Top 10 Board Games for Preschoolers, Kindergarteners, and Everyone Who Loves Them

Posted: August 19, 2020 | Updated: August 19, 2020
Created by: Ms. Sylvia

Before the pandemic, my family enjoyed board games. Now, they’re essential!

In a time when we have to spend so much time online, there’s something very special about sitting around a table to play a game. Whether you win or lose, some new memories-- and sometimes new skills--are formed.

For young learners, board games are a wonderful, playful way to build skills. I encourage you to make your own board games together (it’s not as intimidating as it sounds), but there are also wonderful options available to purchase! Here are my top recommendations for young board game players, specifically those who are preschool- to kindergarten-aged. Personally, I find that they’re enjoyable for adults, too!

In general, if you’re looking for a new board game for young people, my go-to companies are Ravensberger, Haba, and EeBoo. You’ll see several of their games on this list.

Let’s play!

1. First Orchard

Ages 2 and up
First Orchard is a great first game. It is simple and collaborative. Your goal is to collect all the fruit in the orchard before the Raven gets to it! Fate is in charge, though, since your speed is left up to the roll of a die. This is a wonderful game for learning to take turns and generally learning to play board games, but it is also a fantastic introduction to colors and addition.

2. Snail Pace Race

Ages 2 and up
Another classic for young children, Snail Pace Race is a dice-rolling game with colorful snails. In one version, every player is helping all the snails move across the game board. When the snail’s color is rolled, the snail advances.

However, you can also turn this into a competitive game, with each player picking their own snail. I love that this game is adaptable and enjoyed playing both ways. Of course, I prefer the collaborative version, but it’s always nice to have options to meet the needs of the children you’re playing alongside.

3. Enchanted Forest

Ages 5 and up
Before we dive into why I love “Enchanted Forest” so very, very much, let me first say -- oof, do I struggle with the art used on the modern version of this game. It’s not my aesthetic. I grew up playing “Enchanted Forest” with a friend and her family, so it’s both nostalgia and the overall look that lead me to recommending that you search for the 1982 edition of the game. This edition can be even less expensive than a new copy and, to my eye, has much better art.

Whatever edition you choose and whatever your feelings may be about the art, the mechanisms of Enchanted Forest are amazing for introducing board games, retelling fairy tales, and building memory skills. This is one of my favorite games on this list, but it is also one of the most complicated. My four-year-old niece wasn't quite ready for the complexity, but she enjoyed playing a highly adapted version as a memory game.

4. I Never Forget a Face Matching Game

Ages 3 and up
If you are looking for a simple memory and matching game these days, you are spoiled for choice! I love “I Never Forget a Face”, because it shows so much human diversity and encourages descriptive language when noticing the differences between each person’s accessories.

5. Picnic Game

Ages 3 and up
Take turns deciding what will make the perfect picnic! I love the discussions that young children have while playing this game, as well as seeing what they choose. This game comes with a picnic cloth and different foods. Children have to choose an item from the category selected from their spin (place setting, main dish, fruit). Watch out though as you can lose a turn if the ants come!

Emotionally, this game can be very difficult for young children if they watch someone else scoop up their favorite food from one category or another, but that, too, is a great learning experience. If you don’t want to purchase this game, but like the mechanism, it is an easy one to recreate for yourself.

6. Squirrel Game

Ages 4 and up
This game has become very popular for young learners, and with good reason! The fine motor skills involved in lifting an acorn are excellent for developing reading and writing skills as well as just being plain fun! Once your child has an easy time grasping the acorn with the plastic tongs provided by the game, I highly recommend introducing larger kitchen tongs or, for my favorite variation, chopsticks. This makes the “Squirrel Game” a fun challenge for the whole family!

7. Gnomes at Night

Ages 4 and up
This game beautifully builds communication skills, since both players are working together to move their magnetic gnomes from opposite sides of the game board. If you miscommunicate and move in separate directions, the gnomes will fall down and off the board! It's an excellent problem solving and collaboration game for finding treasures.

8. My First Carcassonne

Ages 4 and up
This game is expensive, but wonderful. Like the more advanced version, “My First Carcassonne” builds sequencing skills, which are important to literary development. It also prepares young children to eventually graduate to playing Carcassonne when they are older (and I really do love Carcassonne).

9. Engineering Ants

Ages 5 and up
Engineering Ants is a wonderful construction game. Save your fellow ants from the anteater! One of the more advanced offerings on this list, it is also a collaborative game that requires players to overcome obstacles through engineering.

10. The Yoga Garden Game

Ages 4 and up
The goal of this game is ostensibly to help plant a garden before nightfall, but it is also about moving your body, getting creative, and working together with your fellow players. I love the beautiful illustrations and find it's a great way for children to learn traditional poses and to explore movement within their bodies.