Whether they incorporate cards, dice, boards, spinners—or even an adorable cardboard monster and an oversized spoon—games have a host of benefits for young children. Games help children develop academic, spatial, and critical-thinking skills. Some games even provide kids with an opportunity for that oh-so important movement break. By playing with peers, kids practice social-emotional skills like cooperating, taking turns, and being a good sport. Plus, we love that all that learning is under the guise of good old-fashioned fun! We also love the nostalgia that you and your teacher friends will be sure to feel as many of these games were plucked right out of the 1980s and ’90s! Many mainstream games are perfect for the preschool classroom. Check out our list of the best board games for preschoolers!
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. Color Go Fish!
This classic game is a childhood staple, and these cards are easy on little hands and eyes.
Buy it: Color Go Fish on Amazon
2 & 3. Taro Gomi’s Funny Fish Go Fish Card Game and Play Anything Playing Cards
Once your students understand the premise of “Go Fish,” treat them to this adorably imaginative version from a favorite illustrator. They’ll love making pairs of “Strawberry Fish,” “Scribble Octopus,” “Lobsterbots,” and more. When your older preschoolers are ready to learn some simple classic card games, check out the whimsical companion set of regular playing cards.
4. I Spy, Dig In
We love that this game works on fine motor skills while also encouraging vocabulary recognition. Kids will love the frantic finding required to match all the objects on their cards!
Buy it: Briarpatch I Spy Game on Amazon
5. Math for Love Tiny Polka Dot
Here’s a year’s worth of Math Center activities for you in one cute and tiny box. Sturdy and visually pleasing cards offer tons of possibilities for building number sense. Students can use them to count, match amounts, compare, subitize, and more.
Buy it: Math for Love on Amazon
This is the perfect game for older preschoolers since they will need to have good hand-eye coordination to retrieve the pieces.
Buy it: Operation on Amazon
7. Shopping List Memory Game
Children race to be the first to fill their shopping baskets with the items on their lists. The board is simple and uncluttered, and the picture-and-word shopping lists encourage the development of concepts about print.
Buy it: Orchard Toys Shopping List Memory Game on Amazon
8. Memory Match Game
Preschoolers feel so empowered once they catch on to the principles of a basic memory game. The enticing Popsicle-shaped cards will get them talking about attributes as they play.
Buy it: Memory Game: Summer Camp Edition on Amazon
Pull out a stick, but whatever you do, don’t let the marbles fall! You may want to buy an extra set of this game since it will be sure to be a favorite.
Buy it: Kerplunk on Amazon
10. Monkey Around
This is one of the best board games for preschoolers because it’s easily adaptable to large-group play. Movement cards ask kids to practice gross motor skills with a fun beanbag banana.
Buy it: Monkey Around: The Wiggle & Giggle Game on Amazon
11. Bunny Bedtime Make-a-Choice Game
Help kids learn basic game-playing skills like rolling a die and moving along a path in a familiar context: bedtime! Kids love helping make decisions about how Bunny’s bedtime routine will go.
Buy it: Bunny Bedtime: The Make-a-Choice Game on Walmart.com
12. Scavenger Hunt Cards
This is the perfect game for the whole class to play at once since there are enough sturdy scavenger hunt cards to go around. We love that the cards encourage literacy development since they have both pictures and words on each card.
Buy it: MollyBee Kids Scavenger Hunt Cards on Amazon
13. Pete the Cat: The Missing Cupcakes Game
Anything with Pete the Cat is an automatic preschool win. To get Pete’s cupcakes back from Grouchy Toad, kids must name objects, sing songs, and act out charades.
Buy it: Pete the Cat: The Missing Cupcakes Game on Walmart.com
14. Guess Who?
The suggested age range is 6 and up, but we feel confident that with a little coaching, older preschoolers will fall in love with this old-school game. We love that it will encourage use of descriptive vocabulary too.
Buy it: Guess Who? on Amazon
Sliding the card dispenser has a similar appeal to spinning a bingo cage. Zingo supports vocabulary development and print awareness as well as focus—you have to be watching to call out and snag your picture first! Spanish, sight word, number, and word-building versions are also available.
Buy it: Zingo! Bingo With a Zing on Amazon
This game challenges kids to match shapes correctly while also challenging them to race against the clock. Kids will get a kick out of the pieces popping up when time runs out!
Buy it: Perfection on Amazon
17. Pancake Pile-Up!
This game works on both patterning and sequencing while also working on balance and coordination. Bonus: You can even use the game pieces for imaginative play in a toy kitchen!
Buy it: Pancake Pile-Up! on Amazon
18. Candy Land
This classic game might make adults groan, but we still consider it one of the best board games for preschoolers. Why? Kids can take it out, set it up, and play it by themselves. Cooperation and independence for the win! (Pro tip: Provide a playing card tray for easy management of the draw pile and discards.)
Buy it: Candy Land on Amazon
Dominoes is a versatile and timeless game for all ages. This set from Melissa and Doug is super-sturdy and gets kids recognizing standard dot formations of numbers 1 through 6.
Buy it: Dominoes on Amazon
20. Hungry Hungry Hippos: Dino Edition
No list of best board games for preschoolers would be complete without some version of Hungry Hungry Hippos. We love this particular one since dinosaurs tend to be a favorite for any preschooler!
Buy it: Hungry Hungry Hippos: Dino Edition on Amazon
The goal of the game is to have the lowest score when someone calls “rat-a-tat-cat!” This game builds number sense and teaches the concept of zero. If you’d like to encourage conversations about numbers, opt to have the students play with their cards turned up and visible.
Buy it: Rat-a-Tat Cat on Amazon
22. Lady Bug’s Garden Memory Game
Another memory game but this one is just too cute not to include. We love that motor skills are required to fit the lady bugs into the holes.
Buy it: Lady Bug’s Garden Memory Game on Amazon
23. Heads Talk Tails Walk
In this matching game with a twist, the fun comes when you turn over cards that don’t match! When this happens, players must move like the animal body card and make the sound of the animal head card. Stomping like an elephant while clucking like a chicken is hilarious when you’re a preschooler—or a preschool teacher!
Buy it: Heads Talk Tails Walk on Amazon
24. Connect 4
This is another perfect game for the older preschoolers in your class. Your students will have to use their critical-thinking skills in order to outsmart their opponent and get four in a row.
Buy it: Connect 4 on Amazon
25. Banana Blast
Cue the squeals of laughter—kids love the suspense of this game! Remove the bananas one by one to see which one makes the monkey jump. The included puzzle is a nice bonus for friends to make together.
Buy it: Banana Blast on Amazon
26. Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco
Practice matching basic shapes while helping Frankie the Cat create his food truck meals. The real appeal (and sneaky fine motor strength-building) comes from the Frankie-shaped “squeezer” players use to move the game pieces around.
Buy it: Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game on Amazon
Players roll two dice to get a color and a shape and must locate a matching spot on the board. There are multiple levels of play for different groups.
Buy it: Colorama on Amazon
28. Richard Scarry’s Busytown, Eye Found It!
This oversized game board gives plenty of room for a group of kids to spy items in the pictures and move ahead on the board. The goal is to get to the picnic before the pigs eat all the food, and everyone has to help!
Buy it: Richard Scarry’s Busytown, I Found It! on Amazon
29. Charades for Kids
This version of charades is one of the best board games for preschoolers because it’s designed for little kids. Preschoolers need opportunities for movement, and this game provides just that as they have to act out a variety of scenarios. The game also encourages vocabulary development as the cards have both pictures and words.
Buy it: Charades for Kids on Amazon
Every kid should learn to play Uno. It’s marketed for ages 7 and up, but the rules are easily adaptable for little ones. With enough practice, they’ll be unleashing the Draw Four cards like pros.
Buy it: Uno on Amazon
31. Hoot Owl Hoot!
Players must work together to get the owls back to the nest before sunrise. Color cards, similar to Candy Land, move the owls closer to the goal, but there are a few added twists to make it more interesting.
Buy it: Hoot Owl Hoot! on Amazon
32. Snail’s Pace Race
It’s often the simplest games that are best. Players take turns rolling color dice to see which snails to move in this cooperative game. Which snail will win? Oh, the suspense! Swap out one die with a regular die if you want to speed up the game and encourage number recognition.
Buy it: Snail’s Pace Race on Amazon
33. Feed the Woozle
There are multiple ways to play this silly game. In the simplest version, players roll a die to determine how many pieces of food to “feed” the Woozle. But wait: Walking across the room balancing the food on the spoon adds an extra challenge. Players cooperate to satiate the goofy creature’s appetite.
Buy it: Feed the Woozle on Amazon
34. Where’s Bear?
Players hide a wooden bear under one of six sturdy nesting blocks decorated as rooms in a house and then try to find him. This game capitalizes on toddlers’ love of hiding things and offers a lot of language-building opportunities. This is perfect for a class of 2-year-olds or a multi-age group in which older students can play the adult role.
Buy it: Where’s Bear? on Amazon
35. Race to the Treasure!
This game is our go-to for older preschoolers ready for a bit of strategic play. Players cooperate to create a path to reach the treasure before the ogre does.
Buy it: Race to the Treasure! on Amazon
36. Hi Ho! Cherry-O
Kids will have a blast picking pretend fruit from the trees on the preschool game board while they’re practicing math skills such as counting, addition, and subtraction!
Buy it: Hi Ho! Cherry-O on Amazon
37. Don’t Spill the Beans
This game requires no reading, so it’s great for young kids. It’s also perfect for improving fine motor skills as kids try to place beans in the jar without tipping it over.
Buy it: Don’t Spill the Beans on Amazon
38. Alphabet Bingo
Is there a more classic game than Bingo? It definitely deserves a spot on any list of the best board games for preschoolers. This updated version can help kids improve letter recognition, letter and object association, and concentration skills. It’s also a great opportunity for social-skills development and cooperative play.
Learn more: Alphabet Bingo on Amazon
39. Don’t Break the Ice
The object of this old favorite is to keep Phillip the Penguin on top of the ice, but as the game goes on, the ice blocks start falling. Kids can work on fine motor skills, problem-solving, and learning to take turns while they have fun!
Buy it: Don’t Break the Ice on Amazon
40. Peppa Pig Chutes and Ladders
A forever favorite, Chutes and Ladders is an excellent choice for kids who haven’t yet learned how to read. They’ll have the best time playing this Peppa Pig–themed game while simultaneously improving number recognition.
Buy it: Peppa Pig Chutes and Ladders on Amazon
41. My Feelings
Social and emotional learning is particularly important in the pandemic world we have been living in. We love the regulation strategies this game teaches children to help manage their overwhelming feelings.
Buy it: My Feelings Game on Amazon
What do you think are the best board games for preschoolers? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out our favorite ideas for sensory tables.