40+ Board Games for 3 Year Olds: Learn, Play, and Have Family Fun!

board games for 3 year olds

Parents spend the majority of a baby’s first years focusing on their health and helping them grow. By the time they become toddlers, we look for other ways to further their development, such as playing board games for 3 year olds. 

My husband and I swore to ourselves that we wouldn’t let tablets and TV babysit our children no matter how easy it is. We wanted to make learning fun and simple by taking “old school.” No touch screens are allowed. So, what better to keep things simple and enjoyable than fun board games.

If you’re looking to support your child’s development and spend some family quality time together, here are some board games for 3 year olds that you can play with your toddler. And, always remember that the youngest always goes first!

When Can a Child Start to Play Board Games?

Board games provide a minimum age or age range for children to play. However, not all kids are the same. I take the recommended age as a general suggestion. Kids are like sponges, constantly absorbing the world around them. 

So, don’t sell your kids short. They may be more intelligent than you think. You won’t know unless you try new games. The best toddler board games may work well for one family and differ for another.

As always, with all parenting, what worked one week doesn’t necessarily mean it will work next week. So, if one board game doesn’t work one day, maybe give it another try a few months later

You will know your child best and understand what does and doesn’t work. You’ll soon find which is the best game for your next family game night.

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What Makes a Good Board Game for a 3 Year Old?

The term “good” is relative, but there are common attributes in board games for 3 year olds: the time it takes to play, skills learned, number of players, minimum age, and any reading requirement.

  • Playtime: A toddler’s attention span around this age is limited. A good length of time for a game is no more than 15 minutes. The less complex a game is, the higher chance your little one will enjoy it, and the time will be a breeze. However, when they start to show frustration, there is always “next time.
  • Skills Learned: One of the motivations of board games for 3 years olds is that they help toddlers learn a new skill. These learned skills can be motor skills, counting, matching pictures, identifying shapes and colors, discover new animals, etc.
  • Number of Players: The number of players will let you know how flexible a game can be with more or fewer players. 
  • Minimum Age: The minimum age on the box is a recommendation. Each kid may learn how to play sooner rather than later. 

40+ Board Games for 3 Year Olds

1. Animal Upon Animal

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Dexterity
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

Think of Jenga plus Safari animals. You and your child will take turns balancing different wooden animals on top of one another. The goal is to stack all animals from your provision and be the first one done. Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t an adult version of this game.

2. Banana Blast

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Addition and subtraction
  • Number of Players: 2-5 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

With a roll of a die, kids pick one or two bananas from the banana tree. However, players have a chance to gift or take a banana from other players. The game has a fun little surprise where the money can jump out. Whoever catches the monkey can add two bananas from each player. The player with the most bananas is, well, bananas.

3. Wonder Forge Richard Scarry’s Busytown, Eye Found It

  • Playtime: Varies
  • Skills Learned: Matching, Observation, Teamwork
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

Kids move around a six feet long game board (yes, six feet long), taking turns looking for specific items on the board. After a minute of searching, everyone gets to forward the number of spaces equal to the number of items found. It’s a win-win situation!

4. Candyland

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Color recognition, Matching 
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Hasbro has refreshed this classic sweet adventures board game has with new illustrations, but the gameplay hasn’t changed. Little ones take turns moving their gingerbread man around the board in a race to the candy land kingdom.

5. Chutes and Ladders

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Counting, Number recognition
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Chutes and Ladders is another classic board game for 3 years olds. The goal is to get to the top with the help of ladders. However, watch out for the chute! Players can slide back down if they land on a chute. No reading required; just go ‘ole fun.

6. Color Go Fish Card Game

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Color recognition
  • Number of Players:  2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

This game mixes the card game’s simple rules of “Go Fish!” and uses colors instead. Some parents have concerns that colors are not base colors, such as red, blue, green, etc. Rather, the colors in this game are buttercup, jade, and apricot.

7. Colorama

  • Playtime: 20 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Matching, Shapes, Colors
  • Number of Players: 1-6 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Kids roll a color and a shape die to determine which colored shape a player needs to place on the board. For instance, a kid rolls a red color and a circle shape. They need to match a red circle piece to its place on the board. There is no score, and it’s not a race. The goal is for everyone to match the pieces to the board.

8. Count Your Chickens

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Counting
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

If you’re looking for a game where everyone works together and teaches, Count Your Chickens is a great pick. Players spin a spinner that indicates which square the mother hen moves to next. For each square they move, players collect the same amount into the chicken coop.

9. Create and Tell Me a Story Cards

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Imagination, Storytelling
  • Number of Players: 1+
  • Minimum Age: 3

These story cards allow parents to create unique stories every time they play. Parents make up a new part of the story based on the card drawn, leading to endless stories. Over time, kids can start to tell their own stories when playing independently.

10. Wonder Forge Disney Classic Characters Matching Game

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Matching
  • Number of Players: 1+
  • Minimum Age: 3

Lay all the cards facedown and take turns finding the match. Adding familiar Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy adds excitement to the game. This card game works well for families and allows solo play.

11. Don’t Break the Ice

  • Playtime: 15  minutes
  • Skills Learned: Strategy
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

In this game, players attempt to tap out blocks of ice with a small mallet. The goal is not to let the penguin fall through. This tabletop game will make the kids scream in excitement each time they successfully remove a block of ice.

12. Dragon’s Breath

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Color matching
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 5

This inventive game allows children to pretend to be dragons. Players act to melt an ice column by taking turns to remove rings. Any freed crystals that fall within a dragon’s color are up for grabs.

13. Elenfun and Friends

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Gross Motor skills
  • Number of Players: 1-3 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

This motorized elephant (batteries required) shoots butterflies in the air—the game tasks kids to catch the falling butterflies with their nets. Kids will have a blast playing. Parents will have to cherish the laughter while they pick up the mess.

14. Feed the Woozle

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Dexterity, Fine motor skills
  • Number of Players: 2-5 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Kids take turns rolling a die to determine how many snacks to feed the Woozle. They’ll have fun trying to balance as many snacks on their spoon. I wish I can use the same strategy to make them finish their dinner.

15. First Orchard

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Color recognition, Counting
  • Number of Players: 1-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 2

Kids take turns harvesting specific fruits into their baskets. But, they better hurry! A raven slowly moves closer to their basket. Everyone wins when everyone gathers all the fruit.

16. Franke’s Food Truck Fiasco

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Practical shapes
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

Are you looking for the next Master Chef Junior? With this Educational Insights game, players use a spinner to place an order. The first player to deliver a five-course meal wins! Maybe this game is the beginning of your kids preparing their own.

17. Ravensburger Snail’s Pace Race

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Counting, Color matching, Memory
  • Number of Players: 2-6 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Kids move snail game pieces down the board to reach the end. Although it is a snail-themed game, it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to play.

18. Hi Ho Cherry-O

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Counting, Addition, Subtraction
  • Number of Players: 2-3 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Another board game for 3 year olds is the Hi Ho Cherry-O board game. Kids take turns picking fruits from their trees to fill up their baskets. And whoever picks all the fruits from their tree wins!

19.  Peacable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot!

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Strategy, Teamwork
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

In this Pre-School board game, players attempt to help owls get to their nest before sunrise via a sun token. Everyone has to work together to reach their goal. Now, if I can use the same logic to get my kids to bed early, that would be great!

20. Caterpillar Matching Game

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Memory, Matching
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Minimum Age: 3

This game is another matching card game and is for construction equipment enthusiasts. Or, this is a good introduction for kids to learn more about construction. Even as an adult, I didn’t know what an excavator was.

21. Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar Counting Cards

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Strategy, Decision making
  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Minimum Age: 3

Kids move the hungry caterpillar around the board collecting puzzle pieces, which create a butterfly. The first person to collect all the pieces and move to the center of the board wins!

22. The Little Orchard

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Memory, Color recognition
  • Number of Players: 1-4 player
  • Minimum Age: 3

Kids roll a die and pick a tile with a matching flower. The goal is to get five cherries before you hit too many crows. This board game for 3 year olds is similar to another favorite, Hi Ho Cherry O.

23. Math For Love Tiny Polka Dot

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Math
  • Number of Players: 1-6 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

This game is perfect when you’re on the go or when waiting with your child at an appointment. It also offers different kinds of games with cards, allowing you to have more options with your kid.

24. Monkey Around

  • Playtime: Varies
  • Skills Learned: Motor skills, Hand-eye coordination
  • Number of Players: 
  • Minimum Age:

The game offers solo and partner play. Depending on the card, kids have to imitate the actions described on the card. There isn’t a designated winner in this game. Instead, it’s a good reason to act silly and monkey around.

25. My First Castle Panic

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Matching, Strategy
  • Number of Players: 1-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

If you’re looking for board games for 3 year olds that have action, check out My First Cast Panic. Kids battle monsters that approach a castle. A kid can only battle a monster in a space with a matching shape held by the kid.

26. Pengoloo

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Color recognition, Memory,
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

Pengoloo is a new take on playing the memory game. Unlike other matching games where you usually flip over a card, this game requires you to lift a penguin to discover a colored egg. The goal is to find the colored egg that matches the rolled die color.

27. Pete the Cat: The Missing Cupcakes Game

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Matching
  • Number of Players: 1+
  • Minimum Age: 3

This game is another matching card game but with Pete the Cat. If your kids are fans of Pete the Cat, they’ll enjoy this simple card game.

28. Pick Me Up, Piggy!

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Memory, Cooperation, Storytelling
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

The game begins by hiding the characters in different locations. A player creates a story to help everyone remember where the characters. It’s a fun way to play a memory game using imagination.

29. Race to the Treasure!

  • Playtime: 20 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Strategy, Cooperation
  • Number of Players: 2-4 posts
  • Minimum Age: 5

Players work together to build a path to the treasure. As part of their mission, they also need to collect three keys. However, if the ogre gets to the prize first, everyone loses. Thus, race to the treasure!

30. Rat-A-Tat-Cat

  • Playtime: 20 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Math, Memory
  • Number of Players: 2-6 players
  • Minimum Age: 5

In this game, the lowest score is better. The idea is to get rid of the highest card by peaking and trading with other players. Although the recommended age is high, the concept is simple for three and four year olds to grasp.

31. Robot Turtles

  • Playtime: Varies
  • Skills Learned: Basic programming logic
  • Number of Players: 2-5 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

This game originated from Kickstarter, and developers created this game to teach kids the basics of programming logic. Kids must guide a turtle to reach a target location. Children accomplish this goal by giving instructions to the robot turtle. The instructions are on the cards, such as turn or move forward.

32. Sequence for Kids

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Strategy
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

The name of the game is to create a row (or sequence) of chips on the board. Kids play a card with a picture of an animal on it. The child then places the chip on the matching animal on the board to create a sequence of four chips.

33. Shopping List

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Matching, Memory, Literacy
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

Each player gets a shopping cart and a shopping list. Each player flips over face-down cars to reveal a grocery item. If the item is on the list, the player gets to put it in their cart. Whoever completes their list first wins!

34. Spot It! Jr. Animals

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Develops attention, Visual perception, Motor skills
  • Number of Players:  2-5 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

This game offers various modes, such as “Hide and Seek” and “The Tower.” Depending on the rules, kids have to match animals that are found commonly between the cards.

35. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Motor skills, Hand-eye coordination.
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

In The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, kids spin the spinner to find out which colored acorn they pick up. The fun part is getting to use a Squirrel Squeezer to pick up the acorns and store them in their log.

36. Stack Up!

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Balance, Color matching
  • Number of Players: 2-6 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

The premise of the game is to stack 12 blocks. However, this game includes challenges that kids have to perform. Also, part of the game is intentionally knocking down. Once you finish the stack, a smasher comes to knock down the tower.

37. The Yoga Garden

  • Playtime: 
  • Skills Learned: Yoga
  • Number of Players: 
  • Minimum Age: 4

A yoga teacher created this game to help teach children yoga. The game encourages cooperative play versus competition. Depending on the space where a player lands, the player will have to imitate a yoga pose or even invent one.

38. Uno Moo

  • Playtime: 15 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Matching colors, Learning animals
  • Number of Players: 2-4 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

This game takes the basics of Uno and puts a Pre-School spin on it using farm animals. The player with one more critter remaining yells, “Uno Moo!”

39. Yeti in my Spaghetti

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Strategy
  • Number of Players: 2+
  • Minimum Age: 4

Players carefully remove spaghetti noodles from under a Yeti. Watch your kids go crazy as they remove a noodle one by one. However, all it takes is one noodle to let the Yeti in your spaghetti.

40. Zingo

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Language, Reading, Matching
  • Number of Players: 2-6 players
  • Minimum Age: 4

This award-winning game is beloved by parents and teachers, which is a twist on the game Bingo, is the perfect board gaThis award-winning game is beloved by parents and teachers, which is a twist on the game Bingo. Players slide a Zinger that shows two different cards. When a player first correctly identifies the picture on the card, they can pick up the card and match it to their board’s image. The first person to cover all the squares on their board wins. Zingo!

41. Thinkfun Heads Talk Tails Walk Game

  • Playtime: 10 minutes
  • Skills Learned: Visual perception, Reasoning
  • Number of Players: 2-5 players
  • Minimum Age: 3

This game is entertaining and lets kids be silly. Kids take turns flipping over a card to see if it matches with the body of an animal. If the card does not match, then everyone imitates the animal. Whoever gets the most matches wins!

Final Thoughts

Did you find your best board game in this long list of best family games? Each game offers a new skill level to learn or improve. Also, at least one family board game offers three different levels, such as cooperative game play.

The essential thing is to enjoy the time with your little ones helping them grow along the way with a fun game. Whether it’s just the two of your or four players, everyone, from younger kids to adults, can have a great time!

So, are you ready to play?

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Jacqueline

Jacqueline is a wife and a loving mother to two lively kids. Alongside taking care of her family and working full-time in healthcare, she is a real estate investor and a personal finance blogger. She manages the finances for her household and her small real estate business. Also, she has been featured in Business Insider, USA Today, and Ladders. Join her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.