Beyond Candy Land: Games for 3 and 4 year olds


ClassCrasher LogoI was recently asked by ClassCrasher, a Chicago-based company that helps parents find fun classes for kids without a long commitment, to do a guest post on their blog on fun games for kids.  Of course I’m happy to spread the game-love, and many of the games I chose to include I’ve talked about before on The Game Aisle.  There were quite a few others I could have added to the list: Zingo, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Hoot Owl Hoot, Animal Upon Animal, Hiss, etc, but I had to narrow it down and that was SO HARD!  Thankfully I was starting the list at age 3 or I would have had to think about adding  Seek A Boo and Roll N Play too.  I tried to make the list a nice mix of play styles and not too much in-your-face education.  What would you have added?

It’s okay to admit that you stack the deck when you play Candy Land with your kids. No one wants to see the epic meltdown that occurs when your 3 year old is sent back to the Peppermint Forest or the Ice Cream Slopes (depending on the version you’re playing) right before they reach the castle at the end. It’s a classic game that pretty much everyone played as a kid, but when you remove the tasty theme and nostalgia, you’re left with a draw and move game that isn’t so sweet. Here are a bunch of fun games for 3 and 4 year olds that hopefully won’t end in tears and you’ll both have fun playing:

Raccoon Rumpus Koala CapersRaccoon Rumpus (Buy from Amazon) from Educational Insights, Ages 3+ ~$12

Everyone has a raccoon that’s only in his underpants and it is time dress him up! Players roll two dice, one die will determine the article of clothing and the other will determine the color, and take a costume card that matches their roll. Roll underpants and you lose all of the costumes you’ve collected and return your raccoon to his tighty-whities — but that’s okay because everyone loves underpants!

Koala Capers (buy from Amazon) from Educational Insights, Ages 3+ ~$13

Koala Capers plays just like Raccoon Rumpus, but the Koala is being dressed up by rolling patterns instead of colors. Both games are quick and have advanced play rules for when your child is older. Disclaimer: I invented Koala Capers and Raccoon Rumpus.

Feed the Woozle

 

Feed the Woozle (Buy from Amazon) from Peaceable Kingdom, Ages 3+ ~$20

The Woozle is a very hungry monster with a taste for odd snacks, and the goal of this cooperative game is to feed him 12 silly snacks before the snacks run out. The Woozle is made out of cardboard and had a cutout for the mouth. Players must carry snacks on the spoon from the snack area to the Woozle’s mouth. A spinner determines which snacks the Woozle will be fed.

 

Sleepy Castle - EN

Sleepy Castle (Buy from Amazon) from HABA Ages 4+ ~$14

A fun twist on memory, players flip tiles in the center of the play area hoping to find two that match two adjacent characters in a circle around the outside. If you can find two that are next to each other, you collect the gold coins between them. Most gold coins wins and the artwork is adorable!

Spot it Jr

 

Spot It Jr (Buy from Amazon) from Blue Orange or Asmodee Ages 3+ ~$10

This little tin holds a speed matching game that’s fun for kids of all ages! Flip 2 cards and if you’re the first to find the two items that match, you win the card!

Many of these games will not be found at your local Target, but are easily found on Amazon or at some of the great local toy/game stores in Chicago.

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