Top 10 Games for 6 Year Olds
Top 10 Games for 6 Year Olds
Your child is now 6 years old – welcome to the beginning of the “big kid” years! What makes a 6 year old different from younger kids*?
- They recognize numbers and letters. They are building reading skills.
- They can do more than simple counting: addition, subtraction, or “counting by” (early multiplication).
- They can remember the difference between “left” and “right”.
- Their fine motor skills are improving. They may be able to do something as complex as tying their shoes, or hold a handful of cards.
Six year olds really like to race – whether it’s running, eating, or brushing their teeth. And they place a lot of importance on winning. Games with lots of luck or cooperative games will allow kids to feel the joy of winning even when playing with vastly more skilled players (like Mom and Dad).
This was a harder list to make than our lists for younger children. By six years, most children have very strong opinions on what they do and don’t like. And there are so many good games out there that your six year old can play. We aimed to include many different styles of games that highlight different skillsets: cooperation, communication, memory, racing, stacking, reading, number skills, deduction, clue-giving, and spatial awareness.
1. Sleeping Queens
A classic and recommended by nearly every parent who has tried it with their kids. Play kings to wake up and rescue the queens. But if you don’t like the cards in your hand, you can discard to get new ones. Make “number sentences” (ie. 1+5 = 6 to discard the 1, the 5, and the 6) to discard more cards and get new cards faster!
Not many kids games do “stealing” and “defending” as well as Sleeping Queens.
2. Space Escape (formerly Mole Rats in Space)
This cooperative game by Matt Leacock (Forbidden Island, Pandemic) feels a bit like the classic children’s game Snakes & Ladders. Kids love the space station theme with its cute mole rat astronauts.
Every player gets to play a card from their hand that determines how the astronauts move – but also what the snakes do! Collect equipment and get all the mole rat astronauts to the escape pod – without being bitten by snakes.
There is an envelope with “advanced” cards that make the game a little more interesting as kids get better at it.
3. Rhino Hero
With improving dexterity skills, six year olds may be ready for this classic card-stacking game. Place the folded cards carefully and see who can get rid of all their cards without knocking over the tower. As you get used to the stacking element, try the different symbols (add another card, take another turn, move the rhino) to introduce strategic play to the game.
4. Kids Chronicles: Quest for the Moonstones
Kids love solving mysteries. In Quest for the Moonstones, use an phone/tablet app to “look around” and find items and characters in a fairy-tale world and solve mysteries and puzzles. Kids Chronicles adapts the Chronicles of Crime system to make an entirely new game, appropriate for children.
This game requires a lot of reading. But that makes it great for a parent (or even an tech-averse grandparent) to play with a burgeoning reader. They can trade off and take turns, or do all the reading while letting the kid make all the decisions.
5. Panic Island!
Some six year olds will still love memory games. If they’ve outgrown basic memory games and are ready for more challenge, try Panic Island! In this cooperative memory game, players take turns finding “rescue pairs” of matching colored islanders before the timer runs out.
Watch out for hazards like tornadoes and fog, which will make your next turns wackier and harder! The hazard cards can be customized before each play of this very fast game.
Dragonwood will reinforce number skills, with a small amount of reading. Players make sets of numbers (all the same color, all the same number, or sequences). The more cards they play, the more dice they can roll to try to “capture” a creature or item.
7. Concept Kids
This stripped-down version of Concept is perfect for children. Kids give clues about an animal – where it lives, what colors it might be, whether it’s fast or slow. A single “guesser” tries to figure out what animal it could be.
Concept Kids has two sets of animal cards (easy and challenging) and two sets of rules that can make the game more strategic as the family gets better at it.
Find Concept Kids on Amazon.
8. Snail Sprint
For younger children, we recommend Monza, a very simple racing game. Snail Sprint is just a bit more complex; players can move any snail that matches the dice rolls.
Every player starts with a secret goal of the three snails they want to finish the race. Six year olds will enjoy keeping that secret and being able to move all the snails – and even block snails by landing on top of them. And being able to move the magnetic snails up and over the metal tin adds to the fun.
Kingdomino is one of many “grown up” games that kids even younger than six can play. Let players build their kingdom and match land types together. If your child has learned “counting by”, they can practice that skill to find out how each area scores.
Chess is having a surprising resurgence among kids. But we like Onitama better than chess, especially for beginners. Each player controls five pieces, and all the pieces move in the same (limited) ways. But like chess, there’s a huge amount of strategic depth. Parents may want to take away a few of their pieces for a handicap in early games to equalize the playing field.
Looking for more?
We limited this list to ten very different types of games to include a wide breadth of skills and interests. But we have reviewed over 500 games since the beginning of The Family Gamers. Take a look at our top games for 5 year olds, move up to our list for 7-10 year olds, or our most highly recommended family games.
* Skills expected from a 6 year old compiled with help from: CDC Developmental Milestones.
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