Thursday 13 June 2013

Kids Coop - Board Games for 3 - 4 year olds

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Its time for Kids Coop, please link up your kids activity posts and check out what everyone else is up to. This week I am linking the following:
This post contains affiliate links
(Goblin is 44 months)

I'm excited because Goblin has started to want to play games with rules. I have to admit that given his tendency to do his own thing regardless, I hadn't thought that board games would be his thing, but apparently they are. We have had some hits and some misses so I wanted to share a few that have been real successes.

This is by far top of the bill. It is super easy to play and your child only needs to know their colours and be able to count to 2. The game involves up to 4 people who have to go from the beginning of the board to the castle at the end, along the coloured square path. To move you take a card from the pile. It has either one coloured square or two squares of the same colour. You move to the next square of the colour, or if there are two squares you move to the second square of that colour. See I told you it was easy. 
There are however a handful of 'wild cards'. These are pictures of candy that match a single picture on the board. If you get that card you move to where ever that picture is. This can create a massive advantage if you move early in the game to the end of the path, but equally it can send you right back to the beginning if you get an early picture and you are near the end of the path. If your child is a sensitive sort who is likely to throw a fit if this happens to them you can just remove those cards from the pack. We were pleasantly surprised by how well Goblin handled it when he was sent back, but I think that is because we were playing it as a fun game rather than a competition to get to the end first. We also keep playing until every player has finished so there is no urgency to be the winner.
This game teaches basic counting and observation skills, turn taking and patience and how to be a gracious winner or loser.

2: Go Away Monster

Go Away Monster is for up to four players. Each player has a board which is a picture of a bedroom with four bits of furniture missing. To get your furniture you take turns to dip your hand in the mystery bag and pull out a piece using only feel to determine wether its a piece of furniture you need or a monster. If its a monster you pull out you shout "GO AWAY MONSTER" and throw it into the box. The aim is to complete your room before all the monsters are pulled out.
This game reminds me of Montessori mystery bags. It teaches a child to use the sense of feel rather than sight to identify and object. The game would be utterly awesome of the shapes were three dimensional but it is still fun with the two dimensional shapes. Goblin enjoys playing this although he doesn't shout at the monsters, he says "hello Monster" before placing them carefully in the box - and he isn't too interested in not pulling out monsters.

3: Formula D

When Hublet first brought this game home I sighed inwardly. It looked really complicated and I predicted Goblin based meltdowns as Hublet tried to explain the rules. However, while it can be played by adults with all the more complicated rules applied, this game is also very accessible to preschoolers on a much simpler level. Children need to be able to count to about 30 and recognise numerical digits. That said Goblin can't count beyond 12 and doesn't recognise any numbers above 5 and was still happily able to play this with a bit of assistance.
The game involves very tiny cars - the type that babies would swallow and choke on - which you line up on the starter grid. Each player has a gear box and on each turn you decide whether to stick in the gear you are in, go up a gear or go down a gear - this dictates which dice you use. The lower gears have dice that only generate low numbers and the higher gears have dice that generate higher numbers. You roll your dice and move that many squares. If two cars land next to each other a dice is rolled to determine whether there has been any damage incurred to either car. At various points around the race track there are sections where you must land/stop or you incur damage. Hence having to change up and down gear - if you are two spaces away from a section you need to stop in you don't want to be rolling a dice that will give you an 8 or higher because you won't land in the section.
Confused? Yeah it is more complicated than the other two games which are specifically made for kids, but Goblin sat and played this with us for an entire half hour and followed the rules as we explained them. I think it helped that he is obsessed by vehicles.
This game teaches counting, turn taking, numerical recognition, graceful winning and losing, patiences and how to drive stick!

Other games we have tried that haven't been so popular in our family include
Connect 4 - Goblin isn't interested in the rules and turn taking aspect which may be because he had this game as a Montessori activity when he was a baby - I used to let him post the counters in to improve his gross motor and fine motor movements.
Ludo - Goblin just gets bored, it takes too long fo rthe game to finish with nothing interesting happening except taking turns to move a piece forward.
Snap  - he enjoys it but doesn't quite get it and often the packs we play with have too few snaps.

I'd love to hear any recommendations you have for board games for this age group.
And now to the linky 
I'm sharing this with
I Can Teach My ChildTeach Beside MeFor the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.comTGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4MeWhat to do with the childrenPhotobucket


  1. My son loves Cariboo Island, Memory and The Ladybug Game. We have the vintage version of Candyland because the new one gives me a headache. He also loves Uncle Wiggily (one from my childhood) and we've recently started card games - Go Fish, Uno, etc. :)

  2. I'm always on the lookout for great game ideas. Thanks for the suggestions!


I have decided to turn off comments on the blog as I am being inundated with spam. I do this with sadness as I love genuine comments from readers. If you would like to leave a comment please email me at or visit the TamingtheGoblin FaceBook page (you can access it through the FB icon in the top right corner of the blog homepage).
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...