Episode 338 – Top 10 Games for 3 Year Olds

Episode 338: Top Ten Games for 3 Year Olds
Episode 338: Top Ten Games for 3 Year Olds

Our first installment of a new series – top ten lists grouped by age. This week: our top picks for 3 year olds!

(Don’t care about the podcast? Here’s the Top Ten list with pictures and links.)

338 Fact

Acadia National Park is a premier bird watching location with 338 recorded species of birds.

Let’s turn off more lights at night (especially along the coastline) to be kind to the birds.

Sponsor Message

Another listener question this week, is it always better to buy a house than rent?

The short answer is “it depends”. Owning a home isn’t for everyone, but if you want help talking through whether it makes sense for you, set up a free phone call by going to FirstMoveFinancial.com/FamilyGamers today.

What We’ve Been Playing

KaPOW! (Wise Wizard Games)
Pirate Blast! (review included below)
Unmatched: Houdini vs. The Genie (our review)
Oh My Brain (25th Century Games)

Welcome new members

We have five new members to welcome this week. Stop in and say hi!

We also share Stefán’s personal “For Science” from the community chat – a durian fruit drink.

Bring a monkey to a cannon battle! Pirate Blast! Battle for Monkey Island

SNAP Review – Pirate Blast! Battle for Monkey Island

We review a silly card game for families. We think this is best for ages 6-10, but anyone can enjoy the luck and silliness.

You really want to watch the video for this one!

Top Games for 3 Year Olds

What, you mean our yearly gift guide wasn’t enough? ;) For this youngest age group, Anitra has talked about this before, in Why I Hate Candy Land

(What to look for. What can a 3-year-old reasonably be expected to handle in a game?) (Do we talk about this now or afterwards?) – Pattern matching, simple dexterity, NO READING but you would be surprised what children can remember!

Top Ten “Little Kid” Games We Recommend for 3 Year Olds:

1. Roll & Play (several variations, but our favorite is from Thinkfun)
2. My Very First Games: Rhino Hero Junior (our review)
3. My Very First Games: Animal Upon Animal Junior (our review)
4. Spot It
5. Memory matching games. Our kid tester loved Smoosh and Seek Treehouse.
6. Don’t Break the Ice (or knockoffs like Protect the Penguin) – we think it’s worth it to put up with the noise of hammer-on-plastic and needing an adult to set up. Andrew loves how games like Hammer Time build on this concept.
7. Suspend Jr. – we’ve been playing this since our youngest child was 3 years old, and he took to it right away.
8. Dragomino – match up the tiles, get dragon eggs. Similar to Kingdomino, but with a lot of luck added to level the playing field.
9. Dragon’s Breath – ultimately this is a dexterity game, and the rules specify how to make it more luck-based with younger children. (When we first tried it, Elliot was 5, and it gets better as kids get older.)
10. Turtle Splash – this combination of memory and dexterity is another game that encourages adjusting the difficulty across ages, and gets even better as kids get older.

Honorable mentions:

Go Away Monster (no longer in print)
Hisss (no longer in print)
Zitternix (no longer in print)

Family Games You Might Not Expect a 3-Year-Old to Play:

Zombie Dice – it’s a very simple press your luck game. Our kids all played this at ages 2-3.

Strike – again, simple dice-rolling and press your luck.

Kingdomino – we handicap this when playing with very young children; they don’t have to follow the 5×5 restriction.

Go Nuts for Donuts – Elliot, our youngest, learned to play this at age 3½. The excellent graphic design made it so that a non-reading kid could still play in an enjoyable way.

Don’t forget: Playing games with kids is about having fun!

From the community:

We keep hearing great things about these games, but we have never played them:

Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It (semi-cooperative seek-and-find game)
Hoot Owl Hoot
My First Orchard

We also took a poll in our Facebook community.

Of the 26 games that ended up in the poll, the biggest winners were My First Animal Upon Animal, Go Away Monster, Don’t Break the Ice, My First Orchard, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Dragon’s Breath, and Hoot Owl Hoot.

Alex wrote in to suggest 3 games that ALL of his grandchildren like to play, even playing it together at ages 3, 5, and 9: Roll & Play, Cranium Cariboo, and Loopin’ Louie.

Laura told us about rule-shifting to make Go Away Monster more interesting as an adult.

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Or, for the most direct method, email us! andrew@thefamilygamers.com and anitra@thefamilygamers.com.

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