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  • Writer's pictureTy Bailey

8 Games That Are Toddler-Friendly

Sometimes it's hard to keep toddlers entertained. Here are a few games that are guaranteed to be simple and fun for little ones.

Older kids may have the patience and desire to play more elaborate games like chess, Monopoly, and Life. However, little ones are desperate to play but bound to get restless, irritated, and destructive.


Here are the best games we've found for our toddler (that are also previous-toddler-approved by the pre-teen).


*None of the included product links are sponsored whatsoever. These are simply my own personal recommendations from one tired mama to all of the other exhausted child-wranglers out there.


Memory Match Games

Card matching games are available pretty much anywhere. We have a Fisher-Price set as well as a few of the other common cardboard square sets: Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, and Frozen.


These are great for single-player play by letting your toddler simply match a few pairs of the cards up at a time (we usually stick to batches of 8-12 cards per round) or even making a competition out of it with older siblings.


Our 10-year-old loves to go head-to-head against her little sister on seeing who can match the most cards before the game is through, so this is definitely a winner in our household.


Cornhole/Bean Bag Toss

It might take up a bit of space to have a cornhole or bean bag toss game in your home (although many also come apart and can be stored), but they're tons of fun and great for getting on your feet to play whether you're playing it indoors or outside. (We keep ours indoors so it stays in great shape!)


Any kind of bean bag toss is a game little ones can begin practicing to get better with their coordination and aim. If they don't explode over "losing" against overly competitive siblings, they're able to consistently practice at throwing, learning where the bean bags will land, and mentally figuring out what changes to make to help them land the bean bags into one of the holes.


Cornhole and bean bag toss are also great for learning to take turns during playing games with other people, so that's a huge plus too.


Twister

There may be some size limitations depending on how tall or long-limbed your toddler is, but Twister can be a total blast. I was surprised our little one found it so entertaining at her age, but hallelujah for another fun option for playtime!


Everyone loves spinning the spinner, but if you can get your child to be the actual player instead of spinning the arrow a thousand times, Twister is a super fun way to practice body part names, colors, and even learning left and right. Not to mention, it also helps them learn (albeit the hard way) about balancing their bodies when moving in weird directions.


It may get a bit dysfunctional at times due to toddlers attempting acrobatics along with educational concepts at the same time, but it's certainly a fun way to pass the time, get in some exercise, and practice some pre-K knowledge for a bit.


Candy Land

The king of all board games for children: Candy Land. This seems to be nearly everyone's first true board game, and if you've ever played it, you know why. It's simple, fun, colorful, easy to learn, and easy to play.


There are no sad times with Candy Land. Even toddlers can quickly grasp the concept of drawing a card (and practicing colors!) and moving their game piece the indicated number of spaces (all while working on those counting skills!).


Patience is a slowly learned toddler skill, but Candy Land is so appealing that they will often 'deal with' the concept of taking turns in order to just keep on playing. It's a great first step in the right direction of eventually having a tiny human that's easily able to play any board game of your choice with you, and the graphics and characters are fun to look at too.


Bingo (multiple versions)

The little one's third birthday has finally passed, and she is finally singing "Bingo"! Even better, she's also playing Bingo, and it's so low effort and fun on the parent side of gameplay.


If you want to help your toddler practice listening and paying attention, this is a great way to sneakily do so. Standard Bingo, especially for the version we have, involves rolling a couple of dice, calling out the farm animals, and letting your little one place a colorful circle over each animal called out. Once you've got three in a row, BINGO!


We also found a numerical version of Bingo that comes with a large die (perfect for little hands) with a Dalmatian character whose spots you need to count and "mark off" on your Bingo board to try to get three across. It's the same concept as the farm animal version, but it uses Dalmatian spots instead. This is great for helping our toddler practice counting and getting quicker at recognizing quantities. (And we have the added bonus of the Dalmatian character looking exactly like our dog, too!)


Hi-Ho Cherry-O!

I somehow never played this game in my entire 30+ years of life before now, but I saw it discounted recently and picked it up with wondrous results.


This game is absolutely perfect for toddlers.


Want to practice counting? Got it. Does your toddler need to practice taking turns? Done. Got a toddler that likes being excessively "hands-on"? Perfect. Do they need some help learning basic 'playing a game' rules? You're now officially covered.


Our 3-year-old may be a bit huffy and impatient at times, but Hi-Ho Cherry-O! has been great for helping her to understand that the different images on the spinner piece all mean different things and that this is a common component of games that has to be respected for proper gameplay (or else the game will be put away for the day).


We played an "easy" version that involved some parental spinner manipulation until she got the hang of it, but now that we play it properly, she's even learning how to "deal with disappointment" when the spinner's arrow lands on the 'empty all your cherries back onto the tree' basket space. And trust me, that basket absolutely sucks.


Pop-Up Pirate

Pop-Up Pirate is a less brainy game and one that is far more about chance, suspense, and having numerous opportunities to shriek in surprise.


This is a great starter game for little ones, especially those who may struggle with more advanced concepts present in the other games. Although Pop-Up Pirate literally only involves shoving colorful swords into a barrel until the pirate comes launching out the top, it still provides ample opportunities for learning about taking turns and practicing colors while playing.


This is a great low-effort game option for tired parents who may not have the energy nor brain cells left at the end of the day to orchestrate card or board games with tiny tyrants.

 

If you have any other great game suggestions that work well for toddler-age kids, drop us a comment or send us a message. We'd love to hear about it!

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