The Best Board Games for Toddlers and Children

As a child I was exposed to the usual mass market games; Monopoly, Ker-Plunk, Buckaroo, Snakes & Ladders etc. This is what was offered in high street stores so this is all that I thought was available. It wasn’t until I’d reached my mid-twenties and had my own baby that I realised, what I had been playing as a child wasn’t a true representation of what board games had to offer. It was actually what high street stores had decided was safe to sell, tried and trusted merchandise. To put it another way, it would be the same as stores never selling anything other than the original basic computer games such as; Pong, Space Invaders or Pac-Man. Just like those computer games, board games have advanced exponentially too.

‘Roll and move’ is a basic board game mechanic commonly found in Snakes and Ladders and other main stream games. You don’t play Snakes and Ladders, Snakes and Ladders plays you. As a child you have no decisions to make and apart from learning how to take turns and roll dice there is nothing else to it. Adults will get tired of this very quickly. Admittedly, children will get much more from this as they don’t realise they aren’t actually affecting the game. They believe they have some sort of magical effect on the dice. Rolling a six for children is a skill. Sometimes it can seem like they really do have a skill too. My daughter seems to win more than her fair share of purely luck based games. Maybe they do have some unknown handle on luck and that is probably why they don’t allow children in casinos.

Behind the scenes there has been an explosion in children’s games! Games that will help develop your child’s cognitive abilities. Gone are the days of ‘roll and move’, now real decisions have to be made, memory is tested and fine motor skills are refined. These are the games in which adults and children alike can enjoy together. Therefore, if you, like me, are interested in developing your child with stimulating decisions, hidden in fun and wrapped in a board game, take a look at these 10 games that I would recommend as perfect gifts for toddlers and children aged between 2 and 5.

10. Looping Louie

This is a bit of an oldie. Looping Louie is a retro game from 1992 and is great fun. The game is all about concentration and timing, a plastic plane rotates around the board with the aim of knocking the player’s chickens over. Each player must perfectly time when to hit the lever to knock the plane away to avoid it hitting their chickens. When only one player has chickens remaining, they win the game. Very fun and extremely addictive. slotxo

9. Whoowasit?

The aim of the game is work out the clues to retrieve the magical ring from the evil wizard. This is a great game for developing a child’s imaginations and problem solving skills. The clues are given by an electronic treasure chest; this is great as it means that no two games are the same.

8. Chicken Cha Cha Cha

This is a great memory game that involved stealing feathers from other chickens to win. You have to match the face down tiles with the one on the front of your chicken pawn in order to move forward.

7. Max

The aim of the game is to help get all the little creatures home before Max (the cat) catches them. Great game to teach children logic and decision making.

6. Shopping List

This game is fairly simple and an unlikely one for the top ten, however my daughter absolutely loves it. The aim is to find all the items on your shopping list by turning over one card at a time until you match all the items on the shopping list and put them in your trolley.

5. Pounce

Another retro game, comes in various different versions but the aim is still the same; catch me if you can! When the right number comes up on the dice, the cat pounces. Very fun and exciting and improves a childs concentration and reaction time.

4. Go Away Monster!

Go Away Monster is a great game for toddlers. It gives them power over any fears they may have of monsters as they have to rid their room of them. The board looks like a bedroom and players take turns to reach into the bag and pull a piece out. If they pull out a piece of furniture they put it in their room, however if they pull out a monster they throw it away and shout “Go away monster!”, the winner is the one who fills their room up with furniture first.

3. Cranium Cariboo

In Cranium Cariboo, coins are hidden behind random doors. The player must pull a card out and match the card with a door card. You have to open the door, find a coin and to slide it into the sand. The 6th person to find a coin, slide it in and open the treasure chest is the winner.

2. Midnight Party

Hugo is a ghost and the game board is his mansion. Each player rolls the die and either moves one of their figures or moves Hugo. When Hugo reaches the top of the stairs players have to start hiding in the rooms around the hallway.