This weekend Jeff introduced Sam to Minecraft. I’ll be honest, I don’t have strong feelings against video games, in fact, I think many of them (Minecraft included) can be really educational for kids; BUT, I don’t want that to be the only kind of entertainment my kids are exposed to… We have lose “rule” in our house that Sam only plays video games on the weekends and that they always come after outside or creative play time.
Another thing that this weekend’s foray into the world of Minecraft made me realize is that playing with Sam is genuinely hard for me (I’ve talked about this here before – I’m more of a “do-er” and not a “player” naturally), BUT I was a little envious of the time Jeff and Sam got to spend together and the way they were bonding over the game…
We have our reading time together every night which I treasure; but, this school year (the last before he starts real school), I want to be even more intentional about my time with Sam – especially in the afternoons when I get home from work and Nora is still napping. One thing that we both enjoy is playing board games together… Over the last couple of years, we have accumulated quite the collection of games (many of them oldies but goodies from my own childhood), so today I’m sharing 15 that we know and love (and one I really want to try):
P.S. I’m defining “board” games pretty loosely here.
15 Great Board Games for Preschoolers (and Their Parents):
1. HiHo! Cherry-O – Sam loves this one, but *be warned* it can take a while. 😉
2. Hungry Hungry Hippos – Keep this one in a “secret hiding place” because it is LOUD and has tiny pieces; but, you’ll be the favorite parent when you pull it out. Other kids always ask to play this when they come visit, and it is so fun.
3. Connect 4 – Surprisingly, this took a little while for Sam to catch on to; but, once he did, he was hooked. (His favorite part is releasing all the chips at the end – of course.)
4. Let’s Go Fishin’ – Sam went through a stage where this is ALL he wanted to play. It’s easy for little ones and great for fine motor skill development. (Warning though: The fish do break sort-of easily!) *Requires batteries*
5. Perfection – I loved this one when I was little, and Sam got a kick out of it when he was a little younger. The pieces all fit inside the game for easy storing, so this is a fun one to pack up for a trip or even take to a (noisy) restaurant. *Requires batteries*
6. Candy Land – No list of board games would be complete without this one, right? A classic for sure, it always makes me nostalgic. Sam loved the bright colors and illustrations, and he could play it when he was as young as 3. It can take a while to finish though (and can provide a good lesson in losing – haha).
7. Chutes & Ladders – See all of the above comments for this one too! (We had the Super Hero version which made it slightly uglier and less educational to me and slightly cooler to Sam.)
8. Mouse Trap – I don’t know if we ever actually played this by the rules, but Sam loved building the trap and catching the mouse when he was a little younger. (This is the Elefun version we have – the classic is still on the market, but a lot more expensive!)
9. Guess Who – This is my personal favorite. It’s been re-done and is quite a bit different from the original game, but the concept is the same. Sam and I both love it. (Again, you can buy the original version – it seems – on Amazon for about double the price.)
10. Spot It – This is a little card game and can be played quick and easily packed for a trip, a restaurant, etc. Sam and our babysitter play this almost every morning before he goes to school. The concept is actually pretty awesome, and I feel like it has to be good for brain development.
11. Engineering Ants – I’m going to be honest, I don’t really understand this one. Basically, they just give you a bunch of supplies and you have to build different things — maybe like a fancy Mouse Trap?!? Anyway, Jeff says it’s an excellent game, and Sam seems to really enjoy it.
12. Robot Turtles – Because it’s never to early to start teaching your kids to code. 😉 No, really, this is a fun game, and it makes me feel smart when we play. 😉
13. Sequence for Kids – Sam and I sometimes make up on our rules to this game; but, either way, it’s fun and easy!
14. Count Your Chickens – This game has won all sorts of awards and encouraged cooperation and teamwork. It’s cute too. (There are a lot of little pieces to keep up with though!)
BONUS: HedBanz – We don’t actually have this one yet, but I think it looks so fun! It’s on my “list” for sure.
So, what did I leave off? Do you have a favorite board game to play with your kids to add to this list? How do you make intentional time to “play”?
P.S. I also love giving board games as gifts at birthday parties – they are almost always less than $20 (some are less than 10!), are easy to wrap (important), and the kids (and parents) really like them.
P.S.S. In case you’re wondering where we store all these games (and how we keep Nora from eating all the little pieces)… I found a great solution here via Pinterest using a hanging closet organizer. We’ve kept all our games inside one in our downstairs coat closet for almost two years now, and it works perfectly! You’re welcome!