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We love games in our house. They are great at teaching logic and reasoning skills. They are brilliant at helping us teach E the social and communication skills that she needs. And most importantly they teach her that she cannot always win and that it is ok to lose from time to time. But what do you play with a 4 year old? Here are some perfect games for 4 year olds.
Perfect Games For 4 Year Olds
Unfortunately, at only 4 years old it is still too early for E to crack open the adult Cluedo. She loves drawing but I wouldn’t want to be on her Pictionary team. And I doubt that she’d be good at 80s Trivial Pursuit.
But there are still plenty of games that she has already been able to master. In fact, she will often go for these games now rather than some of her other toys. Which is fine by me, as playing games can often be a great learning tool. Here are some of her current favourites.
E has developed a real love of dice! And it is a great way of getting her counting. (When she isn’t watching “Numberblocks”)
Yes, board games may primarily be a game of chance but it is also quite exciting to see who will end up being the winner. E is also getting very good at making sure that Mummy and Daddy are fully aware if she is in the lead. At 4 it is best to stick to the simple games though, so some of our favourites are
- Snakes and ladders – which is as simple a board game as it gets.
- Frustration – there are lots of copycat versions of Frustration, which itself is modelled on Ludo. This Ryan version will probably appeal to a small child! Even better with this game the counters and dice fit closely to the board, making it less likely that all the pieces will be lost!
- Monopoly Junior. Even though this is aimed at age 5+, it is great for getting E to take turns and count money. Plus the game comes in so many varieties, from the basic edition to special editions with electronic banking or like this Incredibles set.Actually, one of E’s favourite board games has a non numerical dice. And it teaches about emotions. See our review of the Colour Monster Game.
Who doesn’t love an action game? Little ones love the excitement of waiting for the action to happen. Especially if that involves a mouth snapping shut, or a donkey throwing everything into the air. Plus, these games do teach hand eye coordination and fine motor functions.
- Buckaroo – even after 50 years, this really is still the ultimate action game. How many items can you place on the donkey before he bucks?
- Wally Washer – this is a more recent game, but one we love.
- Shark Bite / Chomping Shark – again, can you remove things from the shark’s mouth without him snapping?
- Pop up pirate – another golden oldie. Insert the swords, but don’t let the pirate POP!
- Crocodile Dentist – push each tooth, but don’t pick the wrong one, or the crocodile will bite!
- Kerplunk – and yet again another classic action game. But it has had an update, with a helter skelter marble run adding to the stem, and a golden ball that you really need to avoid.
- Giant Pass The Pigs – see our review of this giant version of the popular pig dice throwing game.
The best thing about card games is that they take up so little space. And they are incredibly portable, so are the best choices to pack when going on holiday. However it is so easy to lose a card with a four year old, so you have to be a bit strict about making sure the cards are counted back into the box and tidied away properly. This can be a task with a 4 year old!
These are our favourites
- Snap – you can use a special set of cards or even just a regular card deck for this game. Our games get pretty rowdy!
- Donkey – this old fashioned game of luck involves picking a card from your neighbour’s hand. The one who gives away all their cards first is the winner. The one with the donkey at the end loses!
- Go Fish – this is a matching and pairing game, played a little like the old game of Happy Families. Again there are lots of themed card sets out there, but again this can be played with a regular deck.
- Dobble – have you played this yet? It is a brilliant game, where you deal 2 cards and everyone has to spot the symbol common to both. Again, it is so easy to get the younger ones involved, and it teaches speedy observation skills. And once more it comes in many editions, including Harry Potter and Star Wars!
It can be a little tricky for a little one to hold the cards. One of the best things available is this card holder for little hands, it really helps E to spread and hold the cards.
Memory games are great for improving concentration and thinking. E is particularly good at recalling, and she loves these games!
Some of our favourites are
- Orchard Shopping List Game – you have to remember where the items on your shopping list are on the table, as each player turns over cards to find the items on their own list. You can also buy booster sets to add more to the game!
- Memory – this classic game from Ravenburger comes in all special editions, such as Frozen, Marvel, Gruffalo or even Harry Potter!
Again these are also compact so travel well. And one brilliant thing about dominoes is that they come in different styles.
- picture types which are great for toddlers.
- standard numbered variety which are great for learning numbers and
- also giant ones for playing outdoors when the weather gets better!
E’s particular favourite is a Hello Kitty set. And no matter whether the set has pictures or dots, dominoes is great for teaching children numbers, and introduces strategic play.
The most important thing about this list of perfect games for 4 year olds is that they are games that the whole family can play, so it is great way to involve everyone. It is lovely to all play together as a family, and using these games means that no-one gets left out. See some memories of traditional games here.
And see here why outdoor play is also so important.
Are any of these games your favourites? Have I missed a game that your family truly love? I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or contact me on social media.
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