Around age 5, my son became interested in playing board games more. It's nice to be able to sit and spend time with him in a game that doesn't involve running! There are a few games that we played at younger ages, and now my youngest is starting to play some of them. Here is a list of games that 6 year olds and younger can play. I'd love to hear which games kids in your life enjoy!
Move & Groove, Your Child's First Dance Game
Kids as young as 18 months can play Move & Groove Your Child's First Dance Game. This game involves a large soft cube that has a different color on each side. There are also a deck of cards that have colors that correspond to the cube. The color rolled on the cube determines which card color to select. The cards have various moves for the kids to do such as, "Fly like a plane" or "Walk like an elephant" and "Skip around the room." My kids, now 4 and 6 years old, still enjoy this game as it usually results in some giggles and funny moves!
The first game we played at age 2 and was a simplified Bingo game. It is fun to pull the lever of this Barnyard Bingo and have a game piece present itself. There are four different color plastic cards (red, yellow, green and blue) each with three animal stickers on them. You try to collect all of the animals on your card. Because pulling the lever on this game is fun, my kids often played with the game on its own, just pulling the pieces and putting them back in. Or we sometimes used it just to talk about colors or animal names. There is now another version of this Bingo Game is available for Paw Patrol fans!
Zingo is a game both my 3 year old and 6 year old can play together. We often play with the goal to just collect the images on our cards. The kids like sliding the plastic cover to reveal the cards and finding their matching images.
Yeti in my Spaghetti
My 3 and a half year old can play Yeti in my Spaghetti with his big brother and me, although he often ends up just playing with the pieces after a couple games. The spaghetti noodles lay across the plastic red bowl and the Yeti sits on top of the noodles. Each player tries to take a noodle out without the yeti falling down!
Chutes & Ladders
I remember playing Chutes and Ladders as a kid, and enjoy playing this one with my kids now. Spin the dial and count the number of spaces your game piece should move forward. If you land at the bottom of the ladder, you get to climb up. If you land at top of a slide, you slide back down.
Around 4, we started playing Candy Land. This game involves spinning a dial to determine which color the game piece should land on, with the goal to make it to the rainbow. It requires the young player to know colors and to follow simple directions such as moving to the square on the board with the ice cream, or to move two orange squares.
We also started playing a memory matvhing game around age 4 or maybe a bit younger and we varied the number of cards we set out depending upon his ability at the time. This game could be played with a younger child as well if used as a simple matching game without flipping the cards over to hide them. We were given the Curious George Matching Game because my son was really into Curious George at the time. There are lots of versions of this game depending upon the child's interests. There is an Eric Carle Matching Game with images a child may recognize from books they read that comes with around 36 pairs of images (72 cards), or there is a version by Wee Society called A Box of Awesome Things Matching Game with fun, modern illustrations. This version comes with 20 pairs of cards including a blank pair which the child can add their own awesome thing to. One nice thing about the Wee Society cards is that they include the word of the item under the image, so it is helpful for children learning to read. The complaint I read about this game was about the box that it came in - it has a flap on top that doesn't secure down, so cards can be spilled out of it.
Around age 5 we started playing Guess Who? Upon receiving this game and opening it, we played it at least six times in a row right away. This is a simple two-player game. Each player chooses a card with a character on it. You each have a board with all the characters that can flip up or down. The game starts with all of the faces up and you try to guess which character the other player has by process of elimination. For example, one player may ask, "Do you have a beard?" and if the other player responds "No," all of the faces with a beard are flipped down.
Over the summer, three generations played UNO together. A classic card game, you try to get rid of all of your cards first and say "UNO" when you have only one card left. It requires color matching and being able to recognize numbers. My 3 and a half year old just started to play this game with us, too. He needs a little help, but can put a card in when we say either "match the color or the number." He even won his first game!
At 5 and a half, one of my son's favorite games was Monopoly Junior. We played at least a dozen times that first week and he still enjoys this one. There are four game pieces to choose from including a cat, dog, car or boat. Properties include a candy store, toy store, skate park, and the traditional Boardwalk and Park Place are there from the original Monopoly Game.
Tenzi is a quick game to set up and play. Each player chooses a set of ten dice - the game comes with 4 different colors, each with 10. You roll the dice, choose a number to collect, set those aside and quickly roll the rest of the dice to get them all to match. To play, a child needs to be able to quickly recognize and match the dots on the dice, probably around 5 or 6 years old. There are variations you can play with this game, but we have not yet played those.
My son also enjoys Chess. He plays at school and is disappointed when we pick him up before he gets a chance to play! It always amazes me to watch a group of 5 and 6 year olds play chess with each other! He was given this set which also has checkers and backgammon and the pieces can be stored inside when it is folded in half. He enjoys playing chess so much that before we had a chess set at home he made his own by drawing squares on paper and used several different small toys as the game pieces. It was by far the most creative and challenging chess game I've ever played! ;)