I love games. Our family goes through game cycles. Usually, winter comes around and we play tons of games. Then spring comes and we play outside. But it is that time of year when games go on sale and we like to add to our collection each year. I used to write for the local MOPS newsletter and I pulled this article up to repost because so many of my readers have pre-schoolers and I can hardly remember……Later I will post on games for older kids.
Our game closet is overflowing. When children pull out whatever game they love and play it three or four times a week, things don’t stay neat and tidy. But as mothers, our goal is not tidiness (it’s true!), our goal is to nurture a family. My family love games and prefer the interaction they require to almost any other form of entertainment. Kids learn strategy, patience, kindness, and the proper way to win and lose. Games promote laughter (occasionally tears), discourage bickering, and help families have fun together. They are affordable. At my house, if a $10 game is played fifteen times for a month and then forgotten, that’s money well spent.
Never fear, playing games with young kids doesn’t mean enduring Candyland drudgery. Before getting started though, consider investing in card holders for little hands. That way they can play card games (including Uno) and not need much help. (Find them in the game aisle for about $5.)
I listed games you won’t find in easily in stores because I assume you can find the limited selection of games for preschoolers available at area box stores (Memory, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Don’t Break the Ice). Barnes and Noble or a game store is the bet local option for these games. Online, I’ve had the best luck with Amazon.com for great prices and free or cheap shipping.
Games for little ones that won’t numb mommy’s mind:
Wig Out: One of GameWright’s 12-minute games, this card game involves sorting and speed. Fun. Four-year-old Andrew can beat me fair and square. But I can beat him too. The game says 6 and up, but I think a smart almost 4-year-old could manage.
Big Top: Find the missing circus act in this fun (even for mom) card game. Your little one can practice hand-eye coordination, color recognition, and counting. You can modify this game a bit and make it work for 3-year-olds, though 4 and up is the recommended age.
Goblet Gobblers: Finally, a tic tack toe variation that is challenging for you and your kids. The box says ages 5 and up, but I think a young 4-year-old could play. Play tick tack toe, with three different size gobblers enabling you to play on top of someone else. Watch out, your kids will see moves you totally missed.
Froggie Boogie: Even older cousins will enjoy playing this game with 4 year-olds. Froggie Boogie involves baby frogs, lily pads, and memory. Giggles always accompany this game. Warning: The game has a lot of pieces so keep it on a high shelf and supervise this game around your little ones. Recommended for ages 4 and up.
Kids on Stage: Charades for non-readers. This game is great for groups of kids from 3 to 9. They will all have fun, laugh and learn valuable skills about presenting to a group.
Rat-a-Tat-Cat: This fast game of laying four cards down and trying to swap them for lower point cards is super fun. Start playing it as soon as your kids undertand numbers through ten and keep playing it for years. Teaches a bit of strategy too.
*Game images copied from Gamewright and Blue Orange Games