April 08, 2009,
S.K. asks from Castle Rock, CO on April 01, 2009
Games for a 2 & 4 Year Old
What are some good board games that a 2 year old could play with us. So far we have candy land, memory, dvd bingo and thats about it. I would really like to get more games that we could all play together. What are some of your favorites that are little kid friendly?
K.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
My kids love wack a mole and silly pins bowling, they are loud, but don't take a lot of focus to play the game. Even my husband (who is NOT a game person) loves the bowling!
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S.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
We LOVE games at our house! You've gotten great suggestions of some fun mainstream games--Hungry Hungry Hippos is simple and chaotic, so there's no way to break the rules and get frustrated if your two-year-old isn't doing it "right." Cariboo by Cranium is also fun--kids get to use a little key to click open doors and find balls, which they drop into a slot that opens a treasure chest. Good fine motor skills building. "Don't Break the Ice" is also good for fine motor skills but honestly makes me mental since there are lots of pieces and it requires an adult to set up for five minutes and the game can take only 30 seconds if kids get excited. "Duck Duck 1-2-3" from Cranium is simple and fun and inexpensive and only requires counting up to three. Lots of pathway-type cames are tricky for young children as they have not yet grown to understand one-to-one correspondence. Meaning, they can't count 1, 2, 3, while moving a game piece methodically along three squares on the game board. That's a pre-kindergarten skill that often doesn't kick in until around age 4.
A major flaw in "Chutes and Ladders" is that it requires players to count and move using one-to-one correspondence along a board labeled with numbers. So you're saying "1, 2, 3" while you're moving across squares numbered 54, 55, and 56. This is so tricky for young players, and the game becomes mind-numbing for parents (at least in my experience).
Some games my whole family just LOVES are Dr. Hedgehog, Orchard/Harvest Time, Snail's Pace Race and Max. Dr. Hedgehog is a Haba brand game--most of their games are beautiful and wonderful. You can find tons of Haba brand stuff at www.ooompa.com. It's a German brand, but instructions in English are always included--don't be deterred by German box labelling. I had to look everywhere to find it and finally found it at www.rosiehippo.com. They are a great toy and game company. In Dr. Hedgehog, players are trying to help the little hedgehog take apples and pears to his friends--the Robin has a broken leg and the mouse has the flu. No reading or counting is required, and the challenge is to guide the cute hedgehog piece along the path and over the little wooden bridge to deliver the fruit without dropping any. It's a cooperative game, which I love, because players are all rooting for the hedgehog, not against each other.
Another great game is Snail's Pace Race by Ravensburger, another great German toy company. The dice show colors, so the snails move ahead when their color is rolled. This teaches color matching and one-to-one correspondence without a lot of counting. Plus, you're watching the snails race, not each other, so there's not as much conflict.
We love love love the game "Max." I think I got it at www.blueberryforest.com. It's from a company called Family Pastimes, which makes only cooperative games--their slogan is "Play together, not against each other." Everything from them is excellent. My second child has been able to play Max with us since he was two, but the game is interesting enough that my husband and I will play it together, even without the kids. Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes. It's a truly excellent game--players are trying to get the Little Animals (a bird, a mouse and a chipmunk) home to their holes in the tree before Max the cat catches them. It's an excellent strategy game that encourages lots of discussion.
Orchard from Haba is very similar to (but more beautiful and expensive than) Harvest Time from Family Pastimes. In Orchard, you're working together to gather the berries off the tree before the crow can get them--a roll of the dice tells you if you're going to collect some berries or add a pice to the picture of the crow. Harvest Time is similar, but you're racing against winter, trying to harvest your garden before the seasons change. I love the cooperation factor in that game, because when you're done with your garden, the game isn't over; you are supposed to help your neighbors gather their produce until they are done, too. There are a few variations on how to play Harvest Time, so children can grow into the more advanced variations and it never gets old.
These games are a bit more expensive than the ones you'll find at a big store, but they are high quality and have been great investments for my family. I hope you find some fun ones and have a great time! Tell us how your search goes! Best wishes!
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K.S. answers from Denver on April 02, 2009
I have to put in another vote for Hulabaloo (sp) by Cranium. You can play as little or as much as you like. It gets the kids up on their feet without being too physical or hyper. Teaches great things, and good for all ages. We got this when my daughter was 2 or 3, and she still digs it out sometimes and wants to play (she's 8). Plus it's not torture for parents (we've actually cheated at Candyland just to END it!). It really is fun.
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N.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
we play this with my 2 & 4 yr old. We also play Sorry. The 4 yr old boy really loves it. the 2 year old likes going through the motions but doesn't really follow all the rules. It's still fun for everyone.
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J.H. answers from Billings on April 02, 2009
We just got Zingo, and my 5 year old loves it! My 2.5 year old needs help with it, but a 4 year old could play it just fine.
We also love Guess Who?, and even though it says for older kids (I think the reccomendationis 6+), my daughter played it very well at age 4.
And finally, there us a great Uno version called "My first Uno", and you can get it in different characters (we have the Clifford version). The cards are bigger and the game is simplified. My 5 year old and my 2.5 year old and I play this together all the time. Lots of fun!
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D.B. answers from Provo on April 02, 2009
hello we have the elmos hot tomato its super fun my son loves it it comes with cards you can use or not its your choice. the cards have colors and shapes and numbers and leters on them to teach the children. it realy is a lot of fun. Plus i made a memmory card game for him useing pictures of our family wich made it that much more fun for us. those are some of the few things we enjoy i hope it helps.
S.B. answers from Boise on April 02, 2009
My 2 year old loves Monkeys on the bed. And dominos (they have large cardboard ones with colors or numbers). Have fun.
L.J. answers from Denver on April 02, 2009
Whatever you do DO NOT get Chutes and Ladders. The board is to cluttered and confusing for little kids.
My kids love The Cootie Game, Don't Break The Ice, Hungry Hippos and Hi Ho Cherrie O. Also, try some 25 piece puzzles.
S.L. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
We love Zingo and Uno. They are great learning games aswell as fun. Also Dominos. Your two year old can totally learn them. At first they will need help and guidance, but the more they play the better they will get. I just always include all of my kids in whatever we are playing and they pick up on them. My kids are always playing games way sooner than the suggested age.
L.C. answers from Salt Lake City on April 08, 2009
G.M. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
My kids love Hi-Ho Cherry-O! We've also tried games like Go Fish.
A.E. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
Don't break the ice and I Spy Memory (I like this one because the pictures aren't exactly the same but you have to find two fish or two dolls in different settings)
We also have a Dora domino set where they can match the picture instead of the dots.
K.L. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
Caraboo and other games by same makers! They are great for older and younger ones together... or just younger ones :)
E.S. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
Hulabaloo (I don't know if I spelled that correctly) it is by cranium.
Ele-fun; a game where an elephants trunk blows out butterflies and the kids have to catch them with nets.
We also have pretty, pretty princess and Princess Charming...but I have a 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy so she has more "say" in the games. It might not work right now, but your little girl will probably love those some day as well and my kiddos play those together.
A.M. answers from Salt Lake City on April 02, 2009
Another vote for Hullabaloo (by Cranium)! We just played this yesterday (me, 7yr old, 5yr old, & 21mo old) and had a blast. It's not exactly a board game, but so much fun. You can look it up on Amazon, but basically you place vinyl mats with pictures on them all over the floor and a speaker tells you which one to stand on (a shape, musical instrument, a food etc...) After several rounds of sliding, spinning, flying to the next picture, a winner is chosen by what mat you are standing on and you get to take a bow, do a funky dance, do a victory jump etc... My 21mo old doesn't really get it, but she loves all the dancing and funny actions and if she decides to steal the mats and rearrange them, it doesn't affect the game at all. I would highly recommend this game for a mixed age group crowd.
K.D. answers from Denver on April 01, 2009
Our 2yo loves Chutes and Ladders. He also likes doing puzzles. With help, we do 100 pieces. He thinks he does them. :) He can do up to 21 pieces of the old wooden puzzles. I usually get them at second hand stores and garage sales. I suppose somebody like Melissa and Doug might make some, too. He understands finding the edge pieces on regular puzzles and matching colors and shapes to put together, but he can't always get them to go together due to a lack of dexterity, but he has the same sense of accomplishment with finding the matches. Have fun!
C.P. answers from Pocatello on April 02, 2009
My 3,5,7,8,9 year olds love to play with dominos. They don't actually play dominos but they make designs and build things with them.
B.S. answers from Salt Lake City on April 01, 2009
My 3 year old son loves Five Little Monkeys and Hi Ho Cherry Oh. Have fun!
T.K. answers from Fort Collins on April 04, 2009
We like TROUBLE, JENGA, TWISTER, PICTUREEKA, BINGO, and Disney SCENE IT.
B. answers from Boise on April 01, 2009
Hullabaloo! My young kids LOVE this!
S.S. answers from Denver on April 01, 2009
I like the ones you are already doing. I also recommend GO FISH & Chutes & Ladders. My kids really like those games.
Have a GREAT day!
S.F. answers from Great Falls on April 02, 2009
My daughter recently turned 3 and for the past year she has enjoyed Hungry Hippos, Hi Ho Cherry O, Dora Dominos,
Cooties, Go Fish, Candyland, Elefun and Memory. So far Chutes and Ladders has been hard for her.
L.S. answers from Fort Collins on April 02, 2009
Hullabaloo (by the makers of Cranium) - very fun and teaches shapes and colors and is active!
J.C. answers from Casper on April 01, 2009
Hungry Hungry Hippo is one that they both could play.