Most of us play board games for fun. But did you know they’re also helpful tools for early childhood development?
For toddlers, board games can help develop skills like logic, inductive and deductive reasoning, memory and cognitive function. Even the simple act of playing helps their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It also enables them to understand the logic and necessity of rules, and promote socio-emotional development even before they go to school.
Best of all, it helps them learn all of this in a fun and casual way!
So why not help your tot learn essential life skills through the wonderful world of board games? Here are five such games even preschool toddlers can play together with the rest of the family.
Age: 3 and up
This cooperative game introduces the Woozle, a colorful creature with a knack for unpalatable desserts. It involves feeding the Woozle using a spoon and a variety of silly snacks like frog ice cream, chocolate-covered flies, and broccoli flavored lollipops.
Each player rolls a die, which indicates the number of snacks they can feed to the Woozle using the spoon. Everyone must work together to feed him 12 items before all the snacks are gone.
The game teaches coordination, fine motor skills, and logical reasoning. There are three levels of play that correspond to different age groups and learning levels.
Age: 4 and up
This competitive game lets players control cute little animals as they embark on an adventurous journey in the Kingdom of Pomme.
There are 7 different animal choices, ranging from birds and farm animals to apes and bears. Players then take turns to either move, seek or make actions that affect their animal’s movement, friendships, food, and magic skills. The objective is to earn 4 trophies spread across 8 different categories.
This multi-awarded game won the 2018 Golden Geek Print & Play board game winner, as well as nominations for the 2018 Board Games Quest family games nomination and 2019 Gra Roku Children’s Game of the Year nominee.
Age: 5 and up
This classic racing game is designed to test dexterity and building skills. Players first build a race track using wooden puzzle pieces. They then compete to “race” by flicking small puck “cars” around the track.
Half of the fun lies in constructing the race track. The game includes six straight tracks, 10 90-degree turns, and connecting pieces for the straight and curved tracks. It also includes enough car pucks for up to 8 players, a scoring pad, start and finish line stickers, and a rule sheet with different track layouts.
Apart from the original PitchCar track that launched in the 90s, today there are 9 more expansion packs to extend the race track even further, for families seeking to build their own living room Nascar or Grand Prix!
PitchCar won the 1996 Meeple’s Choice award, as well as the 2007 UK Games Expo Special Award.
Age: 5 and up
Loony Quest is a drawing game that teaches hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills. Players must trace the provided outline drawings. The fun comes in trying to meet targets and avoid obstacles in their tracing sheets, while still trying to replicate the outline. Once done, they place their finished sheet on top of the level card to determine what targets they hit, and which obstacles they ran into.
The game is similar to Doodle Quest, also from the same boardgame maker, but builds on the experience by including bonuses, penalties, and points. The drawings themselves are inspired by video game characters and worlds, with very colorful illustrations and fun special stages that turn into a “real-life” video game.
Age: 3 and up
This innovative alarm clock game involves creeping on the gameboard to reach the finish line “fridge”, for a midnight snack. Players take turns to move their pieces across the board. If they land on a space that doesn’t match the pictures and numbers on their cards, they have to press the alarm clock – which either causes “daddy” to sleep through, or suddenly pop up in bed!
This suspense-filled game includes player pieces, 24 cards, and of course, daddy’s alarm clock and colorful 3-part bed.
Age: 5 and up
This manual dexterity game is like beerpong, for kids. Players must launch plastic “coconuts” in the cluster of cups placed in the middle of the playmat. Each landed cup gets added to the player’s stash, and the first to build a pyramid of 6 stacked cups wins.
To make it even more fun, the game includes Monkey King Magic cards, which forces players to take distance shots, shoot blind, and other hilarious handicaps.
The game won multiple children’s awards in Germany and spawned an expansion pack called Coconuts Duo, which brings more cups and cards to turn it into a 6-player game.
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