Playing games with preschoolers is always interesting, I mean, that 3 to 5 age range is wild in a lot of ways, but trying to play games is always a little extra wild! But they love to be big kids that play board games! So we try to accommodate.
It’s tricky to find games they can actually play though, especially games that teach them something or prepare them for learning later on, while STILL being games you’d want to keep on your shelf for more than a year. Who wants to buy a game that’s only for preschool? No? Good! Me neither!
And don’t worry–I got your preschool board-game search completed already. Playing games is a big deal at our house, so we have quite a collection of games that are preschool appropriate and that really helps them learn!
Do we always play EXACTLY by the rules? Nope. But we’re getting there. Sometimes we make small tweaks to the rules, other times we just leave the game open-ended after teaching the HOW of the game…but I’ll get into each of those as I tell you about the game.
And I know, I know…where’s the worksheet?? I’m a little worksheet crazy! It’s just how I personally learned best in school, and my boys seem like it too. But there’s all sorts of learning styles, and including more than just worksheets is VITAL to being a well-rounded learner!
If you’re still looking for worksheets, check out my Master List of Worksheets for all your worksheet needs, and otherwise, stick around for my Top 10 Board Games for Preschoolers!
My list does include affiliate links, which means I earn a little bit too if you buy through the link (either the game name or the picture). No worries if you do or don’t, just a heads up!
Here we go! In no particular order, our Top 10 Preschool Board Games:
I guess this isn’t a board game, but you get the idea. Besides there are SO many ways to learn with this game! Just stacking the blocks (alternating their direction) is awesome for fine motor skills and pattern recognition. Make the stack as short or tall as works best for your family and learn about balance, gravity, and using those little fingers very carefully! This is such a good game when you only have a few minutes before bed or just need a good laugh.
((SUPER BONUS: right now, through my affiliate link, this game is only like $5, which is AWESOME. Just click here for $5 Jenga!))
Use for teaching: motor skills, patterns, stacking, taking turns, and balance.
We break this game out on a regular basis, but maybe not for the reasons you’d think. We have one son that is a particularly sore loser and–(maybe we’re horrible)–but we use this to teach about losing with dignity and kindness. It’s always a bit of a rough time, but so worth it. (And he still thinks it’s fun, so even when he loses he asks for it later! Success!) We also use it to teach about winning with kindness, because this is a game of chance and you never know when you’ll be bumped! Your luck could change at any moment!
Also great for teaching: colors, counting, number recognition, taking turns, and flipping cards over (which is way more fine motor skill than you’d expect!).
I think Connect 4 was the first game my kids played against each other. I mean, it’s just a fancy version of tic-tac-toe, but the idea of taking turns, paying attention to what your opponent was doing and then blocking them, all those basic game skills were pretty much learned with this game. With simple rules and timeless gameplay, Connect 4 is kind of a must have in our house. (This is also a good one for our needs-to-learn-to-be-a-good-sport child…just sayin’.)
Use for teaching: counting, sequencing, taking turns, patterns, motor skills, etc.
Blockus probably seems a little intimidating for little kids. I should say for the parents of those kids…the kids were ALWAYS breaking this one out when we weren’t looking, so clearly they weren’t scared! So we started playing it. We often just practice fitting the pieces together like a puzzle or making shapes, but our two oldest (six and four years old) are getting the hang of the gameplay, so that’ll be fun!
Use for teaching: shapes, spatial awareness, colors, taking turns.
There are a million ways to play dominos, but the way we know and love is matching the dotted number to another piece with the same number. Since the kids are still little (6, 4, and 2), we play with all our dominos up and help each other count and place the pieces. When the kids get bored (and eventually they do, even if they like making a number train), stack them on ends and knock the dominos over!
Use for teaching: one-to-one recognition, numbers, piece placing (fine motor skills), taking turns, helping others, balancing pieces.
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(Affiliate link included.)
For color and number recognition, this game is AMAZING. And my kids caught on to the “match the color or number” idea fairly quickly, so you might even be able to play the regular game, depending on how old your kids are! (I do take out wilds, just so we’re clear…I’m not making it too crazy on them!)
Use for teaching: color recognition, number recognition, taking turns, flipping and mixing up cards (pre-shuffling skills).
Story cubes are SO much fun and everyone can play them. Yes, yes, it’s not really a “board game”. Roll the die, look at the picture, tell a story, it’s that simple. We’ve used them to retell a story we already know (incorporating the picture on the cube), make up new stories, or even act things out! So versatile and fun! (And takes no reading whatsoever!) The Story Cubes have expansion packs to, so you can get different themes and add new ideas to your stories!
Use for teaching: sequencing, imagination, vocabulary, rolling die, picture recognition, writing, etc.
Half the time we don’t use the board, let’s face it. Sometimes we just use the tiles as flashcards. (“What’s this?” “A!”) My older two can make word trains, where the last letter of the first word becomes the first letter of the next: AmazinG GoaT TraiN NO OlivE etc. We might add points soon so they come up with bigger words. Basically, it starts out as a great alphabet manipulator set and turns into a game as they get older. I don’t even do Scrabble Jr, because why would I?
Use for teaching: alphabet recognition, word building, phonetics, real v nonsense words, vowels, vocabulary, etc.
Who remembers playing this as a kid? I LOVE this game! We traditionally think of it as being an elementary school age game, but with some simplification, it makes a great preschool game too! We either play in teams (one who understands the rules with one who is just playing for the counting) or we just pick random spots and move marbles (“This has five marbles!” Move them traditionally, then: “Wow! We landed in a spot with three marbles!”).
Use for teaching: numbers, counting, one to one recognition, fine motor skills.
I hadn’t heard of Labyrinth until a few months ago, and now we are totally sold on it. We play a modified version, so I can see this being a game we play for years without getting bored of it! Basically, Labyrinth is a logic game. You have to slide pieces in order to create paths to the objects. Since our kids are little still, we work as a team to get objects instead of against each other, but it is still so much fun!
Use for teaching: logic, problem solving, cause and effect, team work, fine motor skills.
So there’s our list! I hope it helps in your search for fun things that still teach your kids. We have given or received basically every game on this list as Christmas or birthday presents, but they’re also good for family nights and learning time!
What games does YOUR family love to learn from? I’d love to hear some new suggestions! Comment yours below!
Keep on learning! Have a happy day!