/ June 18, 2022/ Games For Littles/ 0 comments

Generally, when most people think of board games, they think of games meant for teenagers or adults. Monopoly or Sorry! if they’re more mainstream, Ticket To Ride or Catan if they’re more into games, or Pandemic, GloomHaven, or any of a wide variety if they’re really into games. But there’s a growing trend to introduce young children to gaming, and a growing supply of games for preschoolers because of it.

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Games for Toddlers

The first game we introduced our kids to was Snail’s Pace Race. This game attempts to be cooperative and has middling results. With large, wooden pieces (including oversized wood dice), it’s a fantastic game for those as young as two. It did take a bit of work on my part to get my kids to stop being quite so competitive with it, but it wasn’t too hard. Snail’s Pace Race does an excellent job of introducing toddlers to the finer points in life, like waiting your turn, matching your colors, and counting to 2.

Next up was Animal Upon Animal. There’s apparently a small version of this game, so if you have young players, look for the big box. The box is big, and there’s not a ton of wasted space, because the wooden animals you’re placing are quite large. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. There are a few different ways to play, which is nice and helps to keep the game from getting boring. The rest of the components are also very sturdy and should withstand hours of rough play, even through multiple families.

Color Mix-A-Roo is perfect for young children learning about colors. Pieces are sturdy enough for toddlers and to go through multiple families. My daughter, at six, is only outgrowing it now.

Eye Found It! is perfect for young kids who have stopped trying to eat everything. There are small pieces, so please be careful with your very little ones. My kids are 6 and 8 now, and just outgrew it; this game does not require reading and works on visual acuity.

Where the Wild Things Are is a fun puzzle-like maze game based on one of my favorite picture books (okay, I have a lot)! It appears to be out of print, but if you can pick it up at the thrift store, do.

where the wild things are game

Reading

Happy Hats is great for young readers. You do want to wait until your kids have at least started to read CVC words. Instructions were rather vague, so we just made it a family goal to fill up the alphabet as we go around the board. I would not recommend this game for older readers; it uses the Bob Book characters and is very simplistic. But for young readers, it’s perfect. It was short-lived in our house, but I do feel worth the price for the extra reading practice my kids got while playing it.

Silly Sentences

A step up from Happy Hats is Silly Sentences! The cards in this game are still very sturdy, and too big to swallow, so it’s fine around very small children (if your reader has younger siblings). The words are more complicated than the CVC words in Happy Hats. Many of the cards have pictures on them, and those without pictures tend to be repetitive.

Preschool Games: Math

Auntie Pasta’s Pizza Fraction Game is a superb game for teaching young children familiarity with basic fractions. My kids were 4 and 5 when I found it and they loved it for a couple of years.

Auntie Pasta's
I Sea 10!

I Sea 10! is an excellent math game for young children. The tokens are small enough to be a choking hazard. But, they are very sturdy and should withstand lots of rough play. Once my kids outgrew the published rules, my daughter loved using the tokens to create her own math games (similar to Math Dice).

Math Explosion is a step up math-wise. Actually, you have to create the flashcards that are used, so the math can be whatever you need. My kids found exploding the volcano at the end to be highly rewarding.

what time is it? game

What Time Is It? is sorta like Candyland, but with times instead of colors. It’s great for introducing young children to analog clocks.

Coding

Robot Turtles is an adorable game for young coders. The cards that the child handles are regular playing cards, so you want to be sure they’ll treat cards gently. Otherwise, you can make the course as simple or as complex as is needed, so it’s great for a wide variety of skills. It’s also not competitive.

Botley is a great little coding robot. The directional cards are a good step up from the cards in Robot Turtles. So once your children have gotten the hang of Robot Turtles, Botley can be a fantastic next step. Allow your kids to see coding happen with an actual robot.

Preschool Games: Engineering

Engineering Ants is a cute little cooperative game for young engineers. It comes with a variety of pieces to build contraptions to help the ants get over obstacles. There are small parts, so please be careful that very young children don’t choke.

engineering ants
Goldie Blox Spinning Machine and Dunk Tank, all set up

Goldie Blox sets each come with a book, and each focus on a different engineering principle. Not all sets are of the same quality, though, and there are small pieces. The Spinning Machine was our first and is of excellent quality. Unfortunately, these are out of print, but available readily enough used.

Do you need even more games for your little ones? Check out these free print-and-play games to round out your collection!

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