Board games start to get a lot more fun with preschoolers. There are some fun board games for toddlers, but choice is relatively limited. With preschoolers the sheer number of board games available ensures there is one that’s right for you. It also makes picking the right board games for your family a daunting task. After lots of family testing, we came up with a few things that helped us pick preschool board games that we knew would be a hit once they were on the table. Use these tips to help you pick perfect preschool board games!
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3 Tips to Pick Perfect Preschool Board Games
1. Keep ’em Short
The first thing to consider when picking preschool board games is length of play. With toddler games, we targeted ten minutes to fifteen minutes max. Once our kids were preschool aged, their attention span definitely lasted longer, but they still had the most fun with short games. Playing a ten minute game twice was usually more fun for them then playing a twenty minute game once.
One thing to note, we definitely saw the kids’ attentions spans develop a lot during this age range. As three year olds they ALWAYS stuck to shorter games, once they were four to four and half they tended to stay engaged longer and enjoy games that required more decision-making. I would recommend erring toward shorter games, and experimenting with games that play closer to thirty minutes when your child is ready.
2. Theme, Theme, Theme
The preschooler imagination is so powerful. Picking a board game theme that aligned with our kids’ current interests had a dramatic impact on their focus levels. They would work so much harder to learn a game if the theme was right. The best example of this in our house was with the game Sleeping Queens. My wife had found this game at a thrift store and put it in storage for when the kids were older (I would recommend it for late preschool to kindergarten age gamers typically). My son, a three year old at the time, had been REALLY into knights/dragons. He happened to see the Sleeping Queens box on a shelf and was begging to play. We tried the typical line ‘you can play that when you’re older’…. no dice. Finally we caved and got the game out. It was amazing to see how hard he worked at learning the rules and remembering what each card’s ability was, with in a week he had the game down pat and was regularly beating us. Moral of the story, find a game with a theme to match your kid’s interests and engage their imagination when you’re looking at preschool board games!
3. Consider Cooperative Games
Winning and losing can feel like life altering events in the preschool brain. Our preschoolers would go through phases where losing at a board game resulted in tears, yelling, and board throwing. One of the things that helped them come out of this phase was cooperative board games. It was so helpful for them to see how we, as parents, acted when we lost to the game while playing cooperatively.
Cooperative games are also a perfect way to ease your preschooler into more complex games. When you’re playing on a team it gives them the opportunity to lean on you as they work to understand the more complex aspects of a new game. These are just a couple of the reasons we love cooperative board games, if you’re want to read the rest check out the Game Changing Reasons to Play Cooperative Board Games post. If you’re looking to find some great cooperative board games, sorted by age, check out 30+ Best Cooperative Board Games.
Find Your Next Preschool Board Game
I hope these tips help you find the perfect preschool board game for your family! I’d love to hear from you in the comments section, what do you look for in preschool board games?
This is a continuation of the preschool board game series. Read the first post on Reasons to Play Preschool Board Games, and subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss the next post!