My husband and I decided that board games should be a regular part of our weekends so we can get the family together in one room and really enjoy the time together. Life is so busy sometimes that simple family time without TV and cell phones is easily missed.
We started playing board games when my first son was 2 years old and now we have 2 boys ages 3 and 5. Of course we don't limit our games to weekends only, we tend to play a lot of board games in the winter when it's cold outside and we can't go for a walk without freezer burning our faces.
For a list of other activities we do when we can't go outside, check out this related post.
How do board games help child development?
Children need to feel a connection with their parents, that's something that everyone needs in life. Spending time with parents makes them feel joy. Spending time with your kids builds self-confidence and makes them feel important.
I know my kids light up when I bring up the idea of doing an activity together, even if it's to grab the popcorn and watch a movie.
But what makes a Family Game Night so important for kids?
Playing games is an easy way to spend time that isn't hurried and can be super enjoyable. Not to say we haven't had some crying and tantrums during our game nights, but each time we play, the kids learn how to handle their emotions more and more.
Kids learn so much when they play board games. Some skills and concepts that are learned during a family game night might be:
- Patience While Waiting For Their Turn
- Empathy For Others
- Counting Skills
- Shape Recognition
- Hand-Eye Coordination
- Communication Skills
The really great thing about games is they don't have to be educational in theme. The point of the game is to have fun. Games can be super silly and still teach amazing skills.
My children learn that they can be pretty much for quite a long time within a game, but one roll of the dice can change the way their game is going in an instant. This can make them very upset sometimes, but this is a great learning moment that you can talk through.
The Losing Conversation
Children take to winning and losing very seriously. We need to be there to help them with their emotional reaction, especially if its a negative one when they have lost the game.
When we first started to play games, my son would run away to his room because he was upset about losing, or sometimes even losing a turn in the middle of a game.
We need to be there to guide them through their frustration and provide a positive experience during this fun time with the family. It can be daunting to play a game with a toddler who can explode with unhappiness at any given moment, but it's important.
You can always help toddlers win, they need that guidance when playing the game. You will probably want to keep your toddler happy when playing games with the family, just to keep the peace.
Remember that even though games are great for learning, they are also great for just plain fun.
21 Games You Can Play With Toddlers
This is a really fun game for Toddlers. It does have small parts and is not recommended for 2-year-olds, but my 2-year-old did have a lot of fun with it. You'll need some C batteries for this one.
Have loads of fun catching butterflies with this awesome game
This game is not recommended for ages under 8, but honestly, my 3-year-old LOVES this game. You roll the dice and move your pieces based on the color you rolled the dice to, then either pump the nozzle or twist the nozzle and try not to get the dog to shake. When the dog shakes, the toddlers just howl with laughter, it is so much fun. This is a great game to play with kids.
Let's Go Fishing
This game is not recommended for ages under 4, but it is really easy to play. Toddlers do well with this game. I remember playing this game when I was growing up, so much fun! The little fish open their mouth to reveal the magnet and you have to try to catch the fish with the fishing pole. This is a great game for hand-eye coordination.
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Card Game
This is a super silly game. The little ones have the best time with this one. Feed your furry friends with the whole family. Best played with a minimum of 3 people. This game is super affordable and the Amazon reviews are all positive so check them out.
This game is fun! It's like a twisted tic tac toe. You'll need some strategy to get through this one. Fun for the whole family!
Peaceable Kingdom Stack Up Board Game
Build towers before the block smasher arrives! You can play this game a few different ways. One side is better suited for the younger kids where you can color match the blocks and the other side is where you can stack and play the actual game. This is perfect for the family, gets everyone involved. Really fun game.
A classic fun game for family game night. My husband and I take turns with each kid to play this game. It really gets the kids to look at the cards and figure out what's different about each person that is in front of them. A must have in the family game cabinet.
Richard Scary Busy Town
This is a really well made high-quality colorful board game. It is so much fun! Join Hackle cat and lowly worm on a Busy town adventure, racing around Busy town to search for hidden objects in this fun-filled collaborative. Richard Scarry’s classic world comes to life in the gigantic, colorful game-board.
Pop The Pig
Have a good old time feeding the pig hamburgers until he pops. This game provides a lot of laughs and is totally fun for anyone over the age of 2.
Get splashed in the face with toilet water when you lose your turn! This game is a hoot!
Croc N Roll
You'll need a little space for this game. It is set up on the floor and it's more fun for the kids to run around, a little small for adults to play. But still super fun! The crocodile rolls around the circular space and the kids try to avoid getting hit by it. Lots of laughs with this one.
Don't Step In It Game
Be careful not to poop out while playing this hilarious game with messy consequences! put on a blindfold, spin the spinner, and then take that many steps across the game mat. But watch out! little pile of compound, molded in the shape of poop have been strategically placed on the mat.
A classic family game! Have a chompin' good time with the hippo-feeding Hungry Hungry Hippos game. Hungry Hippo and his pals are ready to join in the feeding frenzy. Release all the marbles onto the game base, and then start chomping.
This was one of the first games we got when my son was only 2 years old. The concept is simple and its a fun game for any age. Do you go up, to the side, or diagonally? Start in the middle or at the edge? It’s your choice in Connect 4 Game. Stack the 4 discs vertically, line them up side to side, or go on the diagonal. As long as you get 4-in-a-row, you win.
Your patient cavity Sam is feeling a bit under the weather. Can you "operate" and make him better, or will you get the buzzer? grab the tweezers and try with all of your might to take out all of his funny ailments. Can you help him with his pulled muscle or the frog in his throat? operate with your steadiest hand, but don't forget to steer clear of the sides and avoid lighting the light.
The exciting Pie Face game is filled with fun and suspense, and somebody’s bound to get splatted! Just put some delicious whipped cream from home or the wet sponge on the “hand” of this hilarious game unit and start turning the handles. It could go off at any time, so keep your fingers crossed and hope you’re not the one who gets a splat in the face!
Woo-Hoo! Kids Board Game
The garden gnomes have gathered in the playground to collect all the toys left behind by the young children during the day. But the giant elephant slide is just too fun for the gnomes to resist! So the they make a game of it:
Fantacolor Portable Game
Multi-shape, colorful peg sets featuring delightful, inspiring models, offered in handy storage and carry cases. These sets have been Quercetti best-sellers for decades.
Look up! loop in’ louie’s flying high in the sky! it's up to you to save your chickens from his swooping stunt plane! in this fast-paced and hilarious board game, four players face off to see who can keep their chickens safe from loop in’ Louie! to set up your board game, place the base on a table, choose a paddle and slide three chicken tokens into the handle.
Take a chance on the Watermelon Smash game. The all-new hilarious twist on the water roulette challenge. Fill in the watermelon with water (or watermelon seeds, as provided in the pack). Each player spins the spinner in turns and pressed the watermelon against their head as many times as said on the spinner. A suspenseful game in which you never know when the watermelon cracks and you lose.
Yeti Set Go
Kick your meatballs up the mountain! you and your Yeti are a teams mean, lean kicking’ team! it's up to you to aim Yeti and then Bop him on the head to make him start kicking’ meatballs, trying to get them onto the mountain ledges!
I hope you enjoyed this amazing list of games. These games have brought my family a lot of joy, some tears, but mostly joy 🙂
Remember that kids take to losing seriously and it is really important to walk them through their disappointments when that happens.