15 BOARD GAMES FOR 3 YEAR OLDS THAT ARE FUN AND EDUCATIONAL

Are you in search of some entertaining and educational board games that will have your little ones giggling, learning, and begging for more? Board games are not just cardboard and pieces; they’re a passport to fun-filled and educational adventures! As the parents, aunts, uncles, and caregivers of 3 year olds, we know that keeping these pint-sized explorers entertained and engaged can be quite a feat. But fear not! Here are the best board games for 3 year olds!

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1. THE LADYBUG GAME

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The Ladybug Game is a perfect board game for 3 year olds due to its simplicity and educational value. The game introduces young children to basic math concepts in a fun and engaging way! Additionally, The Lady Bug Game fosters essential early skills like taking turns, following rules, and making decisions. This game was actually invented by a first grader, so it is made for kids by a kid! The colorful board and adorable ladybug pieces make it visually appealing, and the cooperative nature of the game encourages social interaction and teamwork, making it an ideal choice for children aged three years and older.

2. MONKEY AROUND

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Monkey Around is an active board game that is perfect for energetic 3 year olds. The game promotes physical activity, creativity, and social interaction. It’s a fun way to get young children moving and engaged in cooperative play. 

This game is super simple and easy to play with a young kid. It includes a deck of activity cards that encourage kids to perform various physical tasks, such as hopping like a bunny, holding hands and spinning, or waddling like a penguin. These activities help develop motor skills and keep little ones active. The cooperative nature of the Monkey Around develops teamwork skills and is a perfect developmental game for 3 year olds.

3. EYE FOUND IT: BUSY TOWN

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Looking for a more low-key and less active board game to play with your young kid? Eye Found It: Busy Town is a perfect choice because it combines the joy of exploration with critical observational skills. This game features a long game board with a bustling town filled with colorful illustrations. This immersive game is a great way to get your 3 year old involved in an engaging and educational activity. All players will work together to find specific items on the giant game board. So, your little tyke will learn teamwork and cooperation through this exciting game. Additionally, Eye Found It: Busy Town helps kids with visual perception, attention to detail, and vocabulary as kids search for objects and describe what they see. 

4. CHUTES AND LADDERS: DISNEY PRINCESS EDITION

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Combining the classic Chutes and Ladders and iconic Disney princesses, Chutes and Ladders: Disney Princess Edition is one of the best games for 3 year olds. This game is perfect for young children because it introduces them to counting, number recognition, and taking turns in a familiar and beloved Disney setting. Players will navigate the game board with a spinner, climbing ladders and sliding down chutes while encountering their favorite Disney Princesses along the way! The game provides an interactive and enjoyable experience for preschoolers, making it for any young kid who loves Disney Princesses.

Looking for more Disney games? Check out our ultimate list of Disney-themed board games.

5. PETE THE CAT: MISSING CUPCAKES

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Pete the Cat: Missing Cupcakes is an enjoyable kids game, especially if your little tyke is a fan of the beloved children’s book character Pete the Cat. I mean… who isn’t? This game is great for young children because it combines storytelling with a simple board game format. Players join Pete the Cat on an adventure to find his missing cupcakes while singing songs, acting out physical activities, and identifying animals, foods, and words. The game involves spinning a spinner and moving colorful playing pieces around the board to collect cupcakes. To play Pete the Cat Missing Cupcakes, you’ll need a combination of luck, cooperation, and memory, so it has excellent replay value!

6. FIRST ORCHARD

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One of the best board games to introduce to your toddler is First Orchard by HABA. HABA is a popular games company renowned for creating simple kid’s games with educational benefits. This cooperative game is perfect for young children as it fosters teamwork, color recognition, and basic counting skills. The game is set in an orchard with multi-colored and easy-to-grasp fruit pieces. Players take turns rolling a color-coded die and picking a fruit of the corresponding color to add to a shared basket. The goal is to collect all the fruit before the raven reaches the orchard!

7. HOOT OWL HOOT!

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If you want a board game for your 3 year old that encourages cooperative play, basic color recognition, and even some strategic thinking, Hoot Owl Hoot! is an excellent pick! This game is officially rated for kids 4 and up, so this is a good game for a more advanced 3 year old. In this game, players work together to help the owls return to their nest before sunrise. The game board features a path of colored spaces, and players move owls along the path by drawing color cards. And if you draw a sun card, you’re a step closer to daylight! Hoot Owl Hoot! also introduces the concept of turn-taking, which is important for early social development. Note that although this game is rated for children aged 4 to 8, this is definitely something your 3 year old can join in on!

8. CANDYLAND

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Candyland is an excellent choice for young children because of its simplicity and colorful, enticing design. The game is easy to play, involving a colorful game board with a winding path of sweets and candy-themed characters. Kids draw colored cards to advance along the path, matching the colors to move their pieces. As the players advance, they’ll find all sorts of yummy surprises in a race to King Kandy’s castle! Candyland is perfect for teaching colors, taking turns, and basic counting, making it an educational and fun experience for toddlers and preschoolers.

9. DON’T SPILL THE BEANS

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Looking for a fun, educational, and active game for your kid? Check out Don’t Spill the Beans! It’s perfect for young children as it helps with hand-eye coordination and counting abilities. This game is easy to understand but sufficiently challenging to master: All players need to do is take turns placing one bean at a time into a pot-shaped container. The catch? Don’t let the container tip over! The first player to get rid of all their beans wins the game! This simple yet engaging gameplay is a great way for kids to learn balance and counting in a hands-on and entertaining way.

10. YETI IN MY SPAGHETTI

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A fun and appropriate board game for 3 year olds, Yeti in My Spaghetti can help develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness. The game is played by arranging plastic noodles on top of a bowl, and a toy yeti figure is placed on the noodles. What fun! Then, players take turns removing one noodle at a time, trying to keep the yeti from falling into the bowl. The first person to make the Yeti drop is the loser. Yet in My Spaghetti is not only a top-pick for kids, but it’s also an award-winning game – and it’s easy to see why!

11. GUESS IN 10 JUNIOR

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Guess in 10 is a popular guessing game that the whole family can get involved in! The junior edition is perfect for kids 3 years and older. While this board game might seem simple, it promotes critical thinking, vocabulary, and deductive reasoning! To play this game, simply pick a card. Then, the other player(s) can ask up to 10 yes-or-no questions to guess the item on the card. This game not only enhances cognitive skills but also encourages social interaction. The best part about Guess in 10 Junior is that you can pick a specific board game that best aligns with your 3 year old’s interests. From animals and dinosaurs to sports and countries, there are enough boards to keep your toddler occupied with enough new words to keep them entertained and stimulated!

12. BARREL OF MONKEYS

An absolute classic, Barrel of Monkeys is a fun and simple game that is sure to keep your toddler occupied! The game consists of a barrel filled with colorful plastic monkeys that can be interlinked. This will help your kid with their fine motor skills and encourage creativity. To play, children take one monkey from the pile and attempt to link it with others, forming a long chain. The goal? Create the longest chain possible. That’s it! Plus, since Barrel of Monkeys can be played alone or with friends, this is the perfect game to play at home and at gatherings.

13. COUNT YOUR CHICKENS

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Count Your Chickens is a wonderful board game designed for younger who love animals. This simple interactive game will have your toddler recognizing numbers and counting at a basic level while also promoting teamwork and social skills. The objective of this game? Help Mother Hen gather her chicks and bring them back to the coop! This is a cooperative board game for 3 year olds, so children can work together to reach a common goal, a valuable concept for young kids to learn. To play, players spin the spinner and move Mother Hen around the board to collect chicks, counting as they go.

14. DON’T BREAK THE ICE

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Don’t Break the Ice is an interactive game that you can play with your 3 year old. It helps improve fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and strategic thinking. It’s a simple yet engaging game that will certainly keep your little ones entertained while also teaching them important milestone skills. Playing is easy – simply set up a grid of plastic ice blocks and put the Phillip the Penguin figure on the top! Then, the players take turns removing one ice block at a time, trying not to let Phillip the Penguin fall through. The first person to make the penguin fall loses!

15. SHOPPING LIST

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  • Fun memory shopping game for 2 - 4 players
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Shopping List is a super simple board game that even 3 year olds can play! Like all the games on this list, this game offers both entertainment and educational value. It is perfect for young children because it helps develop key skills such as memory, matching, and observational abilities. Your child’s vocabulary will grow with the help of this game while also fostering healthy social interaction. Two birds with one stone! To play, each child selects a shopping cart and collects item cards that match their shopping list. The young ones will take turns flipping over cards and matching them with their list. The first to complete their shopping list wins, making it an engaging way for young kids to learn through a fun game.

HOW TO CHOOSE BOARD GAMES FOR 3 YEAR OLDS

When it comes to selecting board games for 3 year olds, the process should be just as much fun as the games themselves. These early years are a crucial time for development, and the right board game can play a pivotal role in nurturing those essential skills while ensuring a whole heap of fun! To choose the right board games for your 3 year old, consider the following factors:

  • Age-appropriate: Start by looking for games explicitly designed for 3 year olds or younger. Most board games will have a recommended age range posted on the box, which is a great reference point. That said, if you have a precocious child, you could even get away with games designed for 4 year olds!
  • Educational: Many board games for toddlers incorporate counting, color recognition, shape matching, and fine motor skills development into the gameplay. These board games are a great way to have fun while learning something new.
  • Social interaction: Cooperative games, where players work together towards a common goal, can be a great choice for fostering teamwork and communication. These social skills can go a long way to be learned early in life.
  • Replay value: Consider games that can be played multiple times without becoming boring. This is pretty easy at this age, as many younger kids love repetition! 
  • Engaging: Whether it’s animals, vehicles, or favorite characters, a game with a captivating theme is more likely to hold their attention. A bright and colorful board game can go a long way as well.
  • Safety: Of course, game pieces should be free from small parts that could be a choking hazard and made from non-toxic materials.
  • Durability: Toddlers can be quite enthusiastic, so your game pieces might suffer some unavoidable wear and tear. So, look for games made from sturdy materials that can withstand a toddler’s grippy hands!
  • Reviews: Don’t hesitate to seek advice from other parents, caregivers, or online reviews to discover which board games have been hits with other 3 year olds.
  • Your child’s interests: Do they like animals, space, princesses, or shapes? Choosing a game that aligns with their current interests can make the board game even more fun.

Do you want some fun outdoor game recommendations to play with your kid? Check out our top list of lawn games!

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