I will be taking a look at several games today to determine what are the best toddler board games. So here they are, in no particular order.
· Age Range 3+ · Requires Batteries
Red Roveris an interactive game where the dog asks the players to find a specific bone that he wants. When you find the right bone you feed it into his mouth. The cards have shapes, colors, letters A-D, & numbers 1-4 on them.
Red Rover was designed to help young minds start to learn about their numbers, letters, shapes & colors. It is a good game for a basic introduction to these factors.
I think the most appealing thing for toddlers is the fact that the game is a dog. Not only is it a dog, but it is an interactive dog that talks to them. Also, another benefit is that the bone cards fit right into his backpack for ease of storage and increases mobility.
First, one of the more frequent criticisms that I have seen is that the letters only goes up to D & the numbers to 4. Many parents would have like to have seen the whole alphabet and at least to number 10 on the cards.
Another challenge the game has is durability. While many parents said that theirs had been dropped a lot and was still fine, there was also a bunch that experienced problems. As with anything that has electric components this could be an issue.
Some parents also felt that the game was slightly difficult at first for toddlers to pick it up. They stated it took several games to understand how to play, & also how to get the bones in the mouth right. Though I feel this was more or less just a normal learning curve here.
Overall, I think that this is a good game for the 3-5 year range. The theme is very appealing to young minds and it is a good intro into learning some of the basics.
WHAC-A-Mole by Mattel
· Age Range 4+ · Requires Batteries
WHAC-A-MOLE is a spin on the classic arcade game of the same name. In this version the Moles light up instead of popping up from underneath. Players earn points based off of how many hits they can get on the moles.
This game is all about hand eye coordination and reaction speed. Kids generally love to bang on things, so this game offers a nice transition with that. Durability was not reported as an issue.
This is one of those excessively noisy games that can tend to get on parents nerves. The game does not offer much for a long term investment as many parents reported that their kids loved it at first, but quickly grew bored with it. There is also a lot of disappointment due to the fact that the moles don’t pop up & down.
This game has an opportunity to be fun for the kids, but in my opinion it is a smaller window for that. If your kid likes to bang around on things this could be a much better outlet for that energy. In the end there is good & bad here, and you will have to make a judgment call on if this is right for your family.
Candy Land by Hasbro
· Age Range 3+ · Play Time: 15minutes
Candy Land is a classic game that most parents will remember from their own childhood. Widely consider to be one of the best first board games for a child.
No counting is required as players move their piece to the next square of the color card they drew. This makes it easy for the youngest players to pick up and play without needing to know how to count. The colored card system is also the great equalizer here making it anybody’s game to win. Lastly, with all of this color, it makes the game very visually stimulating.
This is not quite the classic game that parents will remember. There is some concern amongst parents that the game is a cheap version of the classic and you would be better off finding an old copy of it. Sometimes the game can be a little long and have trouble holding a child’s attention. The old graphics & characters have all changed and the cards themselves are not even as sturdy. Unfortunately for these classic games, they are just not made like they used to be.
I still think this is a very good first board game for your kids. It will allow you to teach them the basics of taking turns and learning patience. While the pictures have changed, it still represents a part of most parent’s youth, so that will still bring in some extra enjoyment as well.
· Age Range +3 · Time: 15 Mins
Hi Ho Cherry-O is a race to see who can fill their basket first with all of their cherries. Players take turns using a spinner and then either pick cherries or put them back on the tree.
One of the biggest benefits of this game is that you have a great opportunity to teach your kids basic math. With cherries coming off and back onto the tree kids can learn about adding & subtracting. With the cherries coming and going, it is also a good opportunities for children to learn that you can’t always win on every spin.
There is one big drawback to this game and that is the cherries themselves. They are very small pieces and could be a hazard. They cherries are also a high rick piece for getting lost, so extra precaution is needed with them.
This was one of my daughter’s favorite early games. We played this one a lot and never had any issues with it. I would recommend this as a great game to have as long as you are aware of the extra precaution needed. Again, this is also a great game to work on addition & subtraction.
- Age Range: 4+
Another classic game many parents can remember is Hungry Hungry Hippos. Four hippos are ready to chomp one some marbles in a frenzy.
This is just one of those feel good type games that can relieve a lot of excess energy. It is also an equal game in that it is random enough that anyone can win. This is a good game to teach basic winning and losing concepts due to this.
The most common complaint that I have seen is that the current market version once again a cheap version. People complained that the marbles were of less quality and would get stuck in the hippos necks. There were also complaints that the game did not sit right on a flat surface. Lastly, it is a noisy game.
I have many fond chomping memories playing this game. I hope that there is still enough quality in the current product to make it worth the purchase. I would still recommend it as a good early game.
This is just a small sample of what could be the best toddler board games. It all depends on what is right for you and your family. I hope that I have been able to shed some light for your decisions.
James W D