Board Games, Memory Games and More
2-year-olds have short attention spans, can’t be trusted with small parts, and don’t have the fine motor skills you’d expect to be required to play a board game.
However, there are some fun options available that make games a great gift choice for 2-year-olds.
They can help develop cognitive skills (memorization, matching, counting, etc.), social skills (taking turns, cooperating) and fine motor skills (rolling dice, moving pieces). Plus, as gifts, games can be a nice change of pace from the dolls, cars and stuffed animals that kids typically receive.
But most importantly, they’re fun. My 2-year-old asked to play some of these games over and over again.
Below I’ve listed a few games that make a good intro to the myriad board games that are geared toward the preschool crowd (over age 3).
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The Best Memory/Matching Game for 2-Year-Olds
My son got Seek-a-Boo for his second birthday.
I thought it might be too tough for him at the time, but he loved it and it actually kept him occupied longer than most activities. He just turned 3 and we still play it occasionally. He would demand to play it over and over (although I didn’t always enjoy the epic battles we had over cleaning it up).
Seek-a-Boo is nice because the cards are easy for little hands to pick up, and it keeps tots moving around and interested because the cards are spread all over the floor.
Seek-a-Boo is probably the only memory game your 2-year-old needs, but if you’re looking for something less expensive, and you don’t think your 2-year-old will destroy / chew on cardboard flash cards, the company eeBoo makes a lot of popular memory game sets. Check out The eeBoo Number Memory Set ($13) or these eeBoo Pre-School Picture Dominos ($13).
Note to parents: If you’re feeling creative, you can always play memory games with objects around the house instead of buying a game.
The Best “Board” Games for 2-Year-Olds
Most of the games geared for this age level aren’t competitive, and some even encourage cooperation.
My 2-year-old has had a lot of fun with this Roll and Play Board Game, which basically consists of rolling the die and then performing the action prompted on the card with the same color. Actions involve things like counting, making faces and identifying body parts, colors and emotions.
The toy company HABA makes several games just for the age 2 crowd. One of the most popular is called First Orchard. You take turns rolling the die and collecting non-swallowable-sized fruit before the raven reaches the orchard. From the product description: “This cooperative kids learning game is designed to foster social skills, develop color recognition skills, and teach counting by ones.” Sounds like a good combo to me.
Finally, the game A Snail’s Pace is a popular classic. Technically it’s for ages 3 and up because of the small parts, but it’s definitely geared toward younger toddlers.
Other Games for 2-Year-Olds
2-year-olds also love magnetized fishing toys (not technically games, but still fun). Try the Melissa and Doug Kids Count and Fish game for younger tots. This Djeco wooden fishing set, $18, also looks nice.
Finally, if you’re looking for a game for the bath or pool, check out Gobble Gobble Guppies (shown right). Simple concept, and it’s as fun as it looks.