E loves board games! When I was younger, I played a lot, too, but somehow, that stopped during my adult years. Still, I couldn’t wait for E to be old enough to start playing board games, and while we don’t have a huge selection of games, we play our favorites over and over again.
Board games can teach young kids so much, and they can be fun for the whole family if you find the right ones.
If you’re looking for a great gift for young kids that the whole family can enjoy, check out this gift guide of the 10 Best Board Games for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners!
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Chutes and Ladders was E’s very first board game when she’d only just turned 3. I have to admit that she didn’t really get it at the time, and we put the game away for a while. Around 4 years old, she started enjoying the game and playing it in a way that made it enjoyable for her fellow players, too 😉 No reading is necessary for this game, but it does use a spinner with numbers, so we just counted along with her at first. The game can get a bit long if you land on a lot of chutes.
Check out Reviews and Lists of the Best’s Comprehensive Gift Guides for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners for more gifts for kids ages 3-6!
Another very well-known board game for very young kids is Candy Land. This one doesn’t require reading, numbers or counting, movement is based on recognizing colors and symbols. There are … uhm … very strong opinions on the new style of the game board. This game wasn’t part of my childhood, so I don’t hold a strong opinion either way, but if you don’t like this version, there are several other options available.
Hi Ho Cherry-O was another of the first few games we bought for E, and it was the first one she was really able to play and enjoy. It’s really very simple, you don’t even really need to recognize colors. It can even be a one-player game. Something of a downside is that the pieces are quite small, so I wasn’t able to let E play alone for quite a long time to make sure we didn’t lose any (okay, didn’t lose too many – I still kept finding stragglers under the sofa on a regular basis). We had so much fun with the game that it seems worth it, though 🙂
The version we have has three colors, but the Amazon version I’ve linked was updated with a fourth color (orange).
Hoot Owl Hoot is a cute little cooperative game that you can play at different levels of difficulty all based on matching colors. Each round is over fairly quickly, but we usually play several rounds in a row.
E still has trouble losing a game on occasion, so I usually make it a point to play competitive games that everyone has a fair chance of winning. But it can be nice to throw in some cooperative games every once in a while. It’s also a great game for playing with friends who may be a little younger or older, and I’m looking forward to being able to play with both E and N soon.
Check out Easy Peasy and Fun for toys to help learn the alphabet!
I see iffy reviews about the quality of the original Trouble Game, but we have the Frozen version Olaf’s in Trouble and think it’s great. E got it as a gift for her fifth birthday, and we’ve played it many MANY times in the year since. I’m not sure she fully grasps the (little bit of) strategy that you can use in the game, but she really enjoys it, and it’s not terrible for grown-ups to play it over and over again 😉
Kids love books with their names in them. Chickadee Lit has a great list of books for kids with the top 100 baby names!
If you’d like a little change of pace with more of an action game, try Let’s Go Fishin’! It’s perfect for practicing hand-eye coordination and colors, and it works GREAT as a single player game. E almost prefers playing it by herself because she can catch more fish that way 😉 The fish are super cute, and them opening and closing their mouths gives an extra challenge over magnetic fishing games.
Zingo! Sight Words is a fun way of reviewing sight words for preschool through first grade. It uses Dolch words, and because the fun motion of dispensing the word cards means you’ll be playing it over and over, it really helps with reading fluency 🙂
There are many different versions of the Zingo game that focus on different skills. We got started (and hooked!) with the regular Zingo! game, and we’re trying the word builder next! You can also use it to learn math, this number bingo version looks interesting.
If you want to practice addition with a simple game concept, Ocean Raiders is a fun twist on the Chutes and Ladders concept with an exciting underwater theme. Great for practicing addition facts and giving more confidence to your little math learner during family time.
Math Penguins Memory Game is a great quality memory game that extends the basic game idea with numbers, number words, addition, subtraction, and equal signs for a great math practice activity. It comes with a nice, sturdy box that holds all of the cards – a definite plus in my book!
I don’t know much about STEM, but Schooling a Monkey has a gift guide for STEM gifts ideas that I’ve been taking notes from for one of E’s Christmas presents this year!
Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It is a bit of a different game with a GIANT game board. There are a ton of details to discover, so if like E, your kids love games like I Spy, this is perfect for them. It’s also a cooperative game, so kids of different ages can work together and win together. Oh, and it has a spinner, so it pretty much incorporates all of the very best game features kids love 😉
What’s your favorite board game for preschoolers and kindergarteners? Leave a comment below!
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