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Kids as young as 2 can start to understand the basics of game play, strategy and rules through card and board games! Our family has been enjoying game play with our girls for a few years now and are slowing building our collection of classics and new favorites. Keep reading to check out our list of 12+ favorite card games and board games for 2 – 5 years old.
Every parents should already realize this but I want to reiterate that the age listed on these games is always just a guide. Some kids need more time to be ready for a certain game while others can play them at a much younger age! Each child is different in their ability, attention span and comprehension so do what’s best for your child!
- Candyland – This classic board game is the first one our list as it was the first we owned and loved by both girls starting at age 2. The concept is simple enough as it’s based on simple counting and color recognition.
- The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game – Again this game focuses on matching colors but this one also has an element to help kids work on their fine motor skills with the cute squirrel shape placing tool. The box is actual the game board but with the awkward shape, it can sometimes be hard to fit well with other game boxes.
- What Did I Step in? – This game plays up that trend we’re seeing lately in games: poop! Yes, this is a memory game where you use a suction cup shoe to step on different cards to reveal what the shoe stepped on and you have to be careful to avoid stepping in poop! When you do, you lose a turn but you always get a big giggle!
- Bingo – I grabbed a $3 Dr Seuss themed travel bingo game at the Target dollar spot during one of the holiday seasons and was surprised how much Hailey got into it around age 2.5. I plan to work up to a bigger, more traditional bingo game with chips featuring all the numbers.
- Spot It! JR animals – There are no words to read as this game works on identifying pairs and matching animals. It comes in a small compact tin for easy transport as a game to throw in your purse or in the car during all those time you have to wait to pick a sibling up. It says it’s for age 4+ but Hailey’s been loving it since she was just short of 3 so I’d say younger kids can play too! Perfect as a stocking stuffer or basket filler for Easter!
- Chutes and Ladders – You spin the wheel and work your way zig zagging through the board to climb up ladders and avoid the chutes (slides) that bring you back down. We have this smaller version of the classic game and I’m happy we do as sometimes you can get caught in that loop of climbing up and falling down where it’s a little longer than you thought to get a winner.
- Guess Who – We have both the classic version and a newer version of the board game and while we love both, I still stand behind the classic. Each person randomly chooses a character card and must try to narrow down who the other person has using comparison skills. The questions get funny as they learn different characteristics and you see things through their eyes. In society we say “red” for that hair color but in most cartoon and game form, like this one, they show it as orange. Try explaining to a 4 year old the color they see is actually “red” in the real world. My girls also learned the difference between a beard and a mustache and what “bald” means due to this game!
- Zingo – Bingo With A Zing – This is probably our #1 favorite family game as all ages can play it. It’s a basic matching game with a fun device that holds the tiles. My girls can play this independently together, as well as, with us as a family. This version includes both drawings and the title of the drawings on each tile to introduce some basic new words to a 5 year old’s vocabulary.
- Rush Hour Jr – If you don’t already have this game in your collection, get it! It’s a great independent game that involves logic and problem solving but you can also take turns with it. You set up the traffic scene on the grid with one of the challenge cards then have to move around the pieces to try to get the ice cream truck out of the traffic jam. I am always in awe of watching my girls play this as you literally can see them thinking it out! The cards go from easy to super hard so you’re able to start slow on this and challenge them more as they get the idea. The game is listed as 5 years old but I’ll tell you my 3 year old can do all the easy cards and some of the mediums on her own!
- Fish – Sure they don’t do the greatest job at hiding their cards from their opponents, but the girls still love playing go fish with this card set of colorful under the sea creatures.
- Trouble – Brielle got REALLY into this game starting at age 4 where we played but didn’t introduce ALL the rules yet. By 4.5 we introduced all the rules and she fully understood how to play and how to build a strategy to win! At almost 3 Hailey would play but was bored of it easily so I’d say to wait until they’re a little older to give this one a go but be ready to be asked to play it ALL THE TIME.
- Uno – We had this TEENY TINY Uno card set from a favor set of a party I styled and once I introduce it to Brielle, she was hooked! Hailey watched and first and now at 3 years old can easily follow along and hold her own when we play as a family of 4. They both use these Little Hands Card Holders that I TOTALLY RECOMMEND for any kids that has helped a whole lot! Bonus: they are small and fit great in stockings at Christmas or baskets at Easter!
- Eye Found It Disney – This game combines their love of “I Spy” and Disney! We play this with a family at night but I could definitely recommend playing it in good lighting as the little pictures can be pretty small to find! The action of looking on the board to hunt out the items from the card is a group activity and the more you find the more spots you move, which motivates even us parents trying to finish the game faster!