sam’s nose lights up red, and the player loses the turn.
The player holding the Specialist card for that piece then has a try, getting double the fee if he or she succeeds.
Since there will be times when the player drawing a certain Doctor card also holds the matching Specialist card, that player can purposely botch the first attempt in order to attempt a second try for double value.
The game can be difficult, due to the shapes of the plastic ailments and the fact the openings are barely larger than the pieces themselves. Below is a list of each body part in the game, as well as the money received for successfully removing it:
- Adam’s Apple: an apple in the throat ($100). “Adam’s apple” is a colloquial term referring to the thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx that becomes more visually prominent during puberty.
- Broken Heart: a heart-shape with a crack through it on the right side of the chest ($100). The phrase “broken heart” refers to an emotional feeling in which someone is very sad for a reason such as a breakup with a romantic partner.
- Wrenched Ankle: a wrench in the right ankle ($100). “Wrenched ankle” is an alternative term for a sprained ankle.
- Butterflies in Stomach: a large butterfly in the middle of the torso ($100). The name comes from the feeling in the stomach when nervous, excited or afraid.
- Spare Ribs: two ribs fused together as one piece ($150). “Spare Ribs” are a cut of meat or a dish prepared from that cut.
- Water on the Knee: a pail of water in the knee ($150). Colloquialism for fluid accumulation around the knee joint.
- Funny Bone: a cartoon-style bone ($200). A reference to the colloquial name of the ulnar nerve which is itself thought to be a play on the anatomical name for the upper arm bone (the humerus).
- Charley Horse: a small horse resting near the hip joint ($200). A “charley horse” is a sudden spasm in the leg or foot that can be cured by massage or stretching.
- Writer’s Cramp: a pencil in the forearm ($200). A “writer’s cramp”, which is a soreness in the wrist that can be cured by resting it.
- The Ankle Bone Connected to the Knee Bone: A rubber band that must be stretched between two pegs at the left ankle and knee. This is the only non-plastic piece in the game and the only card that requires the player to insert rather than remove something ($200).
- Wish-Bone: a wishbone similar to that of a chicken located on the left side of the chest ($300). A “wishbone” is a colloquial name for the Furcula which is a bone found in birds and some other animals. Traditionally, the Furcula of a chicken may be used by two people for making competing wishes.
- Bread Basket: a slice of bread, with a small notch taken out of the top for grip ($1,000). The word “breadbasket” is slang for the stomach.
- Brain Freeze: an ice-cream cone located in the brain ($600). Refers to the experience of “brain freeze”, a headache felt after eating frozen desserts and iced drinks too quickly.
To play this exciting game ASAP, you can click on this link that will bring you to an excellently-priced, colorful edition.
The game Zingo has been in my family’s toy closet since I can remember. The box shows the evidence of being well-used and is barely holding together. But this game is one of the best I’ve found for kiddos, especially 7-year-olds.
Players try to fill their Zingo! cards with matching tiles from the Zingo! “Zinger”. In the game, the dealer slides the Zinger to reveal two tiles at a time.
When a player sees a tile that matches a picture on his/her board, he/she calls out the name of the object and places that tile on the matching space on their board.
If two players have that tile, the person who calls out the name of the object first gets the tile. The first player to fill his/her card wins.
The Zingo cards allow for more or less competitive play. The green sides have fewer images in common with the other 7 boards and are therefore more relaxed and less competitive.
The green sides, however, have many of the same images and make for more intense games between players.
This game is a simple take on the classic Bingo, and can be enjoyed by players of all ages. But it’s good for 7-year-olds especially because the game is easily mastered, and is very fast-paced.
Sitting down for this game is not an hour-long commitment. And the gameplay is almost perfectly random.
To begin your dive into the wonderful and fast world of Zingo, you can find a trusty and inexpensive one by clicking here.
This game is especially fantastic for 7-year-olds and their families, because it can be played alone or in teams, and is very simple.
The object of the game is to form rows of five poker chips on the board by placing the chips on the board spaces corresponding to cards played from the player’s hand.
Sequence can be played with two to 12 players. More than 12 players cannot play. If more than three people are playing, they should divide evenly into two or three teams.
With two teams, players alternate their physical positions with opponents around the playing surface. With three teams, players of a team must be positioned at every third player around the playing surface.
Each card is pictured twice on the game board, and Jacks (while necessary for game strategy) do not appear on the board.
The player chooses a card from their hand and places a chip on one of the corresponding spaces of the game board (Example: they choose Ace of Diamonds from their hand and place a chip on the Ace of Diamonds on the board). Jacks are wild.
Two-Eyed Jacks can represent any card and may be used to place a chip on any space on the board. One-Eyed Jacks can remove an opponent’s token from a space.
Players may use the Two-Eyed Jacks to complete a row or block an opponent, and One-Eyed Jacks can remove an opponent’s advantage.
One-Eyed Jacks cannot be used to remove a marker chip that is already part of a completed sequence; once a sequence is achieved by a player or team, it stands. Once a Jack is played, it ends the turn.
The played card then goes face-up into a “Discard” pile, and play passes to the left.
A player may place chips on either of the appropriate card spaces as long as it is not already covered by an opponent’s marker chip.
If a player possesses a card which does not have an open space on the game board, the card is considered “dead” and may be exchanged for a new card.
When it is their turn, they place the dead card on the discard pile, announce they are turning in a dead card, and take a replacement (one card per turn). Then they proceed to play their normal turn.
This game is good for 7-year-olds that are strategists, and prefer to play a game that requires them to use their brains a little bit more. Beware that because this is a strategy game, not all 7-year-olds will enjoy it.
To find this entertaining strategy game, you can find an affordable, trusted version here.
I’m an old soul. My grandpa (the same one that played Operation with me all those years ago) taught me to play Checkers at a very early age. I am certain that this helped me become a very good strategist.
The basic goal of checkers is to capture the opposing player’s pieces before he or she takes yours.
Taking or “capturing” a piece is done by jumping over it, in a horizontal direction. Regular pieces can only move forward, including jumps, but pieces that have been ‘kinged’ by reaching the last row of the opponent’s side of the board may move forward and backward.
There are several strategies involved with the gameplay of checkers. Jumping, an important element, can be completed quicker by way of ‘double jumps’, wherein a player jumps multiple opposing pieces in a single move.
Jumping is always mandatory. If you or your opponent find yourselves facing a jump, you must take that jump, whether or not it would assist your strategy.
This is an excellent game for 7-year-olds to begin learning because this is a game that they can play throughout their entire lives.
It teaches patience, calculating, and quick-thinking. Again, this is a strategy game, and so it may not be enjoyed by all.
To start teaching your kiddo this classic and enjoyable game, you can click this link to find a version that is affordable and well-loved.
Is it a good idea to give my 7-year-old a game as a birthday or Christmas present? A game can be an excellent gift idea. Getting your child a game as a gift opens the opportunity to play with them and spend more time together.
How can I teach my 7-year-old to like games? Teaching a stubborn kiddo to like playing games can be a frustrating task. Encourage them to learn how to play the game well, offering your assistance where necessary. Let them win, so they’re not always being trumped.