As #toddlermamas, we are always looking for engaging, exciting, and, let’s be honest, time-consuming activities for our little ones. Our latest obsession? Toddler board games. These activities cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, and creative problem solving along with building a sense of community and encouraging learning on so many levels. They’re basically a secret weapon of parenting.
On our list, we have the best toddler board games for solo play, play with other kiddos, and even some for the whole family. And with everything from feeding cute monsters to picking fruits and veggies—and even some classic toddler board games like Operation—these games have a little something for every baby. Get ready for #familyfunnight to begin! This may not be like playing Beer Pong with your friends, but there can still be a glass of vino at the ready.
It’s not often that you find a board game that allows you to play “doctor” for the day, but perhaps that’s why Operation is such a classic. Yes, even today! You may remember it from your grade school days or maybe it was even a household staple growing up. If you’re new to the electronic game, the idea is to remove the patient’s “ailments” (think: butterflies in the stomach, spare ribs, etc.) using tweezers… but careful, you don’t want to set off the buzzer! One Amazon customer raves, “I’m totally thrilled that I found this original OPERATION GAME! It is complete with the anatomy parts of the game I played with in my youth, it has one extra body part, an ice cream cone for “brain freeze” but you cannot beat this version. The nose lights, the buzzer buzzes and there are Doctor and Specialists cards plus bank money.”
If you have a curious toddler who’s always asking questions (like “why is the sky pink”) or playing “I Spy” in the car, then Hasbro’s Guess Who—the original guessing game—will likely result in hours of entertainment. In a nutshell, the goal of the game is to identify the other player’s mystery character. The set includes 2 game boards, 48 face cards, 24 mystery cards, and 2 scorekeepers. If your kid is a bit on the younger side, then you may need to double up (have daddy on one team and mommy on the other to tag team). Says this OG Guess Who player, “Have so many fond memories of the travel version of this from when my brother and I used to play during long road trips, flights, etc. growing up! So, decided it was a perfect complement to add onto a variety of other games/activities my wife and I gathered up ahead of our nieces (ages 4 & 7) coming over for the weekend. The game has been updated a bit in the last 25 years in that it no longer is so narrow in how faces/people are conveyed. There is far greater diversity; eyes, hair (color/style), and other aspects of profile are no longer limited to “conventional” norms.”
This best-selling, award-winning game is popular for good reason. There’s no reading required, it’s easy to understand, and adorable forest friends abound. Your toddler will love helping the squirrels find their acorns. Simply put, “This game is fun, colourful and creative but also excellent for young children to develop game skills of taking turns, spinning the wheel and strategy alongside counting, colours and fine motor skills in using the squirrel shaped tongs to select the coloured acorns.” Another customer says that The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel is great fun for the entire family. “We had this game on our wishlist for a while, and finally gave in and bought it….my kids (3 and 4) absolutely LOVE this game! The older one quickly grasped the gameplay and now can supervise his sibling while they play together. It is a delight to look at and the components are really well made. Yes, it is a game for younger children, but older kids might enjoy the odd game. My kids have yet to tire of playing it!”
Let your little tyke’s imagination run wild with this ocean-inspired game. They’ll learn how to work as a team and will love using the spinner when it’s their turn (and maybe when it’s not). Do we spy a Pineapple under the sea? Alas, that must be Mr. Shark’s home… if you have little ones who are obsessed with Spongebob, then this board game will likely garner some interest.
Here’s the 411 according to a parent on Amazon, “This is a great game for kids, especially ones that are competitive. All the players must work together to get all the crabs home before the shark. The game gives you the option to play with the spinner on colors or numbers. There are 4 baby crabs and 1 shark. Then the player spins and if it lands on the number 3 you move 1 crab 3 spaces (or if you are playing colors you move to that color shell). Players must strategize which crab to move so that they all make it home. If the spinner lands on the shark you move the shark 1 space. If it lands on the bubble you pick which crab to move back 1 space. My 3-year-old loves the game and asks to play it often. It is nice to have the players work together instead of competing so there are no sore losers, everyone wins (as long as the shark doesn’t make it home first, which so far has never happened).”
Great for motor skills and counting, this ferociously cute game is all about feeding the monster with silly snacks like hairy pickles and fuzzy donuts. It comes in 3 levels, too, so it will really grow with your child. Go ahead and #AddToCart to see what all the hype is about, mama! Or check out this awesome review first, “We got this game for my daughter who is turning 3 years old. She absolutely loves games and funny/silly things. Feed the Woozle has become an instant favorite in our house, and is enjoyed by both my 3 year old and 5 year old. The game requires following directions, using a spinner, rolling a die, and improving motor skills with directed movements (bunny hop, hula dance, spin, walk backwards…) while balancing “funny food” on a spoon.”
Two wooden fishing poles, one sorting box, and a whole bunch of fishies make up this fun game. The non-toxic paint designs are great for learning letters and colors. Get ready for hours of toddler fun (and some chill time for you). From one parent to another, “This fishing game is one of my sons new favorite toys! Its simple as it doesn’t move so playing the game is a bit easier than the versions that spin around. However the parts of the game itself are very durable. Everything is made of solid wood and feels good in the hand. My kids have been throwing the pieces around and playing together and everything is still in perfect condition. Both my 1yr old daughter and my 3.5yr old daughter play this together. Its really a great product overall; if you have little kids you can buy this with confidence. Your kids should love it the same way that mine do!”
This OG game has been around for decades and is still going strong. With about 10 minutes of play time, it’s great for busy toddlers. They will harvest fruits and veggies and learn colors and counting at the same time. Best described as simple, collaborative, and fun, this board game is more than deserving of its five-star rating. One Amazon customer chimes in, “This is a very simple game which is perfect for 2-year-olds. Seriously, it is very hard to find a game so simple that even a 2-year old can understand and enjoy it. I had avoided getting this game because of all the “simple” comments, but I am SOOO glad I ignored them because its what I needed for my little one. Not only is it the perfect age range, but the game is collaborative so all the players are working together towards the same goal. This collaborative format works much better with the very young children as it is hard for them to play games individually. It also is helpful to share the winning and losing as a team as it helps process the emotions of it as a group instead of alone.”
Let your kiddo tromp around Richard Scarry’s Busytown with this super engaging game. It promotes attention to detail, teamwork, object identification, and matching skills. Plus, they’ll never get bored since you get a new experience every time. Side note to moms: If you played the computer game version of Busytown back in the day (‘member the part where you have to help put out a fire??), then this board game is sure to elicit some excitement. One Amazon customer says, “Excellent game for toddlers and preschoolers! This collaborative game (everyone works as a team) is so easy to learn and play.” She adds, “This game is a great concept for kids who have issues with winning and losing. Especially at 3 and 4 years of age when other skills like patience, taking turns, and working together are my main focus for my son rather than learning to be a gracious loser (I hope to teach him this later). Focusing and patience are the skills that this game builds as my son loves being a helper and the idea that he is helping everyone to win actually helps him to focus and be a little more patient. The game also helps with counting and memory. I am pleasantly surprised by this game and I highly recommend it!”
Another book-based game; this one is all about memory and taking turns. Kids sing songs, act out physical activities, and identify favorite animals, foods, and words. Our favorite detail? It’s all about finding missing cupcakes. If you have a little one obsessed with Pete the Cat, then this should be a no-brainer. Says this mama, “My daughter is 2.5 years old and she’s a big fan of Pete the Cat. the Missing Cup Cake book is one of her favorite bedtime stories, so I bought this game for her. It was a big hit! The toy is well made, the cupcakes are so cute and colorful! Although my daughter can’t understand the game 100%, she still loves to play the game with a little help from me. She also loves to play just use the figures in the set, making them talk just like they did in Pete the Cat books. We also use the cupcakes as pretend food.”
This classic counting game has been in the mix for over 50 years! It’s a numbers game with a fun twist. The spinner will get you cherries, but can also take cherries away. First kiddo to fill their tree wins. Whether you played this game as a kid or not, it’s guaranteed to be a hit with the entire fam. Raves this Amazon customer, “Great game! I never played as a child, so this wasn’t purchased out of nostalgia. I wanted a game that would help my 3 and 4 year intro into addition/subtraction and reinforce their counting (even though it’s just up to 10, that’s fine for us). This fit the bill and is superfun, the kids love the anticipation of “spilling the barrel” and look forward to spilling it more than winning, exactly what I needed for a 3 and 4 year old, they don’t care who wins. I was a preschool teacher for 15 years + and wish I had bought this for my students.”
Because playing is *literally* one of the most important things your kid can do right now — shop our picks for the best and brightest in baby and toddler toys.