Easter Egg: Preschoolers are both easy and difficult to enthrall at the same time. What they adored yesterday may produce a wrath and fury like you’ve never seen before if you offer it today. The very best board games ignite a child’s imagination, satiate curiosity, and provide a chance for them to practice and master new skills. That’s why I love this list of the top board games that will enthrall your preschooler so much. They are tested, tried and true, by both of my boys who adored all the games on this list at one time or another. Each board game on the list aids in your child’s early development, provides hours of fun for both of you, and allows you to connect with each other during your busy day.
Our family fell into our current level of board gaming quite by accident. We always enjoyed and had a closet with great board games. But then two things happened. First, our tv screen got cracked and was unwatchable. For several reasons, we decided not to replace it right away.
And, I couldn’t believe it, nobody cared!
The boys didn’t ask to watch the smaller bedroom tv. They didn’t ask when the big tv would be fixed or replaced. They just didn’t seem to care!
When I finally asked them whether they missed the tv, they said, “Not really.” They had already filled the tv time with more board games, more imaginative games, more building and creating, and more reading.
The second thing that happened was that I began to homeschool both boys this year. And so I naturally was looking for educational games and realized how much they enjoyed playing the new games with one another or as a family.
And, to be honest, our home has been a happier place ever since. I’m not hounded with, “Can we watch?” I’m not wondering, “What are they watching?” And I don’t worry about whether they will pick up a bunch of trash talk from the tv.
The truth of the matter is that board games have been around since at least 3000 B.C. They’re absorbing, engaging, and hilarious fun.
But let’s talk specifically about the preschool set. Just as lion cubs learn valuable life lessons from play – so do our children learn from play. Board games are filled with lessons that little ones soak in – patience, taking turns, color recognition, winning and losing, letter recognition, spatial reasoning, memory, strategy, executive function, early math skills, cooperation, imagination, resilience, emotional regulation, fine motor skills, and the joys of spending quality time with family. And if you start a regular family game night, you even have a new family tradition for everyone to anticipate throughout the week!
With only three exceptions – these are all games that we have owned or played extensively, and I’ve included them because they were a big hit with both of my boys.
And why the three exceptions, you ask? Well, let’s just say…how can I not want to say (repeatedly) and spread the word “rumpus?” As in…Raccoon Rumpus. So. #rumpusrocks
Top Preschool Board Games for 2 to 4 Players
Raccoons have raided your closet and they’re having a rumpus! Help these masked bandits get dressed—the critter that collects the most costumes wins! Roll the jumbo color die and costume die, and search the cards for a match. Find it and put it on your critter card! Roll the underwear (kid-funny every time!) and lose your costumes; if you get the rainbow you can choose any one you want!
Lift one eye of the matching adult frog and roll 2 multi-colored dice to find out if your baby frog can hop forward in to race. Froggy Boogie reinforces color recognition, memory and social skills.
Take turns sliding the colorful swords into the pirate’s barrel, but beware! Choose the wrong slot and the pirate will pop out. Kids love seeing him fly! The barrel slot that will make the pirate pop changes every time you play!!
Do you remember playing Chutes and Ladders when you were a kid? Introduce new generations to the classic gameplay of this kids’ board game for 2 to 4 players
Chutes and Ladders can be a great game for kids who haven’t learned how to read yet. Just spin the spinner and move the pawn up the ladders and down the chutes. Players scramble to the top of the game board without slip-sliding down!
The classic game of Sequence made just for kids! Play a card from your hand – no reading required – and place your chip on the corresponding character on the board – the first with four chips in a row wins! This is an exciting strategy game that helps develop logical thinking skills.
Join Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm on a Busytown adventure, racing around Busytown to search for hidden objects in this fun-filled collaborative. Richard Scarry’s classic world comes to life in the gigantic, colorful game-board. Drive through city streets, and activity-filled farm, a busy airport, and a bustling harbor full of boats. There’s so much to discover along the way!
After setting up the game board, placing the ferry at the end of the road, and the food items on Picnic Island, everyone chooses a mover. On your turn, the spinner will tell you to move, take away one food item from Picnic Island and spin again, or solve a Goldbug Mystery! To solve a Goldbug Mystery you flip a Goldbug Card and work as a team to find the item on that card on the game board. For each item your team finds you get to move forward a space. To win, all players must be on the ferry and arrive at Picnic Island before the pigs eat all the food.
In Sneaky, Snacky, Squirrel, your forest pals are hungry and need your help. Help them find their acorns in this fun and addictive toddler board game designed to teach young children about colors. Easy to understand and play—no reading required. Easy set up and clean up; box doubles as storage.
The Flip-Flopping, Ant-Hopping Game. You remember! Try to get all your ants in the pants. Super fun and easy for all to play!
Sharkbite players take turns rolling the die and fishing for the colorful sea creatures using the fishing rod, but watch out – you never know when the shark will bite! Sharkbite is super easy to set up – just snap the sea creatures into the game unit and start fishing!
Go on an eggspedition with Pengoloo, an enchanting memory game for children. Go on a South Pole Egg-spedition with this all wooden memory game. Players roll two colored dice and lift two penguins to search for colored eggs that match the dice. Collect six penguins on your iceberg to win!
A True HABA classic, Animal Upon Animal is fun for the whole family! Players race each other to be the first to place all of their wooden animals upon the animal pile before any of the other players. A roll of the die tells the players how many animals can be placed or whether they can add to the alligator base.
Don’t Break the Ice (or BREAK the Ice as my youngest loved to call it…) is a tried and true favorite. Players tap out ice blocks one by one, trying to win by keeping Phillip the Penguin on top of the ice.
Everyone knows the Classic Hungry Hippos game has 4 hippo heads and bodies plus marbles for them to chomp! A hilariously good time for all! You’ll have a chompin’ good time with the classic hippo-feeding Hungry Hungry Hippos game! Hungry Hippo and his pals are ready to join in the feeding frenzy, and when you release all the marbles onto the game base, they’ll be chomping after them! You can be Hungry Hippo, Veggie Potamus, Sweetie Potamus or Bottomless Potamus.
Down on the farm, the chickens are as happy as can be on their perch. But when one stirs, everything starts to wobble! Get the chickens, wagon wheels and hay bales off the rocking perch without making it topple. The pieces in this counting game have different weights and point values. The player with the highest score wins the game. A game of balance, counting and laughs where the roost goes Chickyboom!
Work together to find matching bugs and slip them under the rug before the arrival of the 3 stink bugs. Three levels of play add more challenges. Game teaches counting, colors, numbers, and shape recognition, while building visual discrimination and cooperation. No reading required.
Given how busy life is, it can be hard to set aside time to just play! Hoyle card games are designed for maximum fun while also helping kids develop specific cognitive skills, just by playing. It’s fun first but there’s always room for a lesson. Hoyle 6-in-1 fun pack contains six classic unique-themed kids card games. Games develop leaning skills like matching, color identification, counting, a-z Letters, making pairs, taking turns and more.
Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie has gone missing, and now it’s a chicken chase to crack the case! In Outfoxed you move around the board to gather clues, then use the special evidence scanner to rule out suspects. You have to work together quickly because the guilty fox is high-tailing it towards the exit! Will you halt the hungry hooligan before it flies the coop or will you be outfoxed?
Top Toddler Board Games That Can Accommodate 4+ Players
The Woozle loves to eat hairy pickles and fuzzy donuts. Kids help feed him 12 crazy treats before the snacks are all gone. A monstrous game of mixed up fun!
Feed the Woozle comes with three levels so it grows with your child. No reading required, so even the smallest can participate!
Two words: Robot Turtles. This game teaches kids 4+ the ins and outs of programming in a fun, tactile game. Perfect for 2-5 players, this game has levels of increasing difficulty, introducing obstacles and more complex Code Cards. Beginner to Advanced levels will make it a family favorite for many years!
Work together to stack 12 blocks before the Stack Smasher gets there & topples it! Spin a color & stack a block. Spin a Challenge & add a tricky task like stacking with one eye closed! Kids learn balance, color matching, hand-eye coordination & working cooperatively. Game has 3 levels of play instructions included so it can grow with your child.
Best Board Games That Toddlers Can Play Independantly
Kids can have fun putting each piece in the spot on the tray that matches its shape before the time is up and the puzzle tray pops the pieces out. The Perfection game is easy to set up and can be played over and over again!
Kids can join the Elefun elephant in this fluttery butterfly chasing game! Butterflies will be blown out of his trunk while kids use their nets to chase butterflies around the room. The motorized Elefun elephant begins the game with a trumpet call. Then it plays music throughout the game while it blows butterflies out of its long trunk. In this lively and active game, kids can chase the butterflies that come out of the elephant’s 3-foot trunk.
Get ready for some reel fun with Let’s Go Fishin’, the original version of a well-known and well-loved fishing game that parents will remember playing when they were kids. This classic kids game teaches hand-eye coordination as players use their mini fishing poles to try to catch the most fish. With a rotating pond and hungry fish that open and close their mouths, Let’s Go Fishin’ provides fast-paced fishing fun that will lure kids into playing over and over again.
Build the honeycomb with honey and the Queen Bee at the top.Use your paws to poke out pieces of honeycombs, snatching up delicious gobs of honey to munch for lunch. But don’t let the Queen Bee tumble! Losing really stings!
This game grows with its players! Simple rules but tricky play make this the perfect game for teaching strategic thinking, problem solving, and turn-taking. The more you play together, the more strategy comes to play!
Can you help a little girl who’s sad because she’s standing out in the rain or a boy who’s afraid of the dark? Get a token from the helping bag & see if you can help someone.
In playing Friends & Neighbors, and reading about the feelings and needs of the characters, parents can help their children recognize feelings in others – the first step to building empathy.
*Just a note about this one – it’s been discontinued, so it’s crazy expensive. We were lucky and found ours – in really good shape – at a yard sale. This is one of my son’s favorite games of all time – it’s a sure winner if you can find it! Hullabaloo is the high-energy game loved by kids of all ages, Simple, out-of-the-box fun – just turns it on and goes, Encourages listening, problem solving and friendly competition, Kids play alone or with friends -giggling guaranteed, Thousands of game variations, so kids never tire of the fun!
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