Board games are one of the best ways of learning for preschoolers. It not only teaches them the concept of rules and gameplay, but they also get to learn a variety of speech, logical and visual reasoning, and social skills in a fun and casual way!
In a world of consumer electronics and video games, board games also present a great bonding experience for families (unless you can buy the rare board game that’s derived from a video game). They allow preschool kids to join in on the wholesome fun.
That said, here are five of the most popular board games on the market specifically designed for preschool children, along with their learning value and recommended number of players.
Best Board Games for Preschoolers:
Learning values: Logical thinking, cooperation and memory retention
Number of players: 2-4
Outfoxed! is a collaborative “whodunit” game that requires players to work together. The objective is identify the culprit who stole Mrs. Plumpert’s delicious potpie.
The game teaches deductive reasoning, memory and logic by studying the “crime scene”. It also teaches the value of cooperation since players must collaborate to analyze clues and whittle down the list of possible suspects.
But what we like most about this game is its non-competitive nature: everyone must work together to pin the culprit and finish the game. This allows kids to feel a sense of accomplishment without any sour graping about losing, making it our best board game for preschoolers.
The game includes a colorful gameboard, 16 suspect cards, 16 thief cards, 12 clue markers, 4 detective pawns for the players, 3 dice, and 1 fox figurine.
RELATED: Best Board Games for Speech Therapy
Learning values: Collaborative, visual and interpersonal skills
Number of players: 1-6
Don’t mind its awful pun name… this game is massive and sure to entertain kids for hours!
Busytown consists of a 6-foot-long gameboard made up of 3 pieces that interlock together like a puzzle. The town consists of a city center, outlying town, airport, harbor, and farmlands. The objective is to move the game piece across the board to the ferry boat, which will take them to Picnic Island. To do this, players need to work together to find hidden objects across the map, which is where the “Eye Found It” part comes in.
The landscape is filled with tons of details, ensuring hours of cooperative fun. Of course, kids will be able to memorize it over time, but the humongous size of the board and the 40-second time limit to find each object means it will take dozens of playthroughs before all items are found.
The gameboard itself is best played on a wide-open floor space, or a long dinner table for the not-so-young players who can’t hunch over.
When your kids have memorized the locations of all objects, there’s also a Disney version that replaces the landscape with iconic locations in Disneyland!
RELATED: Check out my Etsy Shop for preschool crafts and games!
Learning values: Early language and visual matching skills
Number of players: Up to 7
This fun pre-reading game takes the classic Bingo and reinvents it for 4-year-olds. Players simply slide the Zinger to reveal images, and fill in their card when there’s a match. The concept is very simple and anyone can play it immediately after opening the box. It also teaches object identification and visual matching in a fun and engaging way.
It includes 72 tiles, 24-double sided cards, and the titular Zingo game piece. This award-winning game is the recipient of multiple prestigious trophies, including an Oppenheim Gold, Parents’ Choice Award, ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award, and is a three-time Toy of the Year Nominee.
RELATED: Best Toys for Language Development
Learning values: Spatial reasoning and logical thinking
Number of players: 2-4
Blokus’ premise is very simple: players are given 21 blocks. They take turns placing their block on the board, but it must touch another block of the same color. The game ends when there is no more room on the game board, and the winner is the one with the lowest number of blocks left. Technically this game is for 7+, but there are many ways to include your preschooler in this family game!
While the concept is quite simple, the gameplay itself is cunning. Players can block each other, build alliances, or outmaneuver opponents to gain the most “real estate” for placing their pieces. As a board game for preschoolers, it teaches color, visual skills, and logic. For older players, it teaches strategy and interpersonal skills.
Of all the games on this list, this board game provides the most replayability and enjoyment for adults. Just be prepared for tantrums from younger players!
Learning values: Memory, association and environmental awareness
Number of players: 2-4
Hungry Bins brings a new twist to the classic object-matching game. Players are given tokens consisting of several waste items. They must then feed the tokens into the hungry mouths of four colorful bins, representing paper, plastic, glass, and compost.
Everyone takes turns taking tokens and matching them in classic memory game style. However, the game also allows preschool kids to just grab tokens from a pile and sort it.
Beyond the typical memory retention, the game also teaches children the concept of recycling and ecological awareness.
The game itself is eco-friendly: the packing material is made of shredded paper, while the board game is made of recycled cardboard. It includes 32 tokens and 16 different objects. Hungry Bins boasts the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, a Mom’s Choice Award, and is Creative Child Magazine’s Preferred Choice for 2021.
What are your favorite games for preschoolers? Share in the comments below so other parents can check them out!