The 7 Best Educational Board Games for Preschool

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The preschool years are such an important period of knowledge acquisition and mental development!  Kids are learning so much through play and that’s why you should incorporate educational board games for preschool into your daily routine.

1. Candy Land 

Candy Land is probably one of the most well-known educational board games for preschool. 

Why?  Because it’s been around for years and children don’t have to be able to read to play it.  

Purpose/Objective: Travel through Candy Land along the path of colored spaces, according to colored squares or picture cards drawn by the players. Be the first player to reach “Home Sweet Home” or the Candy Castle by landing on the last space or the multi-colored rainbow space at the end of the path.

In this game, preschoolers will learn colors and beginning number sense.  Because some cards contain one or two colors, kids will learn the concept of matching colors as well as the number of colors on the card.

Skills Acquired:

  • Color recognition
  • Beginning number sense
  • Counting
  • Image Recognition
  • Matching

And those of us who played this game as kids have enjoyed revisiting childhood by playing it with our own children. (Honestly, this game has been a favorite form entire family, including my sons and husband.) You can find this Candy Land game here.

2. Concentration (aka Memory) 

Concentration (or Memory) offers preschool-aged kids the opportunity to group and match things.  What better way to improve those skills?  It’s also a wonderful game to teach short-term memorization as well as observational skills.

Purpose/Objective: Taking turns, each player flips over two cards hoping to find a matching set. If the two are a match, the child keeps the cards. If not matching, the child turns the cards back over, and play continues. The goal is to obtain the most matching sets once all cards are collected.

Skills Acquired:

  • Observation Skills
  • Matching
  • Turn-taking
  • Short-term Memorization
  • Patience

While there are lots of Memory games to choose from, you can actually create your own variation for FREE by drawing pictures on index cards. If you want to give your preschooler a fun activity that will encourage creative thinking, give him/her the opportunity to draw the pictures on the index cards.

Whether you create your own version or purchase a Memory game, your preschooler will love it! You can find this Concentration (Memory) game here.

3. Let’s Go Fishin’

This fishing game is one of the most fun (and aggravating) games in the world!  

Purpose/Objective: This game is a bit different from the other educational board games for preschool because players do NOT have to take turns.  Using only a plastic fishing pole, players attempt to catch as many fish as they can.  But the tricky part about this game is that the fish are constantly rotating around in a circle while opening and closing their mouths. 

The game is over after all of the fish have been “caught,” and the player with the most fish is declared the winner.

Skills Acquired:

  • Persistence
  • Tracking
  • Problem Solving
  • Hand-Eye Coordination

For younger preschoolers who don’t have well-developed hand-eye coordination yet, allow them to hold the “catching” end of the fishing pole.  This will give them a little more control over the fish they are tracking and attempting to catch.

Then as soon as the fish’s mouth opens, they can cram it down into the fish’s mouth.

While some purists might consider this “cheating,” I think of it as a modification that levels the playing field for all players.  (It also is an opportunity to problem-solve!) You can find this fishing game here.

4. The Ladybug Game

This game was actually created by a first grader, and now it’s a bestseller on Amazon!  

Purpose/Objective:  As ladybugs, players attempt to get back to their home in the rose garden.  Throughout the game, players collect aphids, feed ants, and avoid the praying mantis in an effort to be the first ladybug to reach home!

Skills Acquired:

  • One to One Correspondence
  • Counting Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Perseverance

The Ladybug Game is an excellent game to practice one to one correspondence and counting skills because players count the number of aphids they have (and need) as well as the number of spaces they need to move during each turn.

All of the cards have visual representations on them, which means that reading is not required.  And that’s what makes this one of the best educational board games for preschool!  You can find The Ladybug Game here.

5. Go Fish

While this game is traditionally a card game and not a board game, I included “Go Fish” in this list of educational board games for preschool because it’s so versatile.  It is the perfect way to introduce your preschooler to card games while offering the flexibility to play Concentration (Memory) matching with the same game pieces.

Purpose/Objective:  In this basic card game, players ask opponents for specific cards in an attempt to gather matches and be the first to lay down all of the cards in their hand.

Skills Acquired:

  • One to One Correspondence
  • Image Recognition
  • Same/Different
  • Questioning

Honestly, this game is fun regardless of your age, but it’s certainly one of the best educational games for preschoolers. 

While you can use any set of cards that you have, it’s best to get a set of actual “Go Fish” cards because these cards are simple in design and help kids focus on the specific picture they are looking to match.  You can find this “Go Fish” game here.

6. Tic Tac Toe

Tic Tac Toe is another oldie, but goodie.  It can be played anywhere, anytime.  If you have a piece of paper and a pen, you’re equipped to play.

Purpose/Objective: This two player game begins with players choosing either Xs or Os. Then alienating turns, players attempt to be the first with 3 of the same shapes in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.  

Skills Acquired:

  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Visual Skills

When you are introducing this game, it is better to use the traditional Xs and Os.  But, as your preschooler becomes more proficient, you can use different shapes to give them opportunities to draw and recognize various images. You can find this Tic Tac Toe game here.

7. Jenga

Jenga is not a game that you typically find in a list of educational board games for preschool because it requires an extensive amount of hand-eye coordination.  But with some simple modifications, it’s perfect for preschoolers.

Purpose/Objective: This game requires players to carefully remove wooden pieces from within a structure and then stack those pieces on top of the same structure.  Players take turns removing and stacking the wooden blocks until the structure falls.

Skills Acquired:

  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Large/Fine Motor Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Persistence

To modify this game, stack the blocks in the same “3 block” pattern as traditional Jenga, but only use half of the blocks provided.  This makes the structure more stable for preschoolers who are still improving their hand-eye coordination.  

Normally, the structure sits about 12-18 inches high, but for preschoolers it would stand about 6 inches high.  Thus giving preschoolers an opportunity to be successful without having mastered hand-eye coordination.  You can find this Jenga game here.

Kids playing one of the best educational board games for preschool.

Out of all educational board games for preschool, these are the seven best. They each address a variety of skills that are necessary for knowledge and skill development in a way that makes learning fun!