Games Meant for Adults that Kids Can Play Too

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While there are some awesome children’s games out there, many are just abysmal. If it’s game night, you’d rather play an awesome hobby game than another round of Snakes and Ladders. But there’s no reason you can’t play a challenging game with the younglings. Here are three games meant for adults that you can play right along with your kids.

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island has two great things going for it: an engaging theme and cooperative gameplay. The cooperative nature means that everyone is working together. If your child needs a little assistance to decide what to do, it’s easy to accommodate. And, because everyone is on the same team, there’s no competitiveness that gets in the way of having a good time.

The theme is very exciting. Your group travels to a distant and sinking island. The goal is to gather four lost relics before they submerge beneath the waves. Not only do you have to grab them, but you also have to escape the island before you sink along with it. It’s an extremely evocative setting that really grabs the imagination.

The game also comes with great chunky bits. The fire relic is a translucent red plastic. The chalice and golden gryphon are large and bulky. While awesome to manipulate for adults, it gives the experience an almost toy quality that kids can get behind. I’ve had success with children as young as four.


While not cooperative, Tobago also has an amazing setting. The players are treasure hunters who land on the island looking for gold. Of course, they don’t know exactly where it is, and must work to narrow things down.

The board is completely randomized. It’s broken into three pieces, each of which has a front and back side. You also get to place huts, stone heads, and palm trees almost anywhere on the board. Each is a 3D model and looks gorgeous on the table. From there, players play cards to determine treasure location. A card might say “Next to a river” or “within sight of a palm tree.” Eventually, enough cards are played that the treasure is narrowed down to one location. Then it’s grabbed and distributed.

Being a treasure hunter is extremely appealing to most kids. It’s a concept that’s been reinforced in other media and one that they can readily understand. Plus, Tobago is a great way to teach logic. Figuring out the best way to narrow down the treasure is exciting and you hope to narrow it down so that it ends up closer to you than your opponents.

Kids as young as seven can play this game competently. And if you remove the curses and amulets, you have a great time that even a four year old can enjoy.


Takenoko is one of the prettiest games that’ll ever hit your table. The artwork is fun, but it’s the bamboo that really gets people to take notice. Over the course of the game, the bamboo will grow in the Emperor’s garden and that is represented by 3D pegs that join together. It’s great to see the progress of the garden emerge over time.

Each turn, a player rolls a die and gets a special power. Then they take two actions. That could expand the board, move the panda, or assist the gardener. From there, they try to complete enough goals to end the game. When the game ends, points are tallied and a winner declared.

While on the lighter side by adult standards, it’s definitely a strategy game. And that makes it a perfect fit for kids. They can develop their strategic thinking in a competitive arena. Plus, the game is gorgeous and keeps the attention of kids and adults alike.

Kids as young as eight should be able to get into this game and play it with some skill. But I’ve had success even with my four-year-old, given a little prompting.

What adult games do you play with kids? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credits: Gamewright Games, Rio Grande Games, and Asmodee Games

Featured Image Credit: Mark Longair | Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

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