Best Board Games for Toddlers

If you’re like me, you’ve been eagerly waiting for the day you could play a real game with your little one. Then, when you went to look for age-appropriate games, you became a bit overwhelmed deciding if the games you found were appropriate for your squish. In my excitement over getting to play an actual game with my son, I purchased a LOT of games hoping that a few would tempt him away from playing trucks. There is only so much truck playing and digging this mama can handle!! All games are rated for a child aged 31months.

I've rated all ten games on a scale of 0-5 and divided them into three categories - Play with me!, Gathering Dust and Packed Away.

Play with me!: Highly Recommended Games

Roll and Play Board Game

My Rating: 5/5
Amazon.com Rating: 5/5

The first game that I purchased for my son was the Thinkfun Roll and Play Board Game, which really isn’t a board game at all, but a giant stuffed die. The object of the game is to roll the dice and do the action listed on the corresponding colored card. For example, “Find something blue” or “Roar like a lion”.

I don’t know about your 18 month old, but it was not appropriate for my little guy at that age. He loved throwing the dice around and doing a few cards, but it wasn’t worth shelling out for this game for that age.

I recommend this for ages 2+. At age 2 ½ Aiden enjoys it a lot more. We played last night and we were both laughing and laughing. I think it will be a great game to play with his little sister. I give it 5/5. It is listed at $18.99 on amazon.com and rated for ages 18 months plus.

 

First Orchard

My rating: 5/5
Amazon.com rating: 5/5

  

We purchased this game when my son was 28 months old. He absolutely LOVED it!! He was so excited to be able to play a game with us. First Orchard is a cooperative game where players work together by rolling a dice to harvest the corresponding colored fruit. The idea is to harvest all the fruit before the crow eats it. Taking turns is still an issue at age 31 months old, as can be expected with any toddler. This is a well made game with wooden pieces and is a hit in our house. It is listed at $23.74 on amazon.com and rated for ages 12 months and up. I don’t believe this is appropriate for a one-year old, I would be concerned that little people would put the painted fruit in their mouths. That said I would highly recommend this as baby’s first game at age two.

 

Bunny Hop

My rating: 5/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5

   

The object of this game is to collect all the same color bunnies; however, my son just enjoys making the bunnies hop. He really likes it! We’ve played it as intended a few times, but mostly he just likes making the bunnies jump. Bunny Hop is one of his favorites and it is brought out almost daily. As my boy ages, he will be able to get more out of this game as there is a memory component to it which at this point is beyond him. I wish this game came with a backup die in case you lose the first. Amazon lists it as $21.98 and ages 4 plus. I think this would be a great game for any two-year old.

 

Zingo

My rating: 5/5
Amazon.com rating: 5/5

Zingo, which is a toddler version of bingo, is loads of fun for my 2 ½ year old son. Amazon rates it for ages 4-8, but that is ridiculous. This is one of my son’s favorite games and as a bonus, it introduces him to some basic words. He doesn’t really understand that he is playing bingo, but he loves playing with the tiles. I rate it 5/5 for fun, but 3/5 for ease of use. The tiles are shaped such that if the tiles are dumped out, which they frequently are, they are time-consuming to put back in the tile dispenser. However, the best part of this game is that same dispenser which makes a fun zinging noise as it is pushed back and forth. Amazon lists Zingo at $16.99 and I think it is well-worth that price.

 

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

My rating: 5/5
Amazon.com rating: 5/5

This is a wildly popular game on Amazon with over 1,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.  It is listed at $14.99. It is yet another color matching game. This time you spin a wheel to collect colored acorns. My son enjoys using the squirrel tweezers and we can play it through about twice before the acorns end up in his dump truck. It is rated for ages 3+, but I think as usual, this is more for liability reasons than ability. My son would definitely give Sneaky Snacky Squirrel 5/5!

 

Pop-up Pirate

My rating: 4/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.5/5

  

This is another great first game. My toddler loves sticking the swords into the barrel trying to get the pirate to pop up. Often he replaces Tomy with a truck, as boys are apt to do! It is listed at $24.39 on amazon.com and rated for ages 4 years and up. I have absolutely no idea why it is rated for 4 plus. I think a 2-year-old would have a riot with Pop-up Pirate. We found ours for a few dollars at a thrift store which was great. It is rare to find toddler games at second hand stores, but there are a few, such as Pop-up Pirate, that I see again and again.

 

Gathering Dust: Less Frequently Played Games

Cars Matching Game

My rating: 2/5
Amazon.com: rating 5/5

This is your typical matching game. After dumping the tiles in a pile, my son loves finding the sets of Mater and Lightening McQueen. At age 31 months, the tiles have not yet been used as intended. However, they have been heavily used as dump truck cargo! Amazon lists Disney Pixar Cars Matching Game at $9.99 and for ages 3 plus. I would give buying a matching game new a skip and check your local thrift store for a used version. This is a popular game and you will likely find one. I picked ours up for about $1.

 

Richard Scarry’s Busytown, Eye Found It

My rating: 3/5
Amazon.com rating: 5/5

 

At age two and half, my boy is too young for this game, whose object is to search for hidden objects around the board. I think it will be loads of fun when he is older and I fully expect to eventually rate this game as 5/5. At this point, the game is primarily used as a 6’ long car mat. Amazon rates Busytown as 4.5/5 for a price of $19.70, which I think would be great value for an older kiddo.

 

Packed Away: Unplayed Games

Hoot Owl Hoot!

My rating: 0/5
Amazon.com rating: 5/5

     

Give this one a pass. It is rated for ages 4+ and is way too advanced for my 2 ½ year old. Hoot Owl Hoot is $15.99 on Amazon.

 

Hungry Hippos

My rating: 0/5
Amazon.com rating: 3.5/5

  

This game drives me CRAZY. It is beyond loud. I’ve actually donned ear protection before playing it with my son. Most of the time Hungry Hungry Hippos  is hidden in a closet, so that I don’t have to play it. That said, my son loves it; he would give it a 5/5, but I say give this one a pass if you value your hearing. Amazon lists it at $12.99 and doesn’t list a recommended age group. I would keep this game away from little ones as the marbles could easily end up in their mouths. All in all, I would PAY $12.99 to get rid of this game!

I hope that this run down of games helps you out. I'd love to hear your opinion on games that you and your little one like. 



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