The best way to connect with a three year old is by playing with them. Even the most seasoned preschool teacher or parent can get tired of repeatedly playing pretend ( usually the same scenario). When that happens, a great way to play, especially in the cold months when we are inside most, is with games. These are my favorite and, in my opinion, the best games for 3-year-olds. Some of these preschool games are store-bought, and some are homemade games for 3-year-olds. Find the best preschool games right here.
What Are The Best Games For 3-Year-Olds?
Great question. The best games for preschoolers are always ones that engage them and help them build vital skills, including fine motor and counting, and social-emotional skills like taking turns and dealing with frustration and disappointment. Check out my picks of the best preschool games for 3 year olds below.
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This is probably number one on my list of games for 3-year-olds because it taps into their creativity and problem-solving. Oh, and if you are worried about using little Lego, no worries, substitute Duplo and you are good to go!
Most 3-year-olds aren’t reading, and we shouldn’t be pushing them before they are ready, BUT rhyming is a skill that 3-year-olds can have fun with, and this free printable board game is perfect for families. You’ll need one reader, but little ones can play without being able to.
3. Candy Land
This is the perfect preschool game. It teaches color recognition, but my favorite thing about it is that it helps teach children that there are setbacks and the answer isn’t to give up, it’s to keep going! Games like this are a great way for young children to practice losing. It takes time to learn how to be a gracious loser and that’s one of the benefits of games for 3-year-olds.
4. Pop The Pig
This game is one of our favorites because it’s exciting, it requires children to recognize numbers and then act on them with counting, and you can adapt it for older kids ( see how we did here). This game isn’t just a great game on a list of games for 3-year-olds, it will grow with your kids and be used for years to come.
These games take a little bit to put together, but they are probably the most important games for 3-year-olds you’ll find on this list because they focus on social-emotional learning. Children need to have a chance to practice these skills, and these games help them do just that!
6. Roll A Shape
This free printable game is perfect for waits at restaurants, free choice at preschool, etc… because your child/ students won’t need help playing once they know the basics. Foster that independence with this great game.
7. Sidewalk Chalk Literacy Games
These games are not just for 3 year olds but what I love about them is they get your children learning and MOVING outside!
This game is a baking game where players are trying to get the ingredients required for making a super cool cupcake. this game doesn’t require players to be able to read, it is easy to adapt when children decide to get creative and think outside the box, and the pieces are sturdy! The box says ages 5+, but my daughter played this easily at 3.
I include these roll and cover games in many of my printable preschool curriculum units because they are perfect games for 3 year olds. They are simple first of all, they encourage perseverance, build subitizing and counting skills, and this one is FREE!
10. Don’t Slip Off The Snowflake
This game and its Halloween-inspired version have been huge hits around my home and classrooms for years and years. Kids love playing these games and I love seeing how they help develop their gross motor skills.
11. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game is always a hit in my classroom. Children love trying to get all their acorns and using the little squirrel tongs are a wonderful way to work on fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills. Please avoid this game if your 3 year olds are still mouthing objects, the little acorns are potential choking hazards.
12. Pete The Cat : I Love My Buttons Game is a wonderful shape game that teaches children to take turns, be patient, and some shape matching all with one of the most popular book characters of the last 20 years, Pete The Cat!
13. Honeybee Tree Game was one of my daughter’s favorite preschool games. The point of the game is to pull out the most leaves without allowing too many honeybees to fall. Children absolutely love the little honeybees, so you may find some in cubbies and pockets. The trouble is worth it, though as children have to strategize and work on so many skills as they play.
14. Friendship Game This is a simple game, it’s just memory but with their classmates’ names and faces! I hope this helps to build a more connected classroom community with a strong sense of belonging. It’s so easy to make. Click on the title and see how.
15. Feed The Koala Letter Game – I made this letter game for my class last year to help a few students really hammer down their letter recognition skills and it was a hit with everyone. OIt’s really a wonderful and simple game for 3 year olds.
Find more simple everyday activities for 3 year olds in my book Everyday Preschool. It’s packed with simple, developmentally appropriate learning activities you can do at home or at preschool.
Jeanette K says
These are great activities! Thanks!
Favorite game for a three year old “ Sneaky Snacky Squirrel.”