Board games are one of the best family activities, and you can get started with board games with kids as young as 3! Here are some of the best board games for toddlers and preschoolers!
I’ve asked all my mom friends for board game recommendations for 3 year olds and board games for 4 year olds, and here are some of their suggestions. All these games are now on our birthday list and Christmas list!
Related: Best Gifts for 4 Year Olds
Competitive vs collaborative games for kids
While some of the games on the list are competitive, many of the games above are collaborative in nature. Peaceable Kingdom games are designed for all the players to work together, make joint decisions, encourage creative problem solving, and enjoy a non-stressful play environment.
HABA Games are designed to teach kids as young as two about the mechanics and logistics of board games and are a popular choice for first board games.
Check out this list of board games, and then keep reading to learn about the benefits of playing board games with toddlers and preschoolers, as well as tips for successful board game playing with kids as young as age 3-4.
Best Board Games for Preschoolers
1. Go Away Monster!
A fun board game that teaches shape recognition, sharing, and cooperation. And best of all, it makes your little one a master over nighttime monsters! This game is for for ages 3+ and 2-4 players, and the playing time is about 15 minutes, perfect for little ones.
Get Go Away Monster!
2. Pete the Cat – The Missing Cupcakes Game
If your kids love Pete the Cat, they will LOVE this game! Pete the Cat is perfect for ages 3+ and 2-4 players. You’ll have tons of fun while helping children gain important memory and cooperation skills.
3. Animal Upon Animal
Animal Upon Animal is a classic wood staking game, ideal for ages 4+. 2-4 players race to stack animal figurines in a wobbly pile, all while improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Get Animal Upon Animal.
4. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
A quick and fun, travel-sized game with easy set up. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza will have 3-8 players entertained for 15 minute gameplay and lots of laughs. The age range is listed as 8+, but real moms confirm this game is perfect for children starting at 3!
There are several different and creative ways to play with dominos, including plenty of entertaining ideas for children 3+. Use dominos to teach counting and color recognition while engaging in friendly competition.
6. Hi Ho Cheerio
This classic counting game is perfect for preschoolers and makes a great gift for boys or girls. A maximum of 4 players use basic math skills to “pick” pretend fruit and try to be the first to fill their bucket.
Get Hi Ho Cheerio.
7. Yeti in My Spaghetti
Yeti in My Spaghetti is a Jenga-like game for ages 4+. Players take turns moving pieces of spaghetti from under a Yeti without letting it fall. This fun and silly game is sure to be a hit!
Get Yeti in My Spaghetti.
8. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
Use Sneaky Snacky Squirrel to teach color recognition and fine motor skills to children 3+ all while having fun. Players take turns spinning the spinner to match colored acorns to corresponding spots on a log. This game plays 2-4 with easy setup and cleanup.
9. Go Fish
Go Fish is a fun starter game for ages 3 and older. And with 3-6 players the whole family can get involved. This game is great for teaching children how to take turns and number recognition. The three gameplay variations will ensure you never get bored!
Get Go Fish.
10. Snug as a Bug in a Rug
This is a Peaceable Kingdom game designed for all the players to work together collaboratively! Children will learn colors, numbers, shapes, counting, matching and sizes, while working together towards a common goal. This game is for 2-4 players ages 3+.
11. First Orchard
Like all HABA Games, First Orchard is designed to teach the idea of board games, and this one is suitable even for two year olds! 1-4 players race to match and harvest fruit before a raven steals the bounty. This game includes large wooden pieces, easy for young children to handle and pick up.
Get First Orchard.
12. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel – the Card Game
If you like Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, you’ll love this card game variation. This fast-play color matching game will keep players ages 3-6 on their toes. Whoever is able to match their way to the most acorn cards wins. Players will development strategic thinking skills while having tons of fun!
13. Chutes and Ladders
2-4 Players ages 4 and up will enjoy this classic Hasbro game that’s been around for over 50 years. This game encourages basic math skills, with players vying to land on the winning spot through an obstacle of chutes and ladders. With easy play, the whole family can enjoy this fun obstacle coarse game.
Get Chutes and Ladders.
14. Hoot Owl Hoot!
This is a game from Peaceable Kingdom, and all of their games are designed to be collaborative in nature. Players ages 4+ using color matching to help owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. If the owls beat the sun, everyone wins! This game also provides two levels of play so it can grow with your child.
Get Hoot Owl Hoot. It’s a hoot! 😉
Qwirkle is a great game for families because it suits a wide range of ages. Players create lines by matching tiles by either color or shape to earn points and win. While the manufacturer’s recommendation designates ages 6+, younger children who can recognize shapes and colors can certainly play, too!
16. Disney Eye Found It
1-6 players search through 12 Disney realms to find iconic Disney objects while building observation and matching skills. This cooperative game is great for children ages 4 and up. Gameplay takes about 15 minutes and you’ll come back to it again and again!
17. Zingo! Bingo with a Zing
Zingo is a great game for preschoolers and early readers ages 4 and up. Players race to fill out a Zingo card by matching symbols and words in a game that’s loved by kids, parents and teachers, too!
How long can he hang before he goes Twaaaang?? Players hang fruits and jungle friends on an Orangutan until the weight becomes too much. The Orangutan will spring up in a surprise and send the fruits and other objects flying! This suspenseful and fun game requires no batteries for endless fun.
19. Spot It!
Spot it! is a fast paced, dynamic game that encourages matching, concentration, observation and quick reflex skills. The round cards in the deck are covered with symbols and each one has exactly one matching symbol to every other card in the deck. Players race to be the first to spot their match. There are several ways to play, with easy and more difficult variations to suit children ages 4+.
Get Spot It!
20. Pop the Pig
Players race to be the first to get 4 movers home in a fun and easy game for children ages 4 and up. Gameplay goes quickly with 2-4 players. Pop the Pig makes for a fun game for the whole family!
Get Pop the Pig.
21. Left Center Right Dice Game
LCR is a fast paced, portable game with easy instructions and great for all ages. Anyone who can roll 3 dice can play! Be the last player with chips to win the center pot!
Get Left Center Right.
Popomatic trouble is a fun, “race-around-the-board” game for 2-4 players. Be the first to get 4 pegs around the board, but watch out for other player’s pegs along the way or you’ll be in “trouble”. The game is ideal for ages 5+, but is also suitable for younger children, too!
23. Headbanz – Junior
Headbanz Junior is a family game that’s fun to play during dinner! Players secure a card to their headband and ask yes or no questions to determine what animal is on their card. This game is for 2-4 players and ideal for ages 5 and up, but experienced moms say 3 year old’s can certainly play, too!
2-5 players match cards to build a snake from head to tail and add their completed snakes to a snake pit. The player with the most snakes in their pit wins. This game for all ages encourages matching, color recognition and counting.
25. Disney Matching Memory Game
Interact with familiar and loved Disney characters while matching tiles from memory. This game is great for solo play as well as multiple players. Children 3+ will improve focus, matching and memory skills in gameplay of 15 minutes or less.
Get the Disney Matching Memory Game.
This is a family favorite, and we’ve been playing this one long before we even had our son. At 3 years old he completely understands how to play his pieces, even if he doesn’t get the full strategy yet. We love being able to share one of our favorite games with him!
27. Candy Land
Candy Land is a classic beginner game for ages 3+. 2-4 players race their gingerbread pawn through fun surprises and twists to try to reach the Candy Land castle first. Young children will love the bright and whimsical illustrations and easy gameplay.
Get Candy Land.
28. Hungry Hungry Hippos
Try to collect the most marbles in this classic “chomping” game. 4 players ages 4 and up compete to get the most marbles into the mouth of their Hungry Hippo. Gameplay is fast, easy and great for playdates!
Get Hungry Hungry Hippos.
6 Players race around the board in this classic game for families. With a little help, children as young as 4 can play. Easy instructions make this sweet game of revenge a household hit!
30. The Scrambled States of America
This one is great for slightly older kids, but kids as young as 4 can play it with some help, and it’s a great way to learn state capitals, geography, and facts about states! There’s even a book that goes with the game!
Tips for playing board games with kids age 3-4
- Forget about “game night” – board games are best played in the morning or during the day when kids are alert and not tired.
- Don’t expect games to last more than 10-15 minutes. Kids have a short attention span. Most of these games are designed to be played for just a few minutes. Most kids can’t focus much longer than that.
- Don’t worry about following the rules – adjust the rules to fit your family if your child is not fully understanding the game rules.
- Let the child lead. This is similar to the tip above. If your child is making up their own rules for the board game, let them go for it! Encourage their creativity.
- Let them win… sometimes. This depends on your personal parenting style, and there’s no wrong way to do this, but we like to make sure that we take turns winning and losing, and never make a big deal about who is the winner. Instead, we focus on how much fun it was to play the game was and what a good game it was. Show kids that it can be fun to lose, too!
- Don’t pressure kids to play. Try to make sure every game ends in a positive way. Don’t make kids play longer than they have to, or force them to play just because you want to.
- Have fun! Be silly! The most important thing is that your little one wants to keep playing board games with you again and again. How awesome will it be if family game night is an activity your kids want to do with you well into their teenage and adult years?!
Benefits of playing board games with toddlers and preschoolers
Playing games, such as board games, dice games, and card games with kids is a great way to spend quality time together without screentime, and it’s very educational for kids too. Many board games teach important skills, such as counting and adding, following the rules, taking turns, as well as fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and strategy.
Many of the games on the list say “ages 4+” or higher, but kids as young as 3 years old can start playing some of these games and grow into them!
Are there other board games you enjoy playing with your little ones that I missed?? Please leave me a comment below and let me know! And make sure to save this list for later on Pinterest and send it to a friend who might be looking for toddler and preschool activity ideas!