My husband and I love playing board games with each other, whether in groups playing Catan, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, or just the two of us playing Codenames Duet. Somehow, I had not considered playing games with our three-year-old until she came home from preschool one day and told us that she was learning how to play Uno. We realized that playing games together would be a good test for all of us- exercising her brain while working on our patience and teaching skills.
Uno and Go Fish are two classic card games preschoolers can use to practice school skills, including numbers and colors. When playing Uno with my daughter, we always say our card’s number and color out loud for additional reinforcement (and she does the same on her turns). A few additional items that you might find handy for these games include an automatic card shuffler and a cardholder. Little hands tend to have a difficult time holding several cards at once (especially when Uno can go from having one card to having tons of cards in a single turn).
Chutes and Ladders was one of my favorite board games as a child, and my kids are having fun learning it now. The spinner is an easy concept even for my two-year-old, which again works on number recognition and allows them to practice counting out loud when they move spaces. One thing that is tricky is the board is small, and the spaces are very tight, making it easy for little ones to mistakenly skip over spaces.
Candy Land may be the quintessential children’s board game. Who doesn’t love gumdrops, lollipops, and rainbow bridges? This seems like a good starter board game if you are just beginning to introduce games to your toddler or preschooler because they really only need to know their colors (or be willing to accept some help recognizing colors) and be able to match pictures on the cards and the board.
Memory Match Game can be played in many ways in order to allow for the games to get progressively more challenging. Toddlers will enjoy playing with the cards face-up and finding matching pictures, while preschoolers will be able to practice some memory recall with a small number of cards before progressing to the full game.
Story Time Chess is a game I’ve been wanting to get my daughter for over a year, and we finally purchased it this past Cyber Monday! It uses stories to introduce and teach the game of chess, and it’s great because the adults do not need to know how to play chess either. It is truly fun to learn a new skill alongside your little one, and I think they enjoy starting on the same playing field as adults.
What other board and card games do your preschoolers and elementary students enjoy playing?