We hit a stint of 20 degree days here in Kansas City and my kids and I could instantly feel all the claustrophobic feels that come along with those harsh winter days. You run into that issue of “I could go to a play zone where my kids will pick up seven strings of the flu virus” OR I could “stay home and play for four hours (wait…it’s only been 20 minutes?!) with the kids today.” Know the feeling?
I’m always looking for a new learning activity, a craft, or a game to introduce to my kids that has some lasting power. I need something that won’t tire me out preparing, won’t lose its luster within 10 minutes, and doesn’t cost a lot of money. Not always easy to find!
Lately, I’ve really seen the great benefit of introducing good ‘ol fashioned board games to my three year old. I shouldn’t say good ‘ol fashioned. These aren’t like the games we grew up playing. Jackson is learning, he’s exploring, he’s asking bigger questions, and he’s playing cooperatively. Not always about a winner, but about solving a bigger task. I’ve fallen in love with some of the board games on the market right now and I can’t wait for you to try them with your kids, too.
These are five of our very favorite games to play in our house right now. Each game is perfect for my three year old but Colton (18 months) does play along in a modified version, as well. All games listed are best for 2-5 year olds.
Let’s get through the longest month of the year (because it takes 278 days to get through 😉) with some of the best games on the market!
Hoot Owl Hoot! – This game has won SEVERAL awards over the past year, and for such good reason! It’s a color-coded cooperative matching game that actually grows in difficulty as your child grows. Players work together to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. Key words: work together! This cooperative game means that players are talking to one another, problem solving, and taking turns to get the owls home. If the owls successfully reach the nest, EVERYONE wins.
Children learn simple strategy and social development skills with no reading required.
We LOVE this game at home!! My brother and sister-in-law purchased it for us for Christmas and we’ve played every single day since. Don’t wait. Nab this one up!
Zingo! – This link actually takes you to the Amazon search results for “Zingo,” because there are so many different versions of this game. There is one for sight words, time telling, word completion, picture recognition, and Zingo 1-2-3.
Pretty similar to bingo rules, the famous Zingo product line is great for young learners. The Zinger dispenses tiles as young minds quickly race to be the first player with a full card and yell ‘Zingo!’
It’s a fun way to practice preschool to elementary level skills in a different way. Ditch the flashcards and nab up some Zingo!
Pancake Pile Up! – Have a little room in your house? This game, guys! It’s a “race to complete” game where children are to stack and serve your pancakes to match the order cards. Be the first to correctly complete a pancake stack and top it with a pat of butter.
Here’s the great part…they’re learning while they are racing back and forth gathering pancakes and stacking them on their plates. It teaches following a sequence, a beginning math skill, and helps develop gross motor skills, balance, and coordination.
I have active kids and sometimes we need to get some energy out. This is my go-to game! We put the pancakes 10 feet from our “plates” and we are racing back and forth, five times over. I may or may not work up a sweat playing this game. 🙂
Hisss – In this card game, players match colors to make snakes from heads to tails. Complete a snake with all its parts and it goes to your snake pit. The player with the most snakes at the end of the game wins.
This game introduces color identification and visual logic. Does it make sense to have a snake with two tails and no head? Are those two colors the same? Even elementary counting skills come into play during scoring at the end of the game.
This is one of Jackson’s favorites right now. I love seeing his problem solving when we have seven incomplete snakes built and he has to find colors and body parts that match correctly. Zero frustration with this simple, yet very effective game!
Scavenger Hunt for Kids – Scavenger Hunt for Kids is the classic game of search and find with a tidy-up twist! Players have two minutes to search for silly stuff around the house, moving one space on the board for every item they find. Move additional spaces for putting those things back where it belongs. The first player to across the finish line wins. Each round encourages creative thinking and collaborative team play all while building vocabulary.
Talk about zero prep for this game! You use what you have AND you get to throw in some light cleaning to get your kids extra points within the game. Win – win- win!
Have any great games to share? Always looking for something to add to my collection!
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