7 of the Best Board Games for Younger Children

Whether they're obviously educational or just for fun, board games are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon with the family.  Some board games are generations old and show no signs of losing popularity, while other newer games are a great hit.  Here are some of the best board games for the pre-readers aged 3-6.

Shark Chase is a fun new game from John Adams.  Can you run fast enough to escape the shark?  Swim too slow and you'll end up as shark dinner...  Everyone takes turns to move their sea creatures around the board, trying to keep ahead of the shark.  The girls love this one, such fun!

Chutes and Ladders is the classic fun game that helps children learn their numbers and the principle of taking turns.  (Snakes and Ladders in the UK)

Candyland is perfect even for the youngest kids who know or are learning their colours.  For this game all a child needs is an understanding of colours and a reasonable attention span.

Hi Ho! Cherry-O is another classic game that helps children learn the numbers from 0 to 10.  The player has to try to pick all the cherries off their tree first without a bird or dog stealing any, or the dreaded 'spilling the bucket'.

Who can be the first to get their coloured pegs safely home?  The game Sorry teaches children to be good sports even if the game is not going their way, to say they are sorry after each move they make against another player, and that anyone can win, no matter how good or bad someone's start is.

The classic game of Bingo can now be found on toy shelves too.  It even includes a fun 'spin the cage and a ball drops out' apparatus.  This is a good game to help teach kids double figure numbers.  But it can also be found in many permutations for other subjects, such as this fun Ocean Bingo.

Mastermind is a classic strategy game that is just as much fun for adults, but can also be played by children.  You hide from one to five coloured pegs and your opponent must guess what colour the pegs are and in what order you placed them.  You can give extra clues to the littlest players.

Boggle Jr. is less of a game than a learning strategy for teaching how to spell and read words.  Take a card that has either three or four letters on it and find the letters you think spell the word on the cubes.  Put the letters into their spots and check to see if you are right.

And one more for luck...

For a couple of other game ideas, try the classic card games such as Old Maid, War, Go Fish, and Crazy Eights like in this set of all the classic games or play dominoes which is great for learning and practicing counting.

More board games ideas:

The 10 Best Board Games for Family Fun
Sshh! Don't Wake Dad
Monkey Flip

More gift ideas:

The Best Advent Calendars for Kids this Year
21 of the Best Barbie Gift Ideas Your Child Will Love
The Best Dressing Up Costumes for Kids this Year
The Best Toys for Boys 8-10 Years Old
The Best Toys for Girls 7-10 Years Old

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