Every Saturday night in our house our kitchen transforms into game central for family game night! We have two boys, ages 4 and 2, and when we started looking for games we were pretty overwhelmed by all the options in the toy store. The four games below are a great starting point when you’re looking to build a game library for your family.
I’ll start off with my sons favorite, The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel, by Educational Insights. This game is recommended for kids ages 3-5, and if you’re playing it with younger siblings present, I would be cautious of the small acorn pieces. This game is very simple and is a great first game for your preschooler. The object of the game is to be the first person to fill your log with all of the different colored acorns. You take a turn using the spinner, then you use the squirrel squeezers to place your acorns in your log. There is also a “miss a turn”, “steal an acorn”, and a “storm” space on the spinner. This game is a good introduction to competitive games, and the concept of winning/losing. This game is also great for fine motor development because of the added challenge of the squirrel squeezers (which is my sons favorite part). The design of the game is adorable, and the colors are bright and cheery. You can find it here.
My kids second favorite game is Zingo! by ThinkFun. Zingo! follows the same concept of Bingo, and has 2 levels of play. The idea of the game is to be the first person to fill your Zingo! card by matching the picture and word tiles that come out of the zinger device and shouting out the tile you need before the other players. Zingo! is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, but I’d say a 3 year old would be able to grasp the concept of this game. My son LOVES the thrill of being the first person to shout the name of the tile he needs and fill up his card first. Even if he doesn’t win the whole game, he gets the satisfaction of “winning” tiles for his card during the game, which I love (less tears is always a plus in our house)! Since my son is a young 4, he does still get upset by “losing” but games like this are helping him learn how to be a gracious “loser”. We encourage him to say congratulations to the winner, and he is beginning to understand that there is always a chance to win next time. I want my son to learn how to be good sport and understand that not everyone can win every time, but with Zingo! your kids will be thrilled to achieve small victories throughout the game. You can find Zingo! here.
Next up is Sequence for Kids, by Jax Games. There are several different versions of Sequence, including several adult versions, and they are all awesome games for your preschooler and beyond. For kids, they make a Letters version, and a Numbers version in addition to the regular Kids version. For this post, I will be focusing on the Kids and Letters versions. Both of those versions are recommended for kids ages 4-7. The object of the game is to get “sequence” by getting 4 chips in a row. My son loves both versions, but I prefer the letters version since it helps my son practice his letter sounds without him knowing he’s learning! This game is great for reinforcing what your preschooler/kindergartner is learning at school, and a great tool for home schoolers. It’s also great for introducing the concept of strategizing. My son still struggles with that aspect of the game, but he is still able to play and win with minimal help. The best thing about this game in my opinion is that it’s actually fun for mom and dad too! I actually really enjoy the adult version of Sequence, so I was happy to find that the kids version isn’t too boring, repetitive, or long. (If you’ve ever played Chutes and Ladders, I think you know what I’m talking about!) The best part is, your child will learn through play with this game, and you won’t have to tell your kids that it’s “broken”, it’s a win, win! You can find Sequence here.
The last game on my favorites list is Stack Up! by Peaceable Kingdom. Stack Up! is different from the games listed above because it is a cooperative game, meaning every player is working toward a common goal, and there is no “winner” or “loser”. This type of game is great for younger children who can have a very hard time with losing and who also need to work on being part of a team. My son has been known to shed quite a few tears if he doesn’t win, but that’s something we are working on with the games listed above. However, just as it’s important to learn how to be a gracious “loser”, I feel like it’s equally important to learn how to work together as a team. This game is meant for kids 3 and up as it has 3 levels of difficultly. The challenge cards add an extra level of difficulty so the game never gets old. The object of the game is to work together to stack the blocks before the Block Smasher knocks them down, which also happens to be my sons favorite part! Stack Up! encourages hand eye coordination, team work, turn taking, counting, gross/fine motor skills, and color recognition all through play, which we all know is a great way to learn! My son is 4 and we started on stage 2 with no problems. This is definitely one of his favorite games, and I love it because every one is happy at the end of the game since no one has to lose! You can find Stack Up! along with lots of other cooperative games here.
I hope our list of some of our favorite games encourages you to build your own family game library and start a weekly family game night! Kids are never too young to start playing organized games. Happy gaming!
Honest, non-sponsored review from busy being MOMS blogger Stacey
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