Tag Archives: fine motor skills

Great Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Buddy is really into games right now. It’s really fun that he’s finally old enough for us to play games as a family. Before Christmas, we started playing memory and go fish with a tiny Thomas the Train card set, which was a favor from his Thomas the Train birthday party. We also tried a game from our library (Zingo), and he immediately fell in love with it. I asked my family to get games for us for Christmas, and we got some awesome ones! All of them are appropriate for both toddlers and preschoolers.

Disclaimer – the Amazon links below are affiliate links, and they are all products I love. If you choose to purchase an item through one of these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting my family. 

Most of the boxes for these games suggest them as for ages 3 and up, but they can be appropriate for younger kids. I’ve listed the needed skills for each to help you decide if it is appropriate for your child. Right now, Buddy is 33 months old, but he would have been able to play most of these at a younger age. Not only are these games a lot of fun, but they also help Buddy to work on many different skills, including learning to take turns and to be a good winner/loser.

Zingo

Skills Needed: Matching pictures

Skills Practiced: Fine motor skills, counting, comparing numbers

Zingo is Buddy’s favorite game right now. We play at least 3 rounds of it every day, and he can’t get enough of it! The idea is simple – be the first to match all of the pictures on your card. The red shooter dispenses the pictures, and they can be inserted in a slot on the shooter if they aren’t needed. We count how many pictures we have, how many more we need, and who has more pictures. There are two different levels of cards, and one side has more overlapping pictures between the cards to make the game more competitive. There are several other versions of this game including sight words, counting, and spelling.

Uno Moo

Skills Needed: Matching colors and farm animals

Skills Practiced: Colors, counting, fine motor skills

Uno Moo is a great version of the classic Uno game for young children. Each player starts with five animals, and you take turns putting them into the barn by matching either the color or the animal. There are figures that represent wild cards (the little boy) and draw two cards (skunks). Buddy loves the little figures, and it’s easy for him to know what can and can’t be matched. I got the older version of this game because I wanted the haystacks to hide the animals and the puppy figures. (Both are not included in the new version.) There is also a card version of this game.

Stack Up

Skills Needed: Stacking blocks

Skills Practiced: Colors, counting, fine motor skills

Stack Up is a cooperative game. Players work together to stack all 12 blocks before the smasher smashes the tower. Younger players use their hands to stack the blocks, but older players work together to use sticks to stack the blocks. You spin the spinner to determine what color block to stack. If it lands on the smasher, the figure moves forward one space. If any blocks fall, the smasher moves forward again. Buddy can hardly stand the excitement by the end of the game (see the second picture above)! There are challenge cards and two different types of sticks to challenge older players.

Seek A Boo

Skills Needed: Matching pictures

Skills Practiced: Memory, vocabulary, counting, shapes, colors

Seek a boo is a spin on the classic memory game. There are 36 large circle cards and 36 square find it cards. All of the cards are split into groups of six with a different color and a different topic (shapes, animals, clothing, outside objects, food, and toys). The child spreads out the six cards, and the parent shows a square card with a picture to find. We count how many times it takes for Buddy to find the matching card. After you do the first six, you can do another round with a different color. You can do two or more colors at a time to make it more challenging for older children.

Go Fish

Skills Needed: Matching farm animals

Skills Practiced: Find motor skills, counting, comparing numbers

Go Fish is a classic card game that is usually played with older kids. I really wanted to find a Go Fish deck for Buddy’s stocking since he loved playing it so much with his Thomas cards. But his Thomas set only had 8 matches, so it wasn’t really enough to play a good game. Most decks out there are made for older kids that can read numbers. But the set that I linked above just has pictures of farm animals. The deck is set up to get all four cards of each animal, but we just play with half the deck and have two card matches. We got this card holder to help Buddy hold his own cards, and it’s a great fine motor activity putting cards in and out of the holder.  When we finish the game, we count the amount of matches that each person has and compare the numbers to see who wins. We have also played memory with these cards.

Memory

Skills Needed: Matching pictures

Skills Practiced: Memory, counting, comparing numbers

Memory is a preschool game that has been around forever. It’s a great way for young children to work on remembering things, which is a great skill to practice. I made the set shown above on Shutterfly with pictures of our extended family. We have a large extended family, and none of them live close to us. This is a great way for Buddy to learn everyone’s names. He loves seeing everyone’s pictures and pictures of himself with them. When we finish each game, we count our matches and compare to see which person won.

Candy Land

Skills Needed: Color recognition

Skills Practiced: Fine motor skills, colors

Candy Land is another classic game for preschoolers. Small characters travel a multicolored path towards the Candy Castle. Players draw a color card to figure out where to go on the path. Specially themed candy cards send players forward or back to specific points on the board. Whoever reaches the castle first wins. Picking one card off the top of the deck and moving the figure on the path are both great ways to practice fine motor skills.

Our family loves playing all of these games, and I ‘m sure your family will too. Have I missed any great toddler or preschool games? Please leave your ideas in the comment section.