Who doesn’t love a good list? You can nod along in agreement or scream at the screen when your favourite isn’t included, or something you totally disagree with makes the list. As such, here is Greg’s Top 10 Games for 3-6 year olds*.
* Abilities and interest vary between kids quite a lot so I’m mostly dealing with those who may be able to recognise letters but aren’t able to read yet.
This is primarily one for the younger kids in the age range. Players each have an aeroplane and are picking up passengers and flying them to their destinations, where they pick up souvenirs which are worth points. It’s a simple dice game with fairly minimal decisions but helps with getting them used to taking turns, the planes are cool and the artwork is great and very detailed for them to look at.
A classic game that is very simple. Lay out the tiles face down and then take turns turning up two tiles. If you find a match you keep them. There are lots of memory/matching games out there but this distills it to it’s essence. The benefits for me are that you can get pretty much any themed version you like (ours is Dr Seuss as above) and you can shorten the game by using less pairs of tiles.
This one is for slightly older kids. While they may not understand the strategy right away it’s a simple enough game to play as you are placing domino tiles, matching up the different coloured symbols to score points. With a little coaching you may find they start to pick up the strategy a bit more and can be more competitive. You can also use a handicap system where they start with some points in all colours.
In this game the child draws a random animal card and then places clue tokens onto the board to get everyone else to guess which animal it is. The board shows pictures of things like colours, habitats, size, horns/claws/feathers, etc. There are two decks of animals, one more commonly known and the others a bit more obscure, so as their animal knowledge increases you can ramp up the difficulty.
This one is good for all ages as the pieces are fun to play around with and stack even if you don’t play the game properly. The full game is easy enough though, and is actually quite fun for adults too, which isn’t always the case with kids games.
Another domino style game where the gameplay is simple enough but they may want a little coaching for what to choose and where to place, at least at first. There are lots of fun little details on the artwork as well, which helps if they don’t like waiting for their turn to place their tile.
Another tile laying game that is pretty simple and is short and sweet. It makes them think ahead a little bit as they plan to stay on the path and not turn off the edge of the board. As they get a bit older they’ll pick up the strategy more and may well try to go after you!
The great things about this game are that it’s cooperative, so you can help the kids out, and that it is a legacy game. It starts out fairly simple and then adds new rules as you progress and win games. On top of that, it has stickers, which kids seem to love, and envelopes to open up as you unlock new content!
This is a silly game where players are trying to match up the animal heads to the correct body. If you get it wrong then all players have to walk around in a circle like the animal on the body tile while making the noise of the animal head tile. It’s super easy, so all ages can join in and is definitely the most silly (and tiring) fun we’ve had playing any of these kids games!
This is a cooperative deduction game where players are collectively trying to figure out which fox has stolen the pie. Players decide on their turn if they want to look for clues or reveal suspect cards and then roll dice trying to roll the symbols they need. If they do then they get to perform that action, but if they fail then the culprit gets to move towards the exit. Suspect cards have a number of defining features, and clues either confirm or eliminate features that the culprit has, using a neat little device. It’s a smart little game and is a lot of fun.
Honourable Mention: Heroquest
If you’re looking to get your kids into dungeon crawl games then this classic game is actually a good option. The gameplay is pretty straightforward and an adult can play the part of the Gamemaster. It’s weighted in favour of the players, especially at the beginning, so there’s not too much danger of their character dying, and they’ll likely enjoy the little furniture pieces on the board.
So that’s my list! Let me know if you have other games that you recommend for that age range as I’m always looking out for other options!