Best Games for Preschoolers

Updated on October 29, 2010
J.L. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
17 answers

My daughter is 2 1/2, she will be 3 in March. I would like to get some games for her to play with now that the weather is going to be turning colder and we won't be outside as much. What are your favorite games for your preschoolers? Thanks for the help!

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answers from York on

My son is 2 years and 3 months. He loves the game Elefun. We don't make it competitive to see who catches the most butterflies but rather just play together. He has Duplo legos which will keep his attention for a long time....even longer if an adult plays them with him. He will also sit in his high chair and play with play dough for a long time. I rely on this a lot when I am cooking or cleaning because I know where he is at and that he isn't climbing the bookcase in the office :) He will do easy puzzles with help but they don't hold his attention very long. I don't think he is ready for any other games yet though I do think the Uno Moo looks like fun. I also am eager for him to start to enjoy coloring. I LOVE coloring and am eager to sit and color with him :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The Ladybug Game! For some reason kids LOVE this game. We were obsessed with it for a long time and then I come to find out from several friends that this is a fave in their house also. You can buy it at Target.

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answers from Portland on

Games are difficult at this age, because the child will be interested more in the novelty of the pieces, but taking turns is difficult at this age. My son and I like Ravensburger's "Snails Pace Race" which is a noncompetitive. He's three and really enjoys exploring adult games and their pieces, just playing with them. We have an old Aggravation board game with the marbles/dice, and he loves playing with that freestyle, as well as a Chess/Checkers/Backgammon set. It's amazing what sorts of stories he comes up with. With some kids, even just experimenting with pieces from Blockus is fun. It all depends on the level of interest from your child in the moment. You can try some like Candyland or Hi-Ho Cherry-O, but my experience is that kids at this age are doing more skill-building. If you are looking for a list of rainy day activities, I have a bunch of ideas and resources I'd be happy to share, just message me. I run a preschool and have plenty to share.

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answers from Seattle on

We love playing board games with our three year old!
We have a few games that are hard to find that she loves, I think both from Ravensburger: MonkeyMadness and Match a Balloon
We also have the Brown Bear Game (available at Target).
All of these games are great at teaching taking turnes, colors and Match a Balloon uses a color die.

We have been playing them since she was about 2.5 and started out by simplyfying the rules a bit and then slowly introducing the "real rules" (for example in Brown Bear you get to go again if you have a match - we started out by just simply taking turns without going twice).

Memory is a good one too and we just recently got a few new games that look very nice, but we haven't tried them yet: Curvy Swervy and Wash and Dry Bingo by AlexToys and Zimbos By Blue Orange Games.

Good luck!

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answers from Harrisburg on

Chutes and Ladders
Hungry Hungry Hippos
That elephant game that shoots butterflies out the trunk and catch with a net.

K. B
mom of 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius

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answers from Minneapolis on

ZINGO! by Thinkfun is the best game ever! even we don't get bored.

Richard Scarry Busy Town - Eye found it!

Ravensburger What Goes Together Game is fun.

Cranium Hullabaloo DVD Amazing Animal Adventure (but that might be for 4 year olds....)

for supper time: Family Time Fun Beginner Dinner Games.

We also had a bowling game we would set up in a hallway. And a box of instruments we would play "Marching Band".

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answers from Philadelphia on

My 3 yr old daughter has loved playing Cranium Cariboo for more than a year, so it's the right age. It'a great game and has 2 skill levels for when she's older. It helps with learning shapes, colors, letters, and numbers. 6 brightly colored balls are hidden under "trap doors". The players pick cards and opens one door that matches the card (ie. something red, or a triangle), and hopes to reveal a ball underneath. When all balls are found a treasure chest is opened. My daughter loves this game!
Her other favorites are Zingo, Animal Bingo, The Picnic Game (by eeboo), and Memory. She also loves puzzles and making castles and "roads" for her animals with blocks too.
Hope this helps!

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answers from Chicago on

My 3.5 yo LOVES to play Candyland, and it has really helped him learn how to take turns in games. I love it because there are not a TON of pieces and the set-up is extremely easy.

We have tried Chutes and Ladders, but he's not that into it yet. Maybe another 6 mos before I try it again.

He also loves Hi-Ho-Cherry-Oh, which is a great game for learning simple counting skills.

We also play Go Fish with a deck of Mickey Mouse cards.

Memory (ours has Toy Story pictures on it) is great and can be used for many years. When I started it with my son he was about 3 and I really limited the number of tiles that I would set out. As he got older I'd set out more and more tiles. We are not yet using all of the tiles, but almost there.

We have Cooties, but there are a TON of pieces, and he wasn't very interested.

Another great game is Elefun, which is basically an elephant-shaped fan with a long trunk that blows out L. tulle butterflies. It is good for hand-eye coordination, since the kiddos have to catch the butterflies in their nets.

LOTS of puzzles. We buy a bunch of the ones that come in L. square boxes from Target or the dollar stores. They are about $4 and are more challenging than the ones that have frames.

Lincoln Logs - my son likes to see how high he can build it before it topples. He is not quite ready for some of the "plans" that they provide, but it is definitely something that we can work on together for long periods of time.

Megablocks or larger Legos are great, but he prefers for me to do it with him than on his own.

I just bought some Moon Sand, but haven't tried it yet. I am planning on getting an indoor sensory table so that we can work with some of this stuff in a designated area (like the basement) for easy clean-up.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Puzzles and story after story worked great at that age. We spent a lot of money on games she really had no interest in or only held her interest for 10 minutes or less. Maybe colorful building blocks, but even leggo's didn't hold too much interest, although I did it anyway. I would work on pattern building and talk her through it.

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answers from Detroit on

Hi J.
We love to play Candyland and Hi Ho Cherry-O. Elefun is an awesome, fun game to play which actually gets them off their bottoms too.
We also like the memory game, which you can get in many forms.
We like Monopoly town which is a very basic form of monopoly, but a lot fun for pre-schoolers.
I've also seen advertised on tv lately Uno moo which looks like a lot of fun :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on


Now that you have a list of recommendations what I would suggest doing next it taking the list and heading over to the Amazon website to read the reviews. I usually do a google seach such as "amazon and Cranium Cariboo game" and it will pop up the link. Click on the link and it gives you a picture of the game, description of how the game is played, recommneded age ranges, and reviews. I love reading the reviews as they're so helpful.

I'm currently looking for games for my two daughters who are a wee bit older (4 & 13) so I wasn't going off of your list but some of the games that I read reviews on just happen to appear on your list as well.

* Cranium Cariboo received great reviews...I would buy for my youngest daughter who just turned four but I think she is a L. too advanced for it. However, it sounds perfect for your 2 1/2 year old daughter. I wish I would have discovered it sooner.

* Cranium Hullabaloo also received great reviews and it was well reviewed at that - receiving 236 reviews as a matter of fact. Even reviewed this game! I believe your daughter is younger than the recommneded age but alot of people have bought this game for children that young and comment that they love it! It is a movement game so great for a winter day. It also won numerous awards. They have another version of this game that includes a DVD - I haven't read the reviews for that version yet.

* Another movement game that won numerous awards is the "Cat and the Hat - I Can Do That". I think the recommended ages are 4-8 though so she may be a bit too young. But read the reviews anyway because sometimes people buy for the kids that aren't in the age range and they review it for their age group.

* This one will be good for her in a year or so. It is another by Cranium that got GREAT reviews. It's called...Cranium's Balloon Lagoon. It does have small pieces so not recommended for under three's.

* Snail Pace Race got good reviews as well.

Lastly, the games my daughters like playing at that age:

- Memory type games w/fewer cards
- Crocidile Golf
- EleFun
- Go Fish with fewer cards

Hope that helps,


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answers from Huntsville on

One thing I didn't see anyone mention is Uno Moo. It's a L. barn with almost ball shaped colored animals. It is cute :)

We also have a Mickey Mouse Yahtzee.

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answers from Dallas on

We started with Hi Ho Cherry O, Don't Break the Ice and Candyland. They are still faves in our house.

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answers from Cincinnati on

My son enjoys Curious George Discovery Beach and Memory.

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answers from Eugene on

Don't break the ice, Chutes and Ladders, Memory (we actually match them most of the time), puzzles ( the boxes of 24 pieces), CandyLand.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Snails Pace Race



Candy Land




answers from Philadelphia on

I'm curious as well.

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