Sports & Activities

The Best Board Games for Kids with ADHD (Pandemic Edition)

When my husband and I opened Cape Fear Games in 2009, we didn’t know that our children would be diagnosed with ADHD — or that board games would help us forge such powerful and important connections with them. Here are our Top 10 favorites for energetic, imaginative, fun-loving kids like ours.

Cape Fear Games
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Best Board Games for Elementary Age Kids with ADHD

When we opened Cape Fear Games in 2009, my husband and I did not know our children would be diagnosed with ADHD. We didn’t know that board games would help our family forge powerful and meaningful connections, or that game night would teach so many learning skills. And we certainly didn’t anticipate a pandemic that would make family time more plentiful and pivotal than ever.

We simply knew that board games could bring loads of laughter. We knew that finding new games — beyond Memory and Battleship — could be quite intimidating. And we hoped that we could help facilitate family connections and build a community in our hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Today, as parents of children with ADHD, we have a treasured collection of favorite board games that help to build skills like working memory, recall, focus, and strategic planning. We have found that exercising these executive functions in game play is an added bonus for a child with ADHD experiencing delays. We hope that sharing our list helps your family build skills — and treasured memories!

BONUS: Our Top 10 Board Games for Tweens and Teens with ADHD

Editors' Note: The author of this article is an ADDitude reader. The 'Buy This Game' links below link to her family business, Cape Fear Games. ADDitude receives no commission or compensation whatsoever.

Rory's Story Cubes - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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1. Rory’s Story Cubes

Calling all imaginations! Use multiple sets of pictured dice to become the narrator of your own custom story as it unfolds with each roll. Choose to be as creative or as silly as you like in spinning your tale. The plentiful laughter and inspiration that flow from this game allow parents to effectively sneak in skills such as sequencing, predictions, and phonemic awareness.

Children with ADHD are notoriously imaginative; Rory’s Story Cubes lets us celebrate that wonderful aspect while helping them channel it into some learning and memorable family fun.

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Ice Cool - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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2. Ice Cool

How can you possibly go wrong flicking penguins around a 3-D game board? This fast-paced game of dexterity and tactical thinking challenges your ‘penguin’ to move all over the board chasing down fish while the hall monitor works to stop the action. Gathering all of your fish first requires focus, concentration, and planning, but this game will draw in even the most reluctant player with its unique style of play and eye-catching set up.

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Animal Upon Animal - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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3. Animal Upon Animal

I could (and maybe did) play this game in my sleep. When my boys were in preschool and early elementary school, we played this animal stacking game quite often. Its simple rules and set up make it possible to grab a moment of game time during a busy day. Armed with a wooden die and various animal pieces, each player races to be the first to stack their animals. There is also a giant version for those who appreciate super-sized fun!

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Catan Junior - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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4. Catan Junior

This is an excellent game for children aged 6 to 10 that trains early tactical and strategic-thinking skills. With more simplified rules than the popular adult version, Catan Junior incorporates pirates, hideouts, and gold to create a crowd pleaser we all enjoy.

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The Magic Labyrinth - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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5. The Magic Labyrinth

Playing The Magic Labyrinth, you are transported inside the master’s maze as you attempt to collect lost magical objects more quickly than your competitors. This game builds memory and recall skills as each player works to avoid the labyrinth walls. This game remains a favorite for us because it my son with ADHD and dyslexia mastered it easily and happily. There are pictures, not words, guiding game play and a game is usually completed in around 20 minutes.

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Pitch Car - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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6. Pitch Car

An engaging game for all ages, Pitch Car challenges your nimble fingers as you flick race cars around a track. Using safety railings and 16 wooden boards, this game encourages your little engineer to creatively customize a track and apply basic laws of physics in planning their race car trajectory to the finish line. This game has been a huge hit during school game nights due to the simplicity of its rules and its active play.

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My First Carcassonne - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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7. My First Carcassonne

If you are familiar with board games, then you have likely heard of and enjoyed playing the classic game of Carcassonne. (It’s one of my personal favorites!) This version for children ages 4+ helps to build spatial reasoning, plus organizational and strategy skills as players use their tiles to create the city of Carcassonne and fill the streets with children catching animals.

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Can't Stop - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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8. Can’t Stop

Can’t Stop is a classic “press your luck” dice game that is so sneaky your kids won’t even realize they are honing mental math skills! Who will be the first to conquer three of the eleven number columns as quickly as possible? While the rules are simple, this game is tough to put away — you just can’t stop playing!

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No Thank You, Evil! - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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9. No Thank You, Evil!

A great introduction to role-playing games, No Thank You, Evil! encourages adventurous escapades as players create their own characters and set off on quests limited only by their own imaginations. With rules that adapt to players’ individual abilities, this game is flexible enough to earn the love of a wide range of kids and parents. The added bonus is seeing your kids use reasoning, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills to work cooperatively!

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Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza - Board Games for ADHD Kids
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10. Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza

A swift action card game with silly animal gestures and hand slapping (the table, not your brother!), it’s simplicity of play is a delight! An excellent choice for casual gamers looking for something fast, convenient, and hilarious.

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