Growing up, board games were always a fun way to pass the time with friends and family during sleepovers and rainy days. Even well into adulthood gathering around the table for a little friendly-competition of Apples to Apples or Charades became a hit during holiday get-togethers.
But as parents to small children, carrying on that tradition is sometimes difficult with so many board games being a bit more complex as they are typically geared towards older kids.
So with the holidays drawing near, I wanted to put together a list of our favorite family-friendly board games that included the little ones. Games that our preschooler (and even our toddler) could partake in to make for a perfect addition to a family game night.
These board games would also be great age-appropriate gift ideas for those 3 and 4 year-olds practicing key skills to prepare for kindergarten. Whether it’s color and letter recognition or cooperation and listening, these fun board games will be sure to keep the little ones entertained and learning!
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Board Games Your Toddler and Preschooler Will Love
Candy Land is a classic board game that instantly appeals to young children. I mean what kid wouldn’t love a candy-adorned game?! But beyond the colorful visual appeal and fun candy characters like Queen Frostine and Candy Cane Forest, Candy Land is an easy racing board game perfect for those still working on basic skills like learning to follow directions. Players take turns moving their pawns towards the castle where King Kandy awaits!
There really is no easier game than this classic memory matching game kids can play alone (during quiet activity time) or with the whole family as they practice their memory and recognition skills.
For toddlers, we like to keep the cards facing up so the little ones see it as more of a recognition game; for preschoolers you can turn them over so kids can get more of a challenge and practice memory skills!
This is a new game we recently came across but have found it to be so much fun for younglings. Players take turns removing pretend noodles from a bowl of spaghetti where Yeti sits. If Yeti falls, player is out! While not a traditional board game, it still offers plenty of fun for the whole family while kids practice their fine motor skills.
Another key skill for preschoolers to master is working together — and this color-coded cooperative matching game has players doing just that. Players must work as a team to help the owls fly back to their nests before sunrise. Hoot Owl Hoot also helps kids learn about creative problem-solving as well as develop their social skills. This one is sure to be a hoot ;)!
This is simply one of the BEST toddler board games I’ve seen. The set comes with a colored cube and deck of colored activity cards. Your toddler just rolls the cube (color identification) and then chooses an activity card of the same card to perform a simple task like “clap your hands” or “find something blue.”
It’s so simple, yet packed with so much fun learning for young kids. My kids love playing this game and never get tired of rolling that huge, soft cube!
Preschoolers will love the easy, kid-version of the popular adult game that introduces letter and word recognition, matching, spelling and memory. Boggle Jr. uses pictures and matching games to allow children to make the connection between objects and their names — and as kids build their skills they can adjust the game to challenge themselves further.
If you think this game sounds like Bingo, you’re right! Zingo is a matching game for pre-readers, encouraging them to match pictures and words to their challenge cards. And like Bingo, young minds must race to be the first with a full card and yell “ZINGO!” This board game is comprised of two levels to build language skills through fast-paced play!