Best Board Games for Toddlers to Promote Brain Development
**PLEASE CHECK ALL AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH GAME BEFORE ALLOWING YOUR CHILD TO PLAY THE BEST BOARD GAMES FOR TODDLERS LISTED. SOME GAMES DO HAVE SMALL PIECES THAT COULD CAUSE CHOKING.
Toddlers are a never-ending sprout of development. Their brains are growing, taking shape, and making them into who they’ll become with every second of the day. One of the best things you can do to maximize this time of rapid growth is to use the best board games for toddlers to promote brain development and establish tethered family bonds!
The most significant return on investment that I have seen with my four children when playing board games is to play a game that keeps them doing instead of listening or looking only. As a result, the majority of the games you’ll find in my list focus heavily on participation and parent-child interaction.
A game is never just a game. It has value, and if you choose the right one, it greatly benefits your child!
*Authors note: You’ll notice I did not put any prices with the games. They change quite often and can easily be found by clicking the product links provided. To the best of my knowledge, all of the best board games for toddlers listed are under $20.
this blog occasionally uses affiliate links and I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking on my links, at no extra cost to you. read the full disclosure here
Top 10 List of the Best Board Games for Toddlers
#1. Pop the Pig!
I love this game. When it first came out, my oldest was just one year old. I saw it’s potential and snatched it up right away.
To play this game, roll the dice to see what color hamburger to put in the pig’s mouth. Select the hamburger. Flip it over to see “your number.” Place the hamburger in the pig’s mouth and push down on the pig’s head the number of times stated on the underside of the hamburger. The pig’s belly grows and grows until it pops.
Why I love this best board game for toddlers:
This game states that it is for ages 4 and up. Cognitively, I believe this game can be enjoyed by children as young as 12-18 months. It is easy to walk your child through choosing a hamburger and counting the number of compression with her. The counting while performing the act of pushing helps promote brain pathway development and enhances counting skills!
**The hamburgers in this game are about the size of half a thumb. If your child regularly puts things in his mouth, he may not be ready for this game. Official game states that it is intended for ages 4 and up. Adult supervision required.
Purchase Pop the Pig HERE
It doesn’t get much better than Jenga for a toddler board game. Though not technically on a board, this game offers a lot of fun and strengthens processing skills.
Jenga is played by building a tower of tightly stacked blocks, which are then removed one by one in hopes of not toppling over the stack.
Parents can teach toddlers how to look for loose blocks and how to remove them carefully. This is a great gentleness exercise.
I used this with one of my children who needed a bit of help with physical-sensory. It helped her better understand the level of intensity she was using.
As an added benefit Jengas can be used to simply build, which promotes creativity and open play.
*No supervision required for Jenga.
Purchase Jenga HERE
Girlfriend… This. Right. Here. I played so much Memory with my children. (Still do.) I don’t think the hours can be counted.
We love Memory!
I begin playing Memory with my children at roughly 24 months. By the time each of my children was 3-years-old, they could beat me at this game every time!
Memory is played by flipping over two face-down cards at a time to try and score a matching pair. Remember where the previous flipped cards were, and you’re sure to win.
There is nothing quite as powerful for a child as memorizing. Poem and scripture memorization, memorizing songs, and games such as matching bring about more brain development than I can articulate.
Play Memory with your toddler and play it a lot!
*No supervision required for Memory.
You can purchase the original Memory game HERE, or shop for various versions of your child’s favorite character HERE.
#4. Bee Hive Matching Game
This game is another excellent example of a beneficial memory exercise and can be played by the youngest of toddlers.
To play this game, simply instruct your child to put the colored bees in the color matching hive. Take turns or let your child place them all.
This game enforces color learning and fine motor skills as the child uses tweezers to place the bees.
Added benefits of this game are simply the time you will be spending with your little one!
*Supervision may be required as the size of the bees may be too small for some children to play with alone safely.
Purchase the Bee Hive Matching Game HERE.
#5. Little Treasure Matching Letter Game
Little Treasure Matching Letter Game grows with your child. This game is a fantastic option to see real progress and learning.
You play by choosing a card, placing it in the cardholder, then selecting the corresponding letters to spell the word on the card shown.
For very young children, you can allow them to see the letters and simply match them up. This will allow the child to memorize the words.
Once words are learned thoroughly, you can then cover the word, leaving only the image exposed and instruct your child to play by gathering the correct letters from memory.
I would HIGHLY recommend this game as a part of progressive learning throughout early childhood.
*Adult supervision required.
Purchase the Little Treasure Matching Letter Game HERE.
#6. Think Fun Move and Groove Dance Game
Any game that allows a toddler to move a lot is a winner in my book!
Think Fun Move and Groove Dance Game is simple for toddlers to play. Your child rolls the large soft die, chooses a card that matches the color shown on the die, then performs the action shown on the card.
This game is great for introducing your child to the concept of games and competition.
Get older kids engaged by allowing them to demonstrate correct moves when appropriate. Doing so promotes sibling bonds and family teamwork.
This game will keep toddlers engaged by allowing them to move and interact with their whole body.
*No adult supervision required.
Purchase the Think Fun Move and Groove Dance Game HERE
#7. Greedy Granny
This game made my list for its similarity to Pop the Pig.
To play Greedy Granny, spin to determine whether you take a snack from Granny’s tray or put one back as well as how many times to push the button.
Once the button has been pushed an unknown number of times, Granny will “POP” up.
This game requires help from an adult for younger players, however, the benefit of learning how to go back and forth, as well as counting with compression, makes it worth the effort!
My children love to play this game together.
*Adult supervision required.
Purchase Greedy Granny HERE
#8. Alphabet Slap Jack
One of my favorite things about Alphabet Slap Jack is that these cards can be used for Slap Jack and so much more.
Unlike a regular deck of cards, the letters on this deck are easy to see, vibrant, and have an accompanying picture for recognition.
Alphabet Slap Jack, Go Fish, and other games can be played with this deck of cards to teach letter recognition, hand-eye coordination, and more.
I really like card games for small children. Even if you don’t feel they fully understand the concept, they are learning a lot and growing while playing nonetheless.
While these cards can be used as flashcards, playing a game with them such as Alphabet Slap Jack or Go Fish will keep your toddler engaged longer and benefit your child and family greater.
*Adult supervision required for play but not for safety.
Purchase Alphabet Slap Jack HERE
#9. Chutes and Ladders
This classic game is a favorite in our home. All of my children ranging in age from 4-13 years, love to play it!
Chutes and Ladders is played by rolling the dice, moving your game piece around the board while trying to make it to the top.
But be careful. Land on a slide, and it’s back down the board you go.
This game is great for teaching counting. Help your child tap each square as he counts 1,2,3 to move around the board. Hearing the tap, saying the number, and moving his body; simultaneously builds brain pathways and improves counting ability.
One of the most fun elements of this game is that it can last quite a while. Players may find themselves sliding down the slide again and again.
My children often picked this game if they were trying to make game time last longer:)
*Adult supervision required for gameplay and safety.
Purchase Chutes and Ladders HERE
#10. Yeti in my Spaghetti.
Yeti in My Spaghetti is similar to Kerplunk but without the small marbles. While I do love Kerplunk, this version keeps small marbles out of the reach of toddlers.
To play Yeti in My Spaghetti, place the “spaghetti” in the game board, carefully stacking the Yeti on top. Remove spaghetti pieces, but don’t let the yeti fall!
Some children will find joy and fun in the Yeti falling! That’s alright! Roll with it! Whatever your child enjoys that keeps him engaged and playing something that requires fine motor skills is a winner for parenting and child development!
*Adult supervision required for play.
Purchase Yeti in My Spaghetti HERE
#11. Giggle Wiggle Game
I like the Giggle Wiggle Game for toddlers because it makes your child take her time.
This game is played by placing marbles on the bottom row of caterpillar feet, turning on the wriggly critter, and trying to move the marbles up to the top without them falling off.
Should the marble fall off, she must place it back on the bottom and start over.
This game also plays music to keep your child engaged and smiling.
*I hesitated to include this in my toddler’s list due to the marbles. However, with adult supervision, I believe it can be a beneficial game for older toddlers, so it made the cut. Adult supervision required.
Purchase the Giggle Wiggle Game HERE
#12. Candy Land
Candy Land is a true classic that has been around since 1949. It has stood the test of time for good reason.
This game contains a lot of fun and vibrant colors, pictures of tasty treats, and adorable characters.
Candy Land is beneficial for toddlers for its ability to grow counting skills and ease of use with pictures instead of words!
Our family has gone through more than 2 Candy Land board games and will continue to play it until there are grandkids to take over!
*Adult supervision required for play.
Purchase Candy Land HERE
My love of Headbandz ranks right up there with my love of apple pie!
This game is so much fun!
One of the most appealing things about this game is that it can be fun for the WHOLE family while still very much including and benefiting the toddler in your home!
Headbandz is played by placing a cardholder on your head, then placing a card image facing out, inside the holder.
The other players can see your image, though you cannot. The goal is to guess what your image is by asking questions.
You can take liberty with this game by making a rule that only yes and no questions can be asked or ask whatever you’d like!
Playing this game with toddlers can prove to be a fun challenge when it comes to keeping them from telling you what image is on your card, but that’s OK! It’s all part of the learning!
Encourage and teach him how to “Not Tell” but only answer your question, how to ask questions about his own image, and ultimately play in whatever way works for your family!
Headbandz is what we pull out every time nothing really sounds that appealing. It is always a winner!
*Adult supervision required for play
Purchase Headbandz HERE
#14. Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot
Hoot Owl Hoot is played by working together to get the owls back to their homes. Color cards are played to move the owls closer to home.
Players can strategize together to get all the owls home quicker and win as a team.
This game is another fun color matching game that will be a delight for the youngest of toddlers.
Continue to develop your child’s color recognition and spend the time bonding as you work together to problem-solve!
*No supervision required, however, togetherness is encouraged.
Purchase Hoot Owl Hoot HERE
#15. Peaceable Kingdom Acorn Soup
Acorn Soup is played by following a recipe on a toddler-friendly recipe card to create the squirrel’s supper!
This game will make precious memories with the youngest of toddlers as you spend time together, adding and mixing fun ingredients.
Benefits of this game include fine motor skills, learning to take turns, and following instructions.
A lot of liberty could be taken with this game. Follow the rules as loosely or closely as desired. Either way, you’re sure to speak love to your child with the quality time and provide valuable brain development in the process.
*Adult supervision required for play, however, I could easily see this becoming a game your child can play independently after playing it with mom a few times!
Purchase Acorn Soup HERE
The Best Board Games for Toddlers Do Big Things for Little Minds!
Here on MDP, I am passionate about investing as much time and energy as possible into proactive parenting.
The more effort you put into your child from the beginning, the more joyful, smoother, easier, and less stressful parenting will be during the later years!
Playing the best board games for toddlers with your child will help you train good and acceptable behavior, connect meaningfully with your child, and place value on family time!
This is no small step, but rather a highly beneficial and necessary aspect of effective parenting.
While all of the best board games for toddlers I’ve listed above are sure to bring about fun and laughter, it’s the time with you that your child needs most and will treasure dearly!
The memories you make and the bond you build are the real winners here!