Our Top 3 Games to Play with Preschoolers

Wink Photography

Image Courtesy of Wink Photography

The face of table games for kids (or for anyone, really) has changed dramatically.  No longer are we forced to play retro games like Sorry and Trouble and Old Maid with our little ones. I apologize if you like those games. Occasionally they can be fun. I just tend to become very bored, very quickly.

There was a hole in the market for delightful games that offer more of a challenge than counting out spaces on a board.  The game industry has taken on the challenge of creating engaging games for the whole family. And we couldn’t be happier.

St. Paul games

Mischief Toy Store

Because of their effort, table games have had a resurgence in popularity in recent years.  Games benefit your whole self–mind, body, and spirit.

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Family Benefits of Table Games

Three ways table games can benefit your family include*

  1. Stress Reduction.  A frequent by-product of playing games together is laughter.  And laughter produces endorphins which lower stress in the body.
    If a game doesn’t create an environment where everyone can laugh (not that you will all the time), take a break from it until individuals have matured a bit more.
  2. gardeningBrain Development/Cognitive Growth.  When you play a board game, you are engaging your prefrontal cortex and hippocampus.  
    These areas are responsible for memory development and cognitive thought.  The more you engage these areas, the stronger they will become. Plus, with many games, you can learn different facts about the world or history or words, etc. When you play games together, it’s kind of like doing homework together.
  3. Relationship Building.  When you play table games together as a family, you give yourselves an experience to enjoy together.  Members of your family share moments and create memories that are unlike anything a movie or screen time can create.  
    These are the moments your kids will be talking about at family gatherings for the rest of their lives.

These days many games for preschoolers are engaging for the teens and adults in our families, and some games designed for adults can be adjust to include the young ones.


Game QwirkleExplanation: In this adaptation of Dominoes, players create rows of  tiles he same color/different shapes or same shape/different colors.  Create a grid as you play and any time a row of six is completed, you earn a qwirkle!

Modification: Instead of keeping score as the game determines, our family counts the number of Qwirkles.  If you have very young children, only play with half the tiles because the game will move more quickly.

Benefits: No reading, but lots of patterns to decipher.  Matching and group-building are huge in this game.  And it’s a challenge for mom and dad, too.

Challenges: I can’t think of any in this game.  If you know of one, please leave a comment.  This is my favorite family game right now.


game dixitExplanation: In the spirit of Balderdash, this art-based game is a easy game for the whole family to play.  The goal of the game is to get the other players to guess your card. Anyone who guesses correctly earns points, and if you trick other players, you earn points.  

Modification: I would change how to score the game if you are playing with preschoolers.  Make it simple. If someone guesses your card, you get a point. If you guess the correct answer, you get a point.  The correct card gets as many points as there are guessers who guessed it.

Benefits:  Creativity is king in this game, and there is no need to read or work with written words.

Challenges: The scoring is really tricky, so adjust it so it makes sense to you.


game twangledExplanation: A full body experience that takes the game of Twister to a whole new level. Players create a circle with four to eight people and hold an elastic band between each player.  There are four different colors and each color must be represented. The goal of the game is to successfully untangle your extreme human knot, but first you must twist into that pretzel knot by each participant kicking the spinner and following the directions. This problem-solving game is full of hilarity and laughs!  And maybe a back bend or two.

Modification: Instead of kicking the spinner, have a Spinner Master whose only job in that round is to call out the directions given by the spinner itself.

Benefits: This is a gross-motor skill dream!   Using your big muscles to complete the challenge and using your mind to dissect the puzzle makes this an incredible game.

Challenges: You do need to be fairly flexible and mobile to play this game.  If too many people of unequal size play, there could be some hilarious limbo and gymnastic moves to watch.

If you are looking for ideas for games to play with your family, check out 45+ Fun Indoor Games.

*Notes taken from How Game Are You?

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