Best Board Games for a 3-4 Year Old

Updated on April 05, 2012
J.R. asks from Washington, DC
14 answers

Hi Mommas,
Besides books, puzzles and so forth...what are some board games that are good for the 3-5 year old range.
Thank you.

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answers from Detroit on

Candy Land
Chutes and Ladders
Hi Ho Cherry-Oh

My daughter is 4 and also likes Hello Kitty Bingo, as well as card games like Go Fish and Uno.

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answers from Syracuse on

My 3 year old loves Candyland and Chutes and Ladders.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Zingo, memory, Candy Land or the lady bug game.
I can do that Dr. Seuss game. I think they have a curious george one too.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Chutes & Ladders
Sequence for Kids
Check out - they have lots of fun board games for preschoolers
Yahtzee Jr. (or real Yahtzee if you want to try that)
Go Fish

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answers from Los Angeles on

candy land, chutes and ladders, hi ho cherry oh, cootie and if its a girl pretty pretty princess

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answers from Bloomington on

The LadyBug Game - it's really kind of fun for the adult, too. I'm thinking of buying it for my daughter's preschool.

It promotes counting up to 10; taking turns; going fowards and backwards; recognizing numbers; and recognizing green (for forward) and red (for going backwards). It does not require a player to read (if an adult has taught them how to play).

The game is never played the same way since there are two required stops on the board and a player may have to go backwards several times.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

discovery toys has some really great games for this age. along with those here are some my kids / daycare kids loved

candy land
chutes and ladders
don't break the ice
the very hungry caterpiller
go fish
old maids

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

CandyLand, Chutes and Ladders

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answers from Minneapolis on

Cariboo by Cranium and Zingo are great. The traditional Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, of course.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We play UNO, Jenga, Sorry, Hi Ho Cherry O , Operation, Candyland, chuttes and ladders, and Memory. DO not waste your money on Ni Hao Kai Lan game. It was crazy stupid, confusing and no fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

You can't go wrong with the classics..
Candy Land (although I hate the layout of the new Candy Land, very loud and confusing)
Chutes and Ladders
Old Maid

My kids had a great Pooh game, although I don't remember the name, "stack". It was a combination of a puzzle and memory game.

You can also use a deck of cards to play go fish, or buy the specialty cards.

Memory is hard for a 3 year old, but great for a 5 year old.

Cranimum makes great games. Don't know the names of them as they were just becoming popular when my kids were little, so we only had the bigger kids games.

6 count dominos

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answers from Cincinnati on

My son likes playing HiHo Cherry-o and Jenga. Those are the only two games that we bought for him. We play all kinds of games though. We even play games for learning the alphabet sounds and to read as well. I used to teach English to Japanese children, and we used all types of games in the classroom. I found that my son really likes playing those games, too. So it is possible to get some learning into the games as well. Here is a list of some of the games my son likes to play and how to play them, or where to find the resources to make the games yourself. It doesn't cost a lot to make them as well. It does take a little time, but you can do it together.

The site has a lot of great ideas for games for children of all ages.

http:/ and http:/
You can get all types of cards and games here. They were designed for teaching English to Japanese students, but if you don't mind having some Japanese in the credits for each print out, they have great ideas. They can be played just as games as well. You don't have to use them for teaching, but that is an added plus.

They have several different varieties of Bingo games. There are other games and activities as well. Lots of free coloring sheets as well.

They have great animal cards that you can make. My son now has them all!

Rock Paper Scissors (a great way to decide who gets to go first)

Go fish

Memory matching game (You can make your own version focusing on any theme you like, or just a general anything goes version.)

I spy (There are many variations to play this game.)

Search and Finds (Make a list of 5 items and have your child go find them. It can be played inside, or outside.)

Bean bag toss

Treasure hunts (You can decide a small treasure. It doesn't matter if it is one of your child's toys, or a small snack. My son loves finding out what today's treasure is. I made a little treasure chest card that I hide with whatever the treasure that day is. You need paper and crayons to draw a map. I also let my son hide a treasure, and then I must follow the map that he has drawn.)

Animal theme games: Guess what animal I am? You can pretend to be that animal or you can describe the animal and try to guess which animal. You can also do animal poses. You freeze in the same pose as the animal is on the card. We use the cards from the National Geographic site for these games. You can try the Play animal exercises on the site as well.

Hide and seek using something small (We have four little Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals that we hide. Great for practicing counting and giving directions too.) At Easter, we do this game hiding five colored plastic eggs. Same game, different face.

An inside version of Builders and Bulldozers-a game I found on the site. We use the ten little stackable cups that he has had since he was six months old. Five of them are standing, five are tilted on their sides at the beginning of play. We place the cups around our living room floor. Decide who is a bulldozer and who is a builder. You must go back and forth from one side of the room to the other each time you build or knock over, you must not do two moves back to back on the same side of the room or you loose. Turn a Cd on. For the duration of one song, builders try to stand the cups up, bulldozers try to knock them down. Whoever has the most standing or knocked down is the winner when the song finishes. If you don't have stackable cups, you can use old pet bottles. Great exercise on a rainy day!

Kim's game: You can use cards or small objects. You need about 20 items. You need to have a small blanket or towel to cover them and a non-see-through bag for hiding one or more of the items. Put the items on a table or the floor. Have your child try to remember the items. Cover them with the blanket and take something away. Hide it in the bag. Then your child must guess what is missing.)

Dice games using cards- We have regular dice and a big soft one as well. version one: Do rock paper scissors to decide who goes first. Roll dice. You take the same number of cards as you rolled. You must tell what the card is, or you can aslo try to make a story using those cards, endless possibilties. The person with the most cards after the cards run out is the winner. You could also do a hot number. Decide the hot number. If a person rolls that number they must give their cards to someone else. version two: Make a board game out of the cards, decide a starting card and a goal card. Roll the dice and move along the cards. You can decide what to do with the cards.

Bounce around board game: from the mes-english site. We made ours using animals. I printed out two copies of the game, laminated them, and cut one up to use when the player captured that square. Again, you can decide how you want to use the cards and dice.

We also have the honeycomb game and spiders and candy game (although we used catapillars and ice-cream cones) from the mes- english site.

Snakes and ladders (Also called chutes and ladders) You can get the snake version free on line. Type in free snakes and ladders game. There are several versions available.

Tic tac toe: You can use different cards and do a 3 by 3 or 4 by 4 grid. Do rock paper scissors and winner starts. You can tell stories about the cards, practice letters, counting, shapes, colors, etc.

Fishing pole game: You need string, a long strong stick, and a magnet to make the pole. We used a sea creatures coloring sheet from crayola to make the items to fish. I had my son color them. Then I cut them out and laminated them. Put a paper clip on each sea creature. You can simply fish, or make point cards to put on the back of the fish. You can also do a memory version. Put two of the same pictures, or the picture and a word. You will need a lot of fish to do the memory version. Kids love this game.

When you play board games that you handmake, you can use small items as markers. We use small animal figures, duplo people, matchbox cars, etc. You can also make some markers by putting stickers on cardboard and cutting them out.

Hope you will have lots of fun playing games!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

The Busytown Airport Game.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My son is three and we love:

The Snail's Pace Race game
Dr Seuss' Cat in the Hat "I Can Do That!" card game
Kid's Yahtzee ("Cars" version :)

Some may take a few tries to get the hang of but they learn fast!!

1 mom found this helpful
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