There are many nights when the handful of hours between preschool pickup and bedtime don’t feel like nearly enough. But there are also weeks when the after-dinner dark seemed to stretch forever. So, I came up with a game plan and started suggesting specific family activities that didn’t start with “Net” and end in “flix”.
We brought out board games we’ve accumulated over the past few years and played together. Gathering around a game truly transformed many of our evenings, and when we emphasized cooperation over competition, things went even better.
The few board games I remembered from my own young life were Candyland, eventually growing into SORRY!, and Scrabble matches with my grandpa. Kids have quite the selection now. We’ve seen some oldies can still captivate the preschool crowd and totally new-to-us games that truly delight.
Here are 5 toddler games that are great for a rainy day
This game is like the egg race game we did growing up, but with less mess and more laughs. (Carry pieces on a spoon through a cardboard monster’s mouth, while doing wacky moves.) The company behind it – Peaceable Kingdom – has several other cooperative games geared toward young children.
This game comes with two levels of play. My preschooler is learning to identify letters, and so this was a great game for identifying them.
The classic never disappoints. The best part of this game is that there are basically zero rules to remember, and chomping is something even our toddler can master. We practice counting when it’s time to see whose hippo has eaten the most balls. We also got into “Don’t Break the Ice” this winter, too. I’m stowing that one away until next snowy season.
This is a great game for younger preschoolers. It’s a bit like Candyland, but there are more opportunities to practice counting the spaces. Players collect puzzle pieces that come together into beautiful Eric Carle style butterflies.
We got into this Melissa & Doug game a few winters ago with my middle school niece and nephew, and it’s a lot of fun for grownups who’ve had a few adult beverages. My pre-K son is just getting the hang (see what I did there?) of balancing the pieces, and it’s fun to play with him. There’s also a “Jr.” version.
What are some of your favorite board games to play with your kids? I love the idea of stocking up on a family favorite to give as gifts, too.
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