Fun (Non-video) Games for Preschooler and Mom

Updated on October 24, 2011
J.R. asks from Culver City, CA
10 answers

Does anyone have any recommendations for games that would be fun for both my almost 5-y.o. AND me? My son is obsessed with playing games, but we have very little in the way of board games. He mostly makes up his own games, but they're kind of what you would expect a very young boy to come up with (i.e., not super appealing for me).

I already know from experience at friends' houses that Candyland and Chutes and Ladder would be torture for me, although at this point he's probably too old for them anyway. Anything that relies primarily on luck (spinners or dice) is less interesting to me and more frustrating to him than more skill-based games. He has a lot of semi-educational games that don't hold either of our attention very long (he's way too advanced for counting games, and he hasn't seemed interested in any of the learn to read ones).

Our favorite games to play together are Yahtzee and card games like Go Fish and Uno. Anyone have recommendations along those lines?


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answers from Philadelphia on

we have a game called No Stress Chess... it is avteaching game. to start you only moved based on card you pick.. to teach how each peice moves... the you can just play fir real
Any of the age appropriate Cranium games are great

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answers from Dallas on

My son has this terrific game called Cranium Cariboo Island. It's a game that helps reinforce letters. I love a few things about it. It doesn't drive me crazy the way Candy Land and Don't Break the Ice do. It has two levels. So once your child has mastered one level, you can flip the cards to make it more challenging. And there isn't really a winner. You are working as a team to get coins. When you get all the coins, the treasure box magically opens. My kids can play it forever. They learn something and it's one of the few games that doesn't cause some sort of fight.

If you want to practice fine motor skills, Operation and Perfection are fun. But make sure your child is ready for them, otherwise it could cause some disappointment and frustration for your kiddo. We had to bend the rules for a while, until our son mastered the skills a little better.

Connect Four is another one that my son caught onto pretty fast. It took him a couple of games to "get it", but once he did, he was hooked.

My five year old is also in love with Guess Who. He sometimes needs some help learning to ask the right questions, but he really loves that game. Especially the Star Wars version his grandparents have.

And they may already be on your list, but Crazy 8s, Old Maid, and War are some other card games he may like.

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answers from Abilene on

We love to play games. One of my son's favorites is Battleship. It may be challenging at first, but when I first started with my son we chose 3 ships and taped off part of the board until he got the hang of it. Yahtzee is one of our favorites and we like Yahtzee Free for All as well. Another is Blokus. I think I noticed a Blokus Jr. as well as Scrabble Jr. You might also think about doing experiments. There are a lot of kits (I know I've seen them in 2 liter bottles at Hobby Lobby) or I have a book that's called Back Yard Scientist. My son LOVES experiments. :) Another fun thing to do is scavenger hunts in nature.

Have fun!

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answers from Seattle on

Our favorites (that meet your criteria) are:

- Chess
- Dominos
- Ingenious
- Clue
- Monopoly
- Jenga

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

We love Jenga! So simple, but fun and my five year old loves it. Hungry Hungry Hippos is also good! We also have a Toy Story matching game that's a big hit and Operation has been a huge hit at our house.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Lots of the games from "Think Fun" are great. My son and I both really enjoy Zingo and it's a hit with lots of his friends (they are 4-4.5 years old). You can get Zingo at various stores, or you can buy it through me as a Discovery Toys consultant. Through DT, I also sell a fun game called Tactico. It's a great strategy game and can be very fast paced, so it should hold your attention.

I also sell one called Short Vowel Fun. It's played like Uno, but instead of matching colors and numbers, you match rhyming words and starting letters (ex: FUN could be followed by RUN or by FAN).

Other board games that my son likes are Rummikub Jr and Sequence for Kids (not Discovery Toys, just games available at regular toy stores). I enjoy playing both of these (and the full/adult versions as well).

My son and I both also had fun playing Hissss (

If you want to check out my Discovery Toys website, please go to

Thank you!


answers from Austin on

Do not forget puzzles.

Once we finished one, sometimes I would mix up 2 puzzles and she/we would work on 2 at the same time.

I also would sometimes have her work on smaller puzzles on the blank side.. She loved the challenge.

My BIL gave her a 250 pc puzzle when she was 5.. She finished half of it by the time we all finished Christmas dinner!

Card games, like old maid, War, go fish.

Play the memory game with a regular deck of cards.

Loteria.~ Bingo, but in Spanish

Pick up sticks

Barrel of Monkeys

Chinese checkers


She also loved Guess Who and Connect 4



answers from Los Angeles on

There are other verisons of uno that are fun. My kids like don't wake daddy and trouble. Also hungry hungry hippos. Someone gave us the lady bug game. I hate it. Worse that candyland. So stay away. My kids like cootie for the creativity.



answers from Los Angeles on

Thank you for asking this question. It is giving me some ideas for our house. Currently, my daughter likes a domino game we have that uses pictures. At almost 5, your son might like to use real dominoes (just ones that go to probably double 6's).



answers from Los Angeles on

Have you tried memory games? You can either buy the cards and try to find matching pairs or you can also just put random items on a tray, let him study it for 30 secs and then (while he is either blindfolded or by shielding the tray) remove one item and ask him to tell you what you removed. He can then do the same for you. Us moms need to exercise our memories post babies! :) Happy Families is also an old favourite card game. Pick-Up- Sticks (can also be played with regular wooden skewers) - awesome for improving patience and fine motor skills! Whatever the game, remember that the object is just to have fun together! To this day I can't play Monopoly because of the way my father used to cheat! "Playing" was super stressful unless he won - which obviously made us hate the game! "What" you play is not nearly as important as "how" you play! Whatever you choose, enjoy this precious time. Before you know it he'll be "all grown up" and these will be the memories you'll both treasure. God Bless.

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