Games preschoolers play

When I was a little girl, I had no siblings. At my birthday parties, I frequently received board games as gifts, but they mostly sat on the shelf in my closet until I got too old for them. Sure my mom and step-dad and I played Monopoly from time to time; I played Sorry! with my next-door neighbor/best friend; and Candyland with my grandma. But, back then, the assortment was more limited.

After Scarlett’s recent birthday party, during which she collected quite a few board games, I was chatting with Heather about which ones our children really like to play. After we collaboratively listed out a bunch of them, I realized that four companies stood out as excellent designers of preschooler games: Blue Orange, Think Fun, Wonder Forge, and eeBoo are responsible for most of the organized turn-taking fun we have around here. While I still appreciate Hasbro and the other old-school brands, I think it’s cool that there are so many new kids on the gaming block.

And of course there are more. Here’s the rundown of our favorite games that we personally own and enjoy with preschool-aged kids:

  1. Angelina Ballerina Dance With Me! Game. Children get up and perform the moves on the game cards. The board is a diorama of a stage. Not only is my 4-year old enchanted by this game, but my 6-year old son also likes to perform. (Find Dance with Me on amazon for less than $13)Angelina Ballerina game
  2. Zingo. We love this bingo-style game and the plastic game pieces are fun to play with for three-year olds, even when not engaged in an actual game. {Find Zingo online in many flavors like bilingual and counting for less than $20}
    Zingo and other games preschoolers play

  1. Honey Bee Tree. Another refreshingly gender neutral toy, this game doubles as a solitaire activity when no siblings are available. {Pick up Honey Bee Tree for about $15}
    Honeybee and other games preschoolers play
  2. Picnic Game by eeboo. Comes with a gingham picnic table cloth to set the mood. Players spin to fill their plates with main dishes, desserts, and drinks. This identical “spinner game” format is available in other themes: a tea party, building a robot, and fairy tales. Again the materials in the game can be used for open-ended pretending as well. {Find the picnic game for about $17} Picnic Game and other games for preschoolers
  3. Curious George Discovery Beach from I Can Do That! Games features Curious George and tests kids’ memory. This game is so fun and addictive (for parents, too) but try to find it for cheaper than — gulp — $50 {find Discovery Beach on amazon}  Curious George Discovery Beach and other great games for preschoolers
  4. Pengoloo is a good little memory game from Blue Orange where the small wooden penguins are hiding eggs of various colors. Heather’s three-year old likes to hide the eggs and find them even when nobody is playing with him. Score! Pengoloo and more fun games for little kids
  5. Coocoo, also by Blue Orange, is an all wooden game in which you take turns balancing balls on a rocking clown. For kids who aren’t ready to compete, this can be approached as more a cooperative building activity than a game. (Refrain from yelling “In your FACE!” when your three-year old knocks the clown over with her naive placement of the balls.) Coocoo the balancing clown game is easier for moms than kids. ha ha
  6. I Never Forget a Face is a memory and matching game. The kids faces are from all over the world, and it’s lovely to see all the skin colors and hair textures together in one game. Like I said, I’m a sucker for everything eeBoo. eeBoo makes the cutest games
  7. Busytown – The board game is half the fun in Busytown because it is longer than your preschooler’s body. This is a search and find game where everyone works together. My kids loved it for months but when I tried to validate their opinions for this post, they claimed not to. (See Thingamababy’s review for details on this game.) We have another search and find game called Pictureka that was distracting them. I think they are both quality games and as my kids get older, even just month after month, they get more out of these.

Busytown game picture courtesy Thingamababy.com
What games do your kids like to play?

For kindergarten and up, check out Alec’s list of 7 games that make math fun!

(Disclosure: I received Busytown and the Angelina game from my friend Kimberley, a rookie mom who does public relations for the company who makes them. Kimberley and I worked together at LeapFrog Toys well before our children were even a twinkle in our eyes. Affiliate links included)

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.