Board games are sneaky. You and your preschooler are having fun playing together, but at the same time they’re learning things like counting, pattern recognition and the alphabet; plus life skills like turn-taking, good sportsmanship, and rule-following. I love playing games with my girls (ages 2 and 6). Here are some of our favorites.
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
This is similar to the older game Hi Ho Cherry-O, but better! In addition to counting, it teaches color recognition, and using the squirrel shaped tongs to pick up the acorns is great for hand-eye coordination and pre-writing skills. Plus, it’s good for lots of giggles, because someone always drops an acorn!
This classic game has been updated with wacky pieces, allowing for some super fun and creative bugs to be made!
Older preschoolers (who can handle the sadness of being “sent home”) will love this game, because of the fun of popping the bubble, and the excitement of trying to send their opponents home.
Perfect for teaching counting and basic addition, this game is a fun way to match up favorite characters and rack up points.
This one is always popular for a reason: no reading skills are needed, and everyone loves candy!
Part of a line of cooperative board games from Peaceable Kingdom, Mermaid Island is a fun game where all the players must work together to beat the sea witch. So either everyone wins, or everyone loses. Cooperative games like this one or Hoot Owl Hoot are nice for kids who struggle with losing.
Goodnight Moon Game
Perfect for the youngest of game players, the Goodnight Moon Game is a very simple memory & matching game. It includes pictures from the classic book by Margaret Wise Brown.
ABC Letter Game
This Super Why themed game is an excellent way to help kids match rhyming words, recognize their alphabet, and even read simple three letter words like ‘can’ and ‘mop’. Each player gets to be one of the characters from the Super Why tv show.
Sequence for Kids
Sequence for Kids is a great way to introduce matching and strategy – players use chips to cover animals which correspond to animal cards in their hands. With older kids, the goal is to get 4 chips in a row to win. With my 2 year old, we just practice matching cards to animals on the board.
Spot it Jr.
This one is great because it’s so portable and there’s no learning curve. It’s an easy and fun matching game, where all the players are trying to find the same animal on two cards at the same time.
Kerplunk! is a favorite in our house. It doesn’t require any reading or number skills, but it does require some fine motor skills, and a willingness to have marbles pour down on you!
There are hundreds of different memory sets, with all kinds of characters on them. Memory is a great way for even small kids to practice shape and color recognition!
This is a fun twist on the classic card game where kids have to match together animals as they come out of their barn. The first person to get all their critters back into the barn wins!
Little kid dominoes don’t usually involve scoring, but matching pictures of animals or characters is a great way to learn pattern recognition and get them ready for Mexican Train Domino battles in a few years!
What games do YOU play with your kids?