The Best Board Games For a Three Year Old

Monday, November 06, 2023

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The Best Games for a Three Year Old, Game Ideas for a Three Year Old, 3 year old games

Something fun happens when your child turns three. You can start playing games together! We love games in our house. (Check out this post from 2020 with some of our favorite 2 player games.) Being able to start playing games with our oldest has been so special. He loves game time. We usually play when our youngest is napping or has gone to bed for the night. This is special time just for us. I think he loves it because there are no distractions and he gets our full attention during game time. Below are our favorite games as well as some that I have on my "to buy" list! We've already purchased Sequence for Kids* for him for Christmas this year. 

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Games We Have and Love

1. Little Thinker's Block Logic Puzzle* - A great game that you can play with your little one or that they can play individually. This is a brainteaser game where you have to fit 9 blocks within a grid on a card. The cards increase in difficulty as you go up in numbers. The card will have some colored shading on it to show where colored blocks go, but the rest is white space with colored stars on it. The stars give you a clue where each block should go. Match the color block to the colored star, but know that each block can only cover one star.  As you increase in difficulty the amount of shaded boxes decrease, leaving you with only the stars to guide you in placement. 

2. Forklift Frenzy* - Okay, the box for this one says ages 8+ but my 3 year old loves this game so I have to include it. (Updating in 2024 to say that my 2 year old also loves stacking the barrels.) If you have a child who loves construction vehicles or gets excited by equipment, they'll be into this game. This is a two player game where you stack barrels with your forklift. First, you draw a card which shows you what design you need to follow in stacking barrels. Once you hve your stack, take it back to your base. First one there, wins! The cards increase in difficulty. Right now, we only play with the 2 and 3 barrel cards. I think we are close to including the 4 barrel high cards too. This is a game he will continue to grow into! He also just thinks its fun to drive around a forklift haha.

3. Peek-A-Doodle Doo!* - Peek-A-Doodle Doo is a four player memory game. Round one has all chickens sitting on nests with an egg underneath them. Take turns picking up a chicken and placing the egg back in the "Egg container". If you pick up a chicken without an egg underneath, your egg starts to crack on your scoring nest.  Once all twelve eggs are in the egg container, round two begins. In this round, you take an egg out of the container to place back under a chicken. If you try to place an egg under a chicken that already has an egg underneath, you have to move your egg on the scoring nest. If your egg fully cracks, you're out of the game! Winner is whomever has the most intact egg at the end of round two. 

4. Memory Matching Game: A matching memory game is a great game for kids of this age. There are so many options to choose from based off your child's interests. We have this camping themed memory matching game*. It is perfect for our son who loves the outdoors! The pieces are sturdy and well-made. We gifted this Ladybug Garden Memory Game* to our niece on a past birthday. This barnyard matching game* looks fun too!

5. Candyland*: Candyland is an oldie, but a goodie. You probably played it growing up! This is the first game we started with our son. It is super easy to learn the directions as you simply draw a card, and move your person to the next square on the board that matches the color you drew. First one to the candy castle wins. At less than $10*, this is a great game to add to your collection. 

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6. Chutes and Ladders* - Another oldie, but a goodie. And another one in the list that you can buy for less than $10*!. Spin a spinner to move along a board game trying to make your way to the top. If you land at the bottom of the ladder, take it up! If you land at the top of a slide, slide back down. A good game as it teachers your child how to handle disappointment when they have to slide back down. Admittedly, this is my least favorite game to play in the list but my 3 year old LOVES it. The only reason I don't like it is that sometimes one game takes us 30 minutes. We've had multiple games where we each just keep hitting the top of a slide, resulting in a neverending game. Somehow he doesn't lose interest when this happens! 

7. Bingo* - Bingo is a favorite game in our house. We love this one* in particular because each bingo card has all the same things on it, just in different spaces. That way, everyone gets to take an action on each turn. It is made of more of a cardstock type of material, so it is not heavy duty, however.  Depending on how hard you are on the game, that is something to consider!  This onealso looks great as it includes options to play with pictures, numbers, or site words. 

8. Expression Puzzle Building Blocks Game* -  My MIL found this game when my son turned 3 and it quickly became one of his favorites.  Each player gets three blocks that have different eyes/mouths on them to make up different facial expressions. One player draws a card that shows a face on it, and all players race to make the face out of their blocks. First player to finsih wins the card. Whoever gets 10 cards first wins. 

9. Monopoly Junior*  - Another classic. I love watching my son play this game because it is so fun to see him count out money. The junior version is a fast and fun game where you buy properties like a toy shop, a library, a pet store, an ice cream parlor, etc. The version I linked has two ways to play so it can grow with your kids as they learn to read and do math. We don't personally have this game but Grandma has it and we love playing in there!

10. Hi-Ho Cherry-O*  - My son loves playing this game. Everyone starts with filling their trees with fruit pieces. Spin the wheel to see if you get to take off a piece of fruit to fill your basket. Watch out though! If you spin and land on a dog or bird, they will steal food out of your basket and put it back on the tree. You can even spill the whole basket and have to take everything out. First one to clear their tree and fill their basket wins. I love this game because it teaches counting and I feel like is good practice for teaching how to handle disappointment when you spill basket! 

Honorable mention or number 11 goes to Go Fish*. At under $10 this is another great buy and makes a great stocking stuffer for a three year old! We love playing the "traditional" way first and then using the cards to play a matching game afterwards. 

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On Our To Buy List
1. Sequence for Kids* - Mentioned this above, but we have purchased this game for a Christmas gift this year for our son. My husband and I love sequence ourselves, so it will be fun to play this game with our child. In Sequence for Kids, you draw a card and place a tile on the matching animal on the board game. First person to make a sequence of four in a row wins! 

2. Hoot Hoot Owl* - This is a cooperative play game where you help owls get home to their nest. Draw a card and move an owl to a spot of that color on the board to get them closer to home. If you draw a sun card, the sun gets closer to rising. All the owls need to get home before the sun rises. I love that this game is something you work on together and helps teach planning ahead! 

3. Count Your Chickens* - Another cooperative play game that I've been eyeing for awhile. In this game you want to get all chickens back home in their coop before the Mama Hen reaches the coop. 

4. Clue Junior*  - I think my son might have been a little too young for this game at 3, but I've got it on my to buy list as he gets older. This is similar to the monoply game listed above as the board game has two sides to grow with your child. Side 1 everyone works together to figure out what item someone accidently put in their backpack on the playground. Side 2 you are trying to find out who set off a volcano in the science lab. 

5. Push and Pull Worm Tower* - A version of jenga for kids. Worms start the game all stacked in a nice tower. Roll the dice to see what color of worm you need to move from its spot on the tower and place on the top. Don't let the tower fall! My mom has this game at her house and my son loves to play it there. 

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Did I miss any of your favorite games? Please share them in the comments to help us all out as we enjoy family game night! 

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