Board Games for Kids With a Healthy Twist

For your next family game night, try one of these board games for kids (and parents). Many of them will get you up and ​moving and others teach important lessons about health, fitness, and nutrition. Some do both—and all are fun to play!



PongCano board game box and pieces
Photo from Amazon

This game can be played solo or with a group of up to six people; it's recommended for ages 8 and up. The object is simple: Toss the ball into the volcano. If you miss, give up a gold token. It's harder than it looks, but the eye-hand coordination challenge just may hook you on this game for a whole evening. Yes, you could approximate the game with your own Ping-pong ball and a plastic vase, but the volcano, tokens, and tiki tribes make this version a lot more fun.



Bounce Off game set up
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This bouncing-ball game has some features in common with PongCano. They both work on eye-hand coordination skills, with an added movement bonus of chasing down errant balls that fly off the game table. In Bounce-Off, you're aiming the balls (plural) at a special grid, trying to recreate a pattern in order to beat your opponent. Play head-to-head or in teams of two.


Sturdy Birdy

Board games - Sturdy Birdy
Courtesy of Amazon

Consider this an update on Twister, with a little more balance challenge and the addition of some counting practice too. Instead of twisting together, players take turns attempting the balancing poses one by one. It's recommended for ages 5 and up.​


Jake and the Never Land Pirates Never Land Challenge

Never Land Challenge game pieces
 Photo from Amazon

This game will appeal to fans of the Disney Junior show "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," but is also fun for kids who aren't familiar with the program (especially if they are into pirates). Kids take on physical challenges and work as a team to defeat that famous baddie, Captain Hook.


Angelina Ballerina Dance With Me Game

Dance With Me box and game pieces
Photo from Amazon 

With each spin of the spinner and flip of the card, players create a brand-new ballet routine, learning the moves step by step. No sitting still with this one! The game comes with an audio CD, too. It's recommended for budding ballerinas ages 3 and up.


Schwinn The Biking Game

Game board and pieces
 Photo from Amazon

If your family enjoys bicycling, this is the perfect post-ride game for you. Designed for 2 to 8 players, ages 4 and up, it incorporates lots of bike trivia (with a range of questions, so younger kids or those not as into biking won't be at a big disadvantage) with board game play. But it also offers opportunities to recall and share biking adventures from real life.


The Cat in the Hat - I Can Do That! Game

I Can Do That game pieces
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Fans of Dr. Seuss's famous feline will love this charming game, designed for kids ages 4 to 8. Follow the deceptively simple commands to show that you can do what that cat can do. Or can you?


Jungle Jive

Back of board game box
 Photo from Amazon

Believe it or not, this board game boosts your child's balance, flexibility, and coordination. To play, he must hold the game's "amazing egg," then perform the action shown on a playing card. The challenge: Don't wake the baby bird inside the egg!


Memo Yoga and Yogi Cards

Memo Yoga card matching game
Photo from Amazon

These two simple, cleverly illustrated games help introduce young children to basic yoga poses. Game play follows familiar patterns so it's easy to pick up.


FamilyTime Fun Dinner Games

Research draws a link between shared family meals and kids' physical and mental health. Prompt revealing conversations, or contagious giggles, with Original Dinner Games or its sequels, like Gather 'Round Dinner Game or Pizza Night Family Dinner Game.


Capture the Gag

This hide-and-seek/treasure-hunt combo is versatile, clever, and fun. The "Gags" are two cute critters that can hide almost anywhere, thanks to their built-in suction cups, magnets, clips, and grabbers. Players divide into two teams and each hides one Gag; then they try to find their opponents' Gag first.

Note that this game is out of print, but if you can track down a copy, it's worth it.

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.