8 Great Board Games for Kids to Beat Summer Boredom

Ah, summer. The time of year when days are long, dreams are big, and kids invariably run out of things to do. There’s only so many times even the most energetic child can run through a sprinkler, and there are always days that are simply too hot to venture outside. That is when we retreat to the cool(er) basement to play board games.

It is always nice to have a new game or two in order to keep things fresh and fun for the kids. Wondering what to pickup this summer? Here are some of my family’s choices.

Disclosure: Some of the following links may be affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase.

Outfoxed (ages 5+)

Cooperative games are great for families, allowing children of varied ages and/or adults to work together to solve a problem. Outfoxed is a cooperative game geared for the younger set (5 and up, though any child with basic deduction and counting skills could play) and it has everyone trying to find the guilty pie-stealing fox among 16 suspects. As you get better at it, you can turn up the difficulty.

2 children playing Outfoxed the board game at the living room table.
Although they are now a bit above the target age, my boys still enjoy playing Outfoxed.

Enjoy Outfoxed but want a cooperative game that is a little more complex? Try Mole Rats in Space as your next step.

Hive (ages 5+)

The publisher has an age of 9+ on Hive, but I would not wait that long to introduce kids to it! My younger children began playing at a much younger age, about the same time they began learning Chess.

Playing the board game Hive outdoors on a picnic table.
Hive is the ultimate outdoor board game.

Hive is a 2-player abstract strategy game can be played in the dirt, sand, with sticky popsicle hands. Just wipe them down when you are done! And bonus, these tiles will not blow away, so feel free to take them to the beach or camping.

Planet (ages 8+)

My children love seeing their worlds come together while playing Planet. This game requires a good deal of spatial thought as you draft tiles to place on your world, and if it isn’t your strong suit, this game is sure to exercise those skills. The players with the best habitat for each animal gains that animal card, which offers you points needed to win at the end of the game. Throughout the game you’re making tough choices, which was a nice bit of practice for my kids. If you try to get all the cute animals, you won’t get any: an important developmental step as one moves into more complex games.

Planet the game by Blue Orange set up to play
Planet puts a fun spin on tile-laying.

Planet is the perfect fit for animal lovers and those who enjoy a good puzzle.

Rory’s Story Cubes (ages 5+)

When my kids were real little we would make up stories together in the car. I would start it off, “Once upon a time there lived in the woods a family of 3…” and the next person would pick it up, “… MUFFINS!” We would all laugh hysterically and the story would continue on.

Rory's Story Cubes on a table outside
The box doubles as a dice tray so you can pretty much take Rory’s Story Cubes anywhere.

Rory’s Story Cubes is a way to turn storytelling into a game, giving you the paramaters that you will play with. They offer several games you can play, but you can really use them any way you can think of. Imaginative storytelling has gotten us through countless hours of road trips and flight delays. This is great for travel – make sure to pack it into your carry-on luggage for the plane!

Already enjoy Rory’s Story Cubes? Have you tried out their other sets? They have Actions, Voyage, Fantasia, Batman, Scooby Doo, and even Doctor Who to add to your collection!

Pyramid of Pengqueen (ages 8+)

Brave adventuring penguins are attempting to escape the mummy at the Pyramid of Pengqueen! This clever hidden movement game uses magnetic pieces that attach to the 3-dimensional board. One player is the mummy while the others attempt to collect their treasures without getting caught.

Boy playing Pyramid of Pengqueen boardgame
Watching the mummy moving around on your side of the board can be pretty intense.

While the mummy is moving on one side of the board, clueless of where the penguins are, the penguins get to see where the mummy moves. This makes for some tense moments as you watch the mummy move ever so close to your piece, adding to the excitement of the game.

Deep Sea Adventure (ages 8+)

A challenge of a game, Deep Sea Adventure has you diving for treasure, hoping to grab the most valuable pieces you can. But beware! If you run out of air, you drop all your treasure and get no points for the round. This press-your-luck gem is in a small box and is the perfect choice to take to restaurants and coffee shops.

Boy playing Deep Sea Adventure game

For a fun and challenging twist, try playing Deep Sea Adventure cooperatively to see how much treasure you can get, and then try to beat your score!

5-Minute Dungeon (ages 8+)

Have five minutes to spare? Then this game is for you, though chances are you’re going to want to play more than once. 5-Minute Dungeon has you furiously fighting through a dungeon (aka deck of cards), discarding cards as quickly as you can in order to defeat the mobs with your group. Once you get through the deck you still have the boss to defeat – and you only have five minutes to declare the entire dungeon clear. Character abilities and special cards add to this fast-paced game that usually has us yelling and laughing, and oftentimes losing. But always wanting to do it “one more time.”

Playing 5-Minute Dungeon with the kids
5-Minute Dungeon is a wild ride of racing the timer as you work through a dungeon.

5-Minute Dungeon is a great match for those who do not stress easily under pressure. That being said, it is a good game for children who need practice making quick decisions.

Prefer superheroes to fantasy? There’s 5-Minute Marvel as well.

Ion (ages 8+ or younger with variants)

If you have a science lover in your family you need to check out Ion. This is such a fun card-drafting game that has you combining ions to make neutral compounds. Ion is a simple game to teach and plays quick (about 30 minutes) Added bonus: it uses real science – so you may learn something, too!

Playing the card game Ion

Looking for more science games? Then you need to check out Genius Games as they publish some of the best science games out there.

And that is the list my kids and I came up with our recommended board games for summer. How did we do? Do your kids have a favorite they prefer? Let us know in the comments below!

Have an amazing summer!

8 Board Games to beat summer boredom from Pockets of Play


  1. Ryan | Dad Suggests

    June 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Great article! Story Cubes, Outfoxed! and Hive are definitely family favorites. And I think we really need to get Planet, it looks great. Great looking site, can’t wait to see what you come out with next!

  2. Kristi | Pockets of Play

    June 26, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks, Ryan! We are glad you are here. I’ve certainly got some great recommendations from you for books and games!

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