Hands-on learning and fun with 10 preschool board games. Perfect for teaching counting, colors, shapes, letters, practicing fine motor skills and encouraging cooperative play!
Board and table games are so much fun for preschoolers. They are just entering the cooperative stage of play and are beginning to interact with others and learn the rules of social play.
The cooperative stage of play usually begins around three years old. In this stage, preschoolers are learning to follow a set of rules (and pushing the limits), take turns, and how to win and lose. Board games are fantastic for encouraging preschoolers to communicate in new ways and experiment with cooperative play.
Along with practicing the important social aspects of play, we can encourage preschoolers to practice fine motor skills and academic concepts like letters and numbers, colors and shapes in a hands-on way with board and table games.
The following list is ten educational and fun preschool board games that will encourage social development and hands-on learning.
Classic Preschool Board Games
1. Candy Land
Candy Land is a classic preschool board game that will encourage taking turns, following directions, and identifying colors – no reading required! This is the perfect beginner game or very first board game for preschoolers. Just flip over a colored card to get started!
Chutes and Ladders is another classic preschool board game that you won’t want to miss! Your little one will practice taking turns and counting as well as learning a slightly more complicated set of directions. Spin the spinner, move your piece along the numbered squares, and find a new direction where you land. Will you climb up or slide down? Either way it will be fun!
Dominoes are great as a preschool introduction to table and board games. Playing a traditional dominoes game gives preschoolers a fun opportunity to practice counting, sorting, matching and working cooperatively to build the board. If your little one isn’t quite ready for traditional dotted dominoes, try a preschool domino set such as Busy Barnyard Dominoes or Woodland Life Dominoes. These preschool sets have picture cards in
Practice Fine Motor Skills with Hands-on Preschool Games
Hi Ho! Cherry-O is an adorable game that will encourage your preschooler to practice that tricky pincer grasp – the one that will be so important for handwriting and letter formation next! Your little one will also practice counting, taking turns, and using a spinner to play. *This is also a great game for older kids to play with younger ones!
5. Connect 4
Connect 4 is a fun and easy game for preschoolers. While not technically on a flat board, this game will encourage fine motor skills, counting, and taking turns. If your kids are like mine, they will also LOVE dumping the chips at the end of the game!
Another fantastic off-the board preschool board game is Don’t Break the Ice. This can be played independently or with 2 or more players. Your little one will love tap-tap-tapping the ice cubes with their mallet out of the game board. They will practice fine motor skills, learn cause and effect, take turns, and have a laugh when Phillip the Penguin finally takes a dive through the ice.
A note: This game was one of the very first that I saw my oldest use and begin to develop a strategy. At first he tapped random blocks, but after playing the games several time he started working out which blocks to tap. This is an important part of your preschoolers development of thinking and learning skills that can be encouraged through playing preschool board games – and so much fun to watch!
Yeti in My Spaghetti is the Pick-Up-Sticks for today’s little ones. This simple off-the-board game is easy to learn and a little more fun than the old-fashioned version. Set up the spaghetti in a criss cross pattern over the plate, place Yeti on top, and carefully pull off one noodle at a time. Don’t let Yeti fall! Preschoolers will learn taking turns, cause and effect, and practice pincer grasp and moving slowly and deliberately to win the game.
Preschool Board Games based on Familiar Characters
Let’s Feed The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game is a great way to connect one of your preschooler’s favorite books to some hands-on learning fun! The rules of this game are a bit more advanced, so it might be worth it to practice with some of the easier, classic games first. In this game, your child will practice counting and colors as well as important critical thinking skills as they decide which way to move around the board (the board itself is set up in a way similar to Trivial Pursuit).
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed goes perfectly with the fun nursery rhyme with the same name. This game is another that is slightly advanced with multiple steps for each turn. This is an adorable and hilarious game where your child will interact with other players, role play bedtime routines, practice fine motor skills (carefully placing monkeys on the bed), and following a multiple-step process to complete their turn.
Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons Game is one of our favorites. This is a slightly more advanced player, and I would not recommend it as your first board game. However after your preschooler has had practice following rules and cooperating with others in a board game setting, this is one that you will really love! This is a truly social and fun game as you play on the board as well as with the other players – collecting, losing, and trading buttons in order to collect the most at the end of the game.