Three Games Your Toddler CAN Play

If your family is anything like ours, then you love to play games together. We spend almost every evening after supper and before bath involved in a family game. Lazy weekend afternoons are often game-filled too. But here’s the thing… my kids are little. We have one who JUST turned three (and was born four months early) and one who will be four later this month. And maybe it’s just me, but there seem to be an awful lot of games labeled “3 and up” that really mean “your 3-year old can maybe, possibly play this if you are constantly 100% on top of what she is doing and don’t mind esssentially playing for her”. And, in my opinion, those games just aren’t as fun for anybody involved.

Here are three games, tried and tested by our family, that your older 2-year old or young 3-year old really CAN play. These are games your child can handle with some independence which is good for both of you. I’m not saying your 2-year old and 3-year old could play this together with no adult present… I’m just saying that they can master and handle the concepts.

  1. Hasbro Candyland Castle Game- We received this game as a gift the Christmas of 2007 and it was the first game we were able to play together as a family. The idea is very simple. Players take turns pulling the plastic candy cane and a plastic game piece pops out. The object is to match the color and shape to the shapes on your “cookie” until you’ve filled all four spots. There are no small pieces, everything packs together neatly, and the concepts of shape- and color-matching are important early skills.
  2. Wiggles Stick On Game- I’m going to be very honest here and tell you that this game is not a favorite of mine or my husband’s. It’s not overly exciting. The idea here is to take turns spinning until you land on and collect five party items. Each time you land on a new one, you get to choose a colorform sticker to add to your game card. The first player to collect all five wins. That’s it. But it’s simple for even the youngest players and little ones seem to enjoy getting to choose which instrument, for example, they want. The game again addresses colors and also introduces some new vocabulary for the very young….
  3. Neighborhood Sounds Bingo by Bloom (a division of Cranium)- A huge hat-tip to my sister for choosing this game for my daughter’s 3rd birthday present. This is one fun, fabulous game. It comes with four bingo cards each with nine everyday neighborhood images (a dog, a pool, a fire truck, a duck, a baby, etc), sturdy cardboard bingo chips, and a “radio”. To play the game, you push the orange radio button to hear a sound. Children identify the sound of a frog croaking or children playing ring around the rosie, etc. and then look for the corresponding image on their game card. The first player to get three in a row calls “bingo” and pushes the blue radio button upon which a voice announces, “Great job- you win! Everyone (insert silly command, e.g. hop around the room like a frog, quack like a duck, honk your horns, etc.)” At that point, all players get to participate in some ridiculously silly thing that results in much laughter and also usually makes everyone forget who technically “won”. This game requires good listening skills, turn-taking, making cognitive connections, and some fine motor skills. I was amazed how well even our younger child did with this game!

So there you go! Gather your little ones and settle in for a fun family game. And, if any of you have these games, let me know what you think of them in the comments.

What other games do you enjoy playing with your toddlers?

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