Best Board Games For 3 Year Olds (With Reviews)

Board games are a fantastic way to spend quality time with the little ones in your life. We love that games bring people together, and as avid gamers we couldn’t wait to get our kids started. Not only that but they can learn so much through playing board games.

If you think your child may be too young for board games think again! Our best board games for 2 year old list has a game for tots as young as 18 months. Most games for young kids are fairly simple, which makes them great starter games. They are a great way to build language, fine motor skills, sportsmanship, and much more. 

Most importantly, they are fun! Your kids will love playing and exploring these games with you. We made sure that our list included games that are not only favorites of our kids, but ones we love playing with them!

Trying to find a new game for the tot on your list can be super overwhelming. There are so many options out there, old school (the ones you played as a kid), competitive, cooperative, with a board, without a board.... the list is endless. We did the research for you. These games have been tried and tested by our families and have made it to the top of our list. 



Best Board Games For Three Year Olds Comparison Table

(Click the thumbnail to jump down to the review)

Image

Game 

Players

Age

Time

Price

Our Rating

2-4

4+

15 min

$$

2-7

4+

5 min

$$

2-4

3+

15 min

$

2-4

3+

15 min

$

2-4

3-6

5-10

$

Hexagamers

Quick baby owls! The night is almost over, let's get you back to your nest before the sun rises!

First we have a game by Peaceable Kingdom, Hoot Owl Hoot is a cooperative board that provides a great introduction to board games with strategy involved. The object of the game is to get 3-6 owls (you can change the difficulty of the game, we recommend starting out with 3 owls) back to the nest before the daylight meter moves across the sky from the moon to the sun.

Each player receives 3 colored space cards which are placed face up in front of them on the table so that you can help each other figure out your best move. If you have a sun card you must play it and move the daylight marker up one space, your turn is then done and you draw another card. If you play a colored space card you get to move an owl to the next dot of that color on the board. This is where one of our favorite parts comes into play.

If you play a blue card and there is already an owl on the closest blue dot, you get to say “Hoot Hoot” and fly past them to the next blue dot. The amount of strategy that is introduced in this one rule is fantastic! We strongly suggest that you tie in the “Hoot Hoot” with this action since it helps to cement the idea of leapfrogging another player and will have kids excitedly looking for an opportunity to do so.

While the box does state ages 4 and up, our 3 year olds were able to understand the basic concepts of the game. Being that it is a coop game and the hands are face up we feel this game can be introduced to 3 year olds. It is especially great if they have older siblings who get bored with the more basic games. Older children will grasp more of the strategy element and have a lot of fun playing and helping the younger ones figure out their next move.

In the beginning our kids always wanted to move the owl that was closest to the nest and gradually they got used to the idea of figuring out which owl will get to move the furthest with each card. We would love to get to the level of also looking at the next player's hand to figure out if their move can create a leapfrog move for the next player. That concept is very advanced, making this the perfect game to grow with.

Our one gripe is that the cards can be awkward to shuffle because of their small square shape and our large adult hands, that's not enough to affect our review of the game though. As with Count Your Chickens, Peaceable Kingdom will ship you replacements for any lost pieces!

The ability to up the difficulty of the game and the depth of strategy makes this our favorite game to play with our kids. The board is beautiful, its 100% green and the play is endless! Be sure to add Hoot Owl Hoot to your collection!

Great for working on:

  • Taking Turns
  • Sportsmanship
  • Colors
  • Strategy
  • Concepts such as first, last, near, far, in front, behind, more and less
  • Counting
  • Teamwork

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

Match up the picture tiles coming out of the Zingo Zinger with the images on your board. Be the first to fill up all your squares and shout Zingo!

Zingo is exactly what it makes you think of, Bingo. It has a couple different rules but it's bingo at heart. Each player takes a ZIngo board, chooses either the green side or the red side and tries to match the pictures on the tiles coming out of the Zinger with the pictures on their board. Two tiles come out at once, they could be the same but are most often different. The first person to name what's on the tile that matches with their board gets it.

This is where speed comes into play and smaller players might get frustrated. For this, we love the green side, the shapes on the green board are less common on the other boards so they won't be battling for matches when they come up.

The Zinger itself is great, it's not gimmicky like one might think, and the kids love working it. Zingo exposes tots to many different pictures while making it fun. We love that your tot only needs to be able to match pictures to play, it does say ages 4+ on the box but with help its great for three year olds too.

It is versatile in that you could just lay out the tiles and some boards and let them match at their own pace, you can up the difficulty even further if you have an older sibling playing by giving them more than one board to fill, another option is to just use the tiles to make your own version of memory since there is more than one of most of them.

The object of the game is simple, the games are quick (about five minutes), it's versatile, and most importantly fun. There is a reason Zingo made our top board games for 3 year old list, and is one you definitely want to add to your toddlers collection!

​Great for working on:

  • Turn Taking
  • Sportsmanship
  • Image recognition
  • Memory
  • Matching
  • Vocabulary
  • Letters and site words

Be sure to check out Zingo Word Builder on our Best Board Games For 4 Year Olds Article (coming soon).

Hexagamers

Uh oh, Mama Hen is on her way back to the coop and all the baby chicks are out in the field. Can you help get all 40 baby chicks home before their Mama returns?

Count your chickens is a perfect game for introducing your youngsters to board games. The game is simple, you spin the spinner which has pictures of animals and a tractor on it, and move the Mama Hen forward to that picture on the board. As you go you count how many spaces you are moving and place that many chicks back into the coop. However, if you spin a fox you have to put one chick back in the field.

We have played this game many times, it helped our little ones to work on their counting while also learning to take turns and work towards an end goal. We love that it is a coop game! Teaching kids about winning and losing gracefully is very important to us, but we love that in this game we win and lose as a team.

One downside is that there is no strategy involved, this is also an upside though since it makes it a perfect starter game that doesn't require much in terms of skill. The other downside is that the little chicks are quite small and easy to lose. While we haven’t had this issue (ziplock bags for the win), others have noted that Peaceable Kingdom, the creators, will quickly ship you replacement pieces!

The games are quick, the cost is low, and your 3 year old will love counting their chickens!

Great for working on:

  • Counting
  • Turn Taking
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Animal Recognition and Sounds
  • Teamwork

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

Race your gingerbread man along the rainbow path to try to be the first to reach King Kandy's Castle!

Candy land is a classic game, one that we played and kids and couldn’t wait to get out kids started on. We would consider it to be a beginner game, since it doesn't involve any strategy and is relatively easy to learn/ teach.

Game play involves drawing a card (or spinning a spinner if you have a newer version) and moving forward to the next square of that color. If you draw a card with two squares, you get to move two of that color.

There are some cards that have a specific picture of a gumdrop, peppermint, etc. Drawing one of these cards means you either leap forward to that image on the board or fall back to it if you have already passed it. Sometimes there are some battles over these cards if they cause our little ones to move back. You could choose to remove these cards if you wanted since they aren't essential to game play.

Our kids love that Candy land is colorful, fun, and talks about candy. We love that it works on colors, math, sportsmanship, and turn taking. Our one complaint would be that some of the versions that have been released have not been the most durable and as everyone knows 3 year olds are not the most gentle of players.

Candy land falls on the low end of the price spectrum though so it is well worth it. This game will be a favorite for generations to come, which is why it had to make our best of list!

Great for working on:

  • ​Turn Taking
  • Sportsmanship
  • Colors
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Basic Counting

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

The cherries are ripe, it's time to pick them! Be the first to pick all the cherries off of your tree and win the game.

Hi Ho Cherry O is probably the simplest game on our list but surprisingly fun. The game comes with a spinner, 4 cherry trees each with 10 cherries, and 4 baskets. After spinning the spinner you either add or subtract cherries from your basket.

If you land on a 1, 2, 3 or 4 you get to add that many pieces of fruit. However if you land on the bird or dog, you will have to put 2 pieces back on your tree, and landing on the basket forces you to put all your cherries back onto the tree.

When introducing board games to kids you want to start simple and this is a great place to start. Kids will work on basic counting, colors and also their addition and subtraction skills. They aren't required to make any decisions so there is no strategy element.

We recommend you keep a close eye on the pieces for this one! The cherries are super small making them easy to lose and also choking hazards. While it can be annoying searching for a lost piece, the fine motor skill practice it provides is worth it! In fact that fine motor work is one of the reasons it made on this best board games for kids list.

One issue that we had when playing with our kids is the spots on the spinner that tell them to put cherries back, especially the dreaded basket. This can be hard for little ones that worked hard for those cherries, but we found that if we kept it fun and treated it like it wasn't a big deal, they came around to the idea….most of the time.

The opportunity Hi Ho Cherry O provides to help your child to manage setbacks is great. Kids can use their strategies of trying again beyond the board.

Included with the game is a way to play it cooperatively where everyone works together to empty the trees. The challenger in this version is a bird puzzle. Every time you spin the bird you put a piece of the puzzle together. If you get all the fruit off the trees before the puzzle is completed you all win. This version is a lot of fun to play as well. It reminds us a lot of the game Orchard which is also a lot of fun. The only differences being the element of losing fruit and the price tag.

 Although simple in design and play, Hi Ho Cherry O offers a lot of good learning opportunities that should not be overlooked when picking out your next game!

Great for working on:

  • Turn Taking
  • Sportsmanship
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Basic Counting
  • Colors

Conclusion

Well there you have it, our favorite board games for three year olds. These games have been tried, tested, and have stuck with our families over the years. They are great games for introducing kids to the world of board gaming and also great games to grow with. We hope you found a new game to bring to your family board game nights, or the perfect gift for the little one on your list. 

We would love to hear from you in the comments below. Let us know if we missed any of your favorites or other good games for little ones; or, if you are going to try any of our top games out. Don't forget to check out our list of the Best Board Games for 4 Year Olds as well (Coming soon)!

About the author

HexaGamers

We are the HexaGamers. Six good friends that love all things game related that gets us together to enjoy each other's company.

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