The Best Preschool Board Games (That Parents Will Like Playing)

Preschoolers are never too young to start learning about board games, and there are plenty of benefits to be had from playing them. And they’re fun!

Well…mostly. Preschool board games are mostly fun. They’re not always fun for parents.

The board games I’ve listed, though, are ones that parents will enjoy playing too.

School-Age Vs. Preschool Boardgames

Board games for older kids can be genuinely fun, man.

I could play Exploding Kittens and Trekking The World all day. Games for this age group can be mentally engaging, too, like Rapid Rumble. I’ll even throw down for some classics like Sorry! and Trouble.

But board games for preschoolers can be boring. Repetitive, with simple aims and saccharine premises. They just aren’t built for adults.

Parents Wanna Have Fun Too

It’s important, not selfish, to consider yourself when purchasing a preschool board game.

How much fun can the other players (uh, the preschoolers) have when the adult player would rather gouge out their own eyeball than endure another round of Candyland?

Chances are, if the parent loathes the game, the kid won’t be thrilled to play it, either.

Invest in some board games you’ll actually enjoy.

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Are Board Games Good For Preschoolers?

Board games are great for preschoolers as they offer opportunities for learning, such as developing problem-solving skills, counting, identifying shapes, and improving social interaction through play.

Board games can help preschoolers develop important skills such as problem-solving, memory, strategy, and social interaction.

All games do this to some extent. But if children struggle in a certain area or academic concept, board games are useful tools in an educational arsenal.

Is sharing an issue? Choose a game heavy on turn-taking and cooperation. Struggling with following directions? Try a multi-step game.

Skills That Board Games Teach Preschoolers

Because I just can’t help myself, I’ve organized the skills that board games teach by type. Board games are a delightful way to help preschoolers develop skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Playing board games is not only an entertaining pastime, but it also provides numerous benefits to children. From academic skills to social-emotional skills, board games can teach preschoolers a range of essential skills. Playing board games can also benefit preschoolers by helping them develop and master both gross and fine motor skills.

Academic Skills

Many preschool board games revolve around simple math skills (like counting and sorting) and early literacy (like letter recognition and phonics). Preschoolers can learn to read, match letters, and build words with the help of some fun educational board games designed for their age group.

These games create an enjoyable atmosphere for a child to improve their emerging literacy and numeracy skills. Plus, board games make the learning process more engaging and interactive, allowing preschoolers to develop essential academic skills in an enjoyable way.

Playing these board games can:

  • Heighten print anticipation
  • Increase STEM skill sets
  • Encourage number, letter, shape, color, etc recognition
  • Improve concentration
  • Promote creativity and abstract thinking (having to plan ahead and predict outcomes)
  • Help preschoolers better learn from experience
  • Lengthen attention span

Gross Motor Skills

.Playing board games can also help preschoolers to develop their gross motor skills, such as balance, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness. Many board games involve activities that encourage children to use their large muscle groups and expand their physical abilities.

Playing these board games can:

  • Develop balance
  • Strengthen vestibular sense
  • Increase coordination
  • Sharpen body awareness and control

Fine Motor Skills

Board games can also enhance the fine motor skills of preschoolers by picking up and moving small game pieces. These activities help children develop their hand-eye coordination and dexterity, strengthening the small muscles in their hands.

Playing these games can improve their pincer grip, which can eventually help them write and draw better, and perform other activities that involve precise hand movements. These activities can also aid in the development of the muscles used in a child’s fingers to help them develop incomparable and necessary writing skills.

Playing these board games can:

  • Increase dexterity
  • Encourage hand-eye coordination
  • Strengthen hands
preschooler with a board game

Social-Emotional Skills

The very act of playing board games (taking turns, sharing play space, and dealing with how the dice roll) increases social-emotional skills.

Board games can also have a positive effect on the social-emotional skills of preschoolers as they are designed to promote socialization, teamwork, and understanding of rules. The very act of playing board games requires preschoolers to take turns and share play spaces, helping them develop patience and social skills.

Additionally, dealing with the unpredictable nature of board games and understanding that losing is a part of any game, helps inculcate important life skills such as dealing with loss, building resilience, and good sportsmanship

Playing these board games can:

  • Boost connections
  • Increase resilience and frustration tolerance (being a good loser)
  • Encourage patience
  • Inspire cooperative play
  • Increase understanding of the concept of rules

Keep These Things In Mind For Preschool Board Games

When choosing board games for this age group there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for ones that don’t have complex rules.

Preschool board games should have a good mix of instruction and play, as well as a manageable amount of luck, for everyone to have a chance at winning.

Remember, choking is still a real hazard for preschoolers. So watch them carefully around a game with small pieces, or forgo board games with small pieces completely.

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Best Preschool Board Games (That Parents Will Want to Play, Too)

Here is my list of board games that are fun for preschoolers and adults. So, if you’re looking for engaging and beneficial games to play with preschoolers, check out some of these games I highly recommend, that will offer hours of fun and learning for both adults and children.

Best Board Games for 3 Year Olds

These board games are some of the simpler, more active ones of the bunch, perfect for wiggly three-year-olds.

Monkey Around

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This award-winning game encourages movement! Toddlers will love high-fiving and balancing their way through this board game.

Toddler Scavenger Hunt At Home Cards

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Scavenger hunts are great boredom busters. They’re easy to do at home with little prep, but it can be hard to think of all the steps. That’s where these cards come in.

And you can take them anywhere! The cards are small and attached to a sturdy key ring.

Hoot Owl Hoot

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This cooperative game employs a simple strategy, so older preschoolers will enjoy playing with younger preschoolers. And when preschoolers are happily playing together, parents automatically have fun.

Where’s Bear?

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Ok, this hide-the-block game is a bit repetitive (there are only so many places, you know), but adults will love watching the delight of three-year-old players finding the bear.

Create a Story Cards

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Making up stories about magical characters are especially fun with little kids, as you never know what they’ll say.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

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A cute game that doesn’t require reading. Adults will enjoy the light strategy of this matching, squirrel-feeding undertaking.

Watch preschoolers around the small acorn pieces, though.

Animal Upon Animal Junior

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This wooden game is designed for both structured and free play. The two dice rolling games are quick to complete (ten minutes), but adults will especially enjoy the occupied preschoolers stacking animals.

Pete the Cat’s Missing Cupcakes Board Game

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A silly, genuinely enjoyable game for all ages. Who doesn’t like singing songs and collecting cupcakes?

Best Board Games for 4 Year Olds

Slightly older preschoolers will find these board games slightly more challenging.


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This game teaches early literacy skills through word matching. Adults will appreciate the fast pace and the active role of “caller.”

Pancake Pile Up!

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It’s a relay race, with pancakes. Everyone will have fun laughing their faces off, trying to hold on to these things.

Hungry Hungry Hippos Jr

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It’s the classic game parents already know is fun, with preschool education staples like color recognition.

Richard Scarry Eye Found It

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Preschoolers will love playing the game, parents will lap up the nostalgia.

Charades for Kids

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Everyone enjoys charades! And with three levels of play, kids of all ages can participate.

Don’t Spill the Beans!

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This is a simple game (no-reading instructions!) that kids can easily play together or alone (use a timer to see how long they can keep the jar from falling).

Pull this one out for a little parent break.

Chutes and Ladders

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Ok, this game is a little less fun for adults, but I have to include it. It’s one of the best games that teach emotional regulation skills, as preschoolers have to learn to deal with what chance gives them-soaring up the ladder or tumbling down the chute.

My First Carcassonne

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This game is heavy enough on the strategy for parents to genuinely enjoy it. Preschoolers will love thinking hard and collecting escaped barnyard animals.

Sequence for Kids

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Another no-reading strategy game! It’s kinda like a more complicated Connect 4.

Spot It! Jr Animals Card Game

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It’s a matching game, but quick. No one will get bored with the fast pace of this preschool card game.


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Which fox stole the pot pie? Parents and preschoolers alike will enjoy the cooperative gameplay of this whodunnit caper.

Best Board Games for 5 Year Olds

These preschool board games are even more advanced, employing strategy but keeping the silliness five-year-olds love.

Shopping List Memory Game

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A memory game that is also a race! Parents will love helping preschoolers sharpen their focus without flipping the same handful of cards over for twelve minutes.

Heads Talk Tails Walk

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Another matching game, but with funny sounds and movements! Everyone will love the genuine silliness of playing.

Banana Blast

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Pull off the bananas until the monkey jumps! This board game is easy on preschoolers’ hands while creating a fun level of anticipation for all players.

Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco

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Matching games are just really helpful for this age group-they teach early math and literacy skills. So here’s another matching game, but with enough food combinations to keep parents interested.

Feed the Woozle

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Feeding the Woozle silly snacks would be enough fun for preschoolers, but all ages will get a kick out of trying to feed it while doing a physical challenge.

With three levels of play, this game can include kids as young as two!

My Feelings

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This preschool board game teaches really important social and emotional skills. While this is a bit reductive, adult players won’t get bored with the 280 emotional scenarios to explore.


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Like dominoes, but with more color and less counting. The box says ages 6 and up, but younger kids can get this after a couple of minutes.

Sushi Go!

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Pass cards back and forth between players to create the perfect sushi order! Adults will enjoy the fast pace and cute sushi graphics. This game will be a bit too hard for younger preschoolers.


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It’s great to match the cards, but you’ve got to hold on to them. Which is hard, cuz all the players are stealing the cards from each other.

Everyone will love the wonderful recklessness of this card game.

Race To The Treasure

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Players work together to beat an ogre to the treasure. Preschoolers will appreciate the urgency, and there’s enough strategy to keep parents interested.


These preschool board games teach important skills without parents having to lift a heavy mental load (planning an activity, gathering supplies, etc).

And they’re fun and challenging enough to keep adult players entertained, too.

If you weren’t doing family game night before, now is a perfect time to start.

Want More?

Check out these articles for more developmentally helpful activities, crafts, and games:

You Tell Me

What are your favorite board games (for preschoolers or otherwise)? Let me know in the comments, please.

Happy gaming!


megan imhoff
Picture of Megan


Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.

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