10 Best Board Games for Two Year Olds
Who doesn’t love board games and the way they bring the whole family together? But when you have young kids, it’s often hard to find games that are appropriate for your little ones who aren’t even school-aged. While 5-year-olds are in Kindergarten and learning improved attention spans and decision-making skills, 2-year-olds haven’t gotten that opportunity yet. So many parents and caregivers often wonder what games are appropriate for 2-year-olds.
Chutes and Ladders
Don’t Break the Ice
Feed the Woozle
Roll and Play
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
Chutes and Ladders by Hasbro
Players : 2-6
Game Time: 30 minutes
Release Year: 2011
We start off our list with a classic game by the toy and board game giant, Hasbro. Chutes and Ladders has been around for quite a while, and for good reason. It’s an easy and fun game that teaches turn-taking as well as rewards and consequences for following rules. This is one of the first games that most people play as children.
The game comes with a gameboard, a spinner, and four figures. Each player chooses a figure to move around the gameboard. You play by spinning the arrow on the spinner. The number it lands on tells you how many spaces to move your figure. If you land at the bottom of a ladder, you move to the top of the ladder. If you land at the top of a chute, you slide down to the bottom of the chute. If you land on the middle of a chute or ladder, you do nothing – your turn ends.
You win by either getting the exact number you need to reach square 100 on the game board, or by landing on the bottom of the ladder on square 80, which takes your game piece up to the finish line. This simple game not only helps kids with understanding the benefit of doing good deeds, but also helps with counting and basic math skills.
Don’t Break the Ice by Hasbro
Game Time: 20 minutes
Release Year: 2017
Another Hasbro product, Don’t Break the Ice involves players trying to help Philip the Penguin stay on top of the ice. The instructions may say this game is for 3-year-olds and above, but don’t shelf it just yet. While this game requires some dexterity and fine motor skills, it is certainly within the capabilities of many 2-year-olds. At this age, many kids are learning to eat with a spoon and walk upstairs and most display the understanding needed to grasp the concept of the game.
The game contents include 32 small ice blocks, 1 large ice block, 2 mallets, an ice tray, and 4 ice tray legs. You play by using the mallet to tap out the ice blocks, one by one, until the ice breaks and Philip the Penguin falls through. Imagine a simpler version of the game, “Jenga” with tools. The person who breaks the ice block(s) that causes Philip to fall loses the game.
Kids who struggle with their hand-eye coordination may have a bit of a hard time getting the small mallet to connect with small blocks, but it’s also a great way to help them improve those fine motor skills. For a game with no math or reading involved, it’s sure to be a great addition to your family game night.
Feed the Woozle by Peaceable Kingdom
Game Time: 15 minutes
Release Year: 2012
This is a great toddler game with tweaks that you can add so it’s exciting for even the most “grown-up” 4-year-old. In Feed the Woozle, players will try to spoon-feed twelve snacks directly into the Woozle’s mouth. This is a cooperative board game that teaches kids social skills and teamwork as they take turns trying to get all the snacks to their creature friend.
The game itself includes the Woozle cardboard figure, a plastic die, a spinner, 12 “yummy” cards, and 24 “silly snack” tokens. The Woozle is placed on a surface 8-10 feet from the players. Players take turns rolling the die and putting the indicated number of snacks on the spoon. They then walk carefully over to the Woozle and feed it the snacks.
Any snacks that fall to the floor are out of the game and don’t count. For every snack that gets into the Woozle’s mouth, the players get a “yummy” card. If they are able to get 12 yummy cards before they run out of snacks, they win. The great thing about this game is that it can grow with the child. The instructions come with several tweaks that can be made for older children.
This is another great game for improving gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. As a cooperative game, kids learn to work together and encourage one another. Playing games should be fun and this game does a great job of facilitating that experience.
First Orchard by HABA
Game Time: 10 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
This is the perfect game for 2-year-olds, especially those who are still early in their second year. Not only are the large pieces great for little hands, but it’s an educational game that teaches kids color recognition, turn-taking, and how to follow the rules of the die.
The game includes 4 green apples, 4 red apples, 4 yellow pears, 4 blue plums, a raven, a plastic die, a fruit basket, and 5 path cards. Players roll the die to see what color fruit they should pick and put in the basket. If they roll a raven, then the raven gets to move one step forward on the path towards the orchard. The game is won if players are able to collect all the fruit safely into the basket before the raven gets to the orchard.
This is one of the best games for cooperation because picking up the fruit together means you can work faster before the raven arrives. This game is also useful as a matching game for kids. One of the key parts of the game is consistently matching colors on the die with the corresponding colored fruit.
Lucky Ducks by Pressman
Game Time: 10 minutes
Release Year: 2015
Speaking of matching, Lucky Ducks is the best matching game for little ones. Not only that, but it’s a great memory game for kids as well. As they try to find the correct duck, they’re learning to recognize and associate colors and shapes the entire time.
The game includes a pond game “unit”, 12 ducks, and a set of stickers. As a note, the game unit is mechanical and requires AA batteries. Players each choose a colored shape, set the ducks into the unit and turn it on. As the ducks move around, each player takes turns picking up one of the ducks and looking on the bottom to see if the color and shape indicated match the color and shape they chose. If the shape and color match, they get to keep the duck. If not, they show it to everyone else and then put the duck back into the unit. The first player to collect their three ducks, wins the game.
Kids who enjoy a little competition will love the excitement of trying to find the right duck before their friends. This game does a great job teaching memory skills as kids try to remember which duck has which symbols and match it to their shape and color.
Monkey Around by Peaceable Kingdom
Game Time: 10 minutes
Release Year: 2017
Another simple game from the minds over at Peaceable Kingdom, Monkey Around is a card game that involves following instructions and getting active. This is a fun game, especially for little ones who are still developing their gross motor skills.
The contents include a gameboard, 40 monkey cards, and a bean bag banana. The game is played by reading the cards and following the instruction on the card. Once you’ve done 5 cards and put them on the tree, you’re done! There’s no winning or losing, the goal is to get active and have fun.
You can add more challenging factors to the game by doing all the actions while holding the bean bag banana or keeping it balanced on your head. You can also come up with your own versions of the actions. This game has much more potential than just what comes in the box!
Roll and Play by Thinkfun
Game Time: 5 minutes
Release Year: 2012
Roll and play is one of the first toddler games and a classic game that has it all. The activities focus on developing skills like creativity, gross motor skills, and matching colors.
You play the game by rolling the giant cube. Each color on the cube corresponds to a different category – actions, body parts, colors, counting, emotions, and animal sounds. After you see the color, you must select a card based on the color shown on the cube.
On the card is an action for you to complete. These actions are usually different activities telling kids to act like an animal, express an emotion, move a body part, etc.
The game set includes the big cube and 48 cards along with a storage pocket for the cards. This is another game where there is no winning or losing – the goal is just to have fun acting out the cards. Like Monkey Around, you can add your own twists to the game to make the activities easier or more challenging as needed.
Seek-A-Boo by MindWare
Game Time: 10 minutes
Release Year: 2018
Seek-A-Boo is a game that focuses on having kids search and connect colors and items. The game mechanics help build vocabulary and improve memory skills. To play, players take the Seek Me cards and lay them across the floor with the images face down. One person then picks the top card from the Find Me card deck. These cards match the same color as the Seek Me cards that are currently on the ground.
Once the top card is picked, the person asks the player to find the object on the card. For example, “find the butterfly”. The player then picks up the Seek Me cards and tries to match the word to the picture. Once they have found a match, they are allowed to put that to the side. The game is over when all of the matches have been found.
The contents of the game include 36 of the Seek Me cards and 36 of the Find Me cards. The game can be made easier or harder by using more or fewer cards. The game can also be made easier by showing the player which items are on the cards before placing them facedown. You can mix things up by allowing the player to be the one to lay the cards down and then give directions to the other person, having them pick and match the cards.
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel by Educational Insights
Game Time: 15 minutes
Release Year: 2011
The objective of The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel is to help your squirrel get ready for winter by filling a log with acorns that match the colors on the log. The game starts off with all the acorns inside the main tree. Then each person gets to spin the squirrel spinner. What you do with the acorns depends on what symbol the spinner lands on. Actions can range from using the squirrel squeezer to steal from another player’s log to grabbing an acorn that matches one of the colors on your log and putting it in the corresponding hole. The person who is able to fill their log first wins the game.
The game contents include a tree-shaped game board, a game spinner, 4 logs, 20 acorns, and a squirrel squeezer. This game is great for helping kids to learn color matching, hand-eye coordination, social skills and turn-taking, as well as improving attention span. This is a quick game that helps introduce standard board game mechanics in a way that little ones can grasp and understand.
Zingo! by ThinkFun
Game Time: 90 minutes
Release Year: 2016
Zingo! is a fresh new take on the traditional game, Bingo. This game is ideal for 2-year-olds because it teaches turn-taking, memory skills, and problem-solving.
In this game, players must match the pictures with the words on their cards. One person slides the Zingo! Zinger to reveal two tiles. If a player sees one of the tiles they need, they call for the tile and place the piece on their Zingo! card. Similar to Bingo, the first player to match all of the squares on their card wins the game.
The game contents include a Zingo! Zinger (tile dispenser), 72 tiles and 6 Zingo! cards. The game can also be tweaked to be easier or harder. Not only can you choose to do different patterns and designs on the Zingo! card, but the cards also come with an easy and hard side. For children who may have played the easy side too much or be further along in their reading skills, you can simply flip the card to add to the challenge.
Most of the games listed are carried by Amazon, however many toy stores and online shops carry these products as well. If you’re interested in purchasing a game for your 2-year-old, you may want to shop around to make sure you get the best deal.
While many of these games are considered playable by 2-year-olds, every child has their own pace of development. The best games are challenging, but fun. If one of the games on this list doesn’t work for your little one, try another. If anything, they’ll just be happy to play with you.