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My First Boardgame - games to play with the *very* young
Melissa
Australia
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Vic
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There are lots of great games for preschoolers (3 and 4 year olds) and once your kids start reading there's a huge range of fantastic games to choose from.

But what about the very young - two year olds who *want* to play games because they see their parents (and siblings!) playing games? There's been quite a few queries lately about just this age group. My two-year-old daughter "Otto" is always begging to play a game with us. We're always interested in new ideas for this very young age group.

This is NOT a list for games for preschoolers - there are already plenty of excellent geeklists for them. Once your child is up to turn-taking, go look at those. meeple
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1. Board Game: Koffer packen [Average Rating:4.41 Unranked]
Melissa
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This is the only game that I would say Otto is "playing" at 2y2m. We take three or four of the tiles and talk about the pictures (I usually make sure that Teddy and Truck are chosen) and then we turn them over and talk about what is on the other side. I find she can usually remember three and then she either gets bored or confused and goes back to looking at all of them.

She also likes to go through the tiles, naming them and saying, "I put it in my suitcase."

The tiles are good and sturdy, which is important at this age.
 
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2. Board Game: Tummy Ache [Average Rating:4.98 Unranked]
Melissa
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She's not really playing this yet, but we do talk about matching the pictures of the drink to the empty glass on the tray, and we look at all the yummy food and talk about how good baked beans are to eat. She likes to line up lots of the cards on her tray and pretend to eat her dinner.

Tiles are good and sturdy, mats/trays marginally less so due to their larger size. This set has lasted since Biggie was 3, and has been well played with.
 
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3. Board Game: Dwarves and Dice [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:8328]
Melissa
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This is the third and currently last of "her" games. She's just learning colours - she knows what the colour words are and what they describe, she's just not entirely sure which colour is which yet

We like to look for yellow.

Again, this has good sturdy tiles although the dice could be a choking hazard for extremely oral children.
 
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4. Board Game: Ants in the Pants [Average Rating:4.21 Overall Rank:10963]
Melissa
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Mike Adams recommended this colour-matching game in the Forums: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea...

It sounds great for this age group.
 
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5. Board Game: Go Away Monster! [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2002]
Melissa
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Jon Theyes recommended this one in the Forums: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea...

It sounds like another good one, although I'm not sure about the Monsters theme for Otto (who is an arrant coward). If I understand the description correctly, it's essentially a game of pattern matching.
 
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6. Board Game: Nanu? [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:7833]
Kevin Postlewaite
United States
Emerald Hills
California
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My 2 1/2 year old daughter is almost playing this memory game. She enjoys rolling the die and seeing what picture is under the corresponding wood disk, but mostly she won't try to identify the picture before she reveals the hidden picture (although she has a few times). She also really enjoys the different pictures.
 
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7. Board Game: Junior Pictolino [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Needle
Australia
NSW
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I have had such success with the little fella. It is for 2+ but I got this for him at 18 months and it worked well. You basically have four boards of different scenarios and you need to match the pieces (which are sized great for little hands to grip). It helps with dexterity, vocab, puzzle solving and as they get older memory. As they get older you can play cooperatively or competitively.

I highly recommend this
 
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8. Board Game: The Adventures of Harley [Average Rating:5.19 Unranked]
Based upon my poor understanding of history, science, and ethics...
United States
North Pole
Alaska
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Great game for young 'uns. No dice, no spinner. The child has to decide where to move to. Simple game with actual strategic decisions for the child to make.

Only drawback is that it is a co-operative game. I added some house rules and the kids liked it better. Believe it or not my young 'uns didn't comprehend the team-play thing. They were much more happy to play after I introduced some changes to have a winner and loser.
 
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9. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.18 Overall Rank:11062]
Tripp Corbin
United States
Unspecified
Georgia
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This is the very first board game I can remember ever playing.
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10. Board Game: Hisss [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:6919]
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
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Hiss is a great color matching game. I got it for my two (4 and 6 at the time) and it was a little too simple for them as I have them playing Hunters & Gatherers and Flea Circus which require a little more strategy.

I think that Gamewright has quite a few good offerings that you might like:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/search.php3?publisherid=108
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11. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:107] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Tim Benjamin
United States
Los Alamos
New Mexico
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Even quite young ones can learn to play 'legal' tiles. No meeples, no scoring, just placing tiles... first as a team then independently.
 
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12. Board Game: Snail's Pace Race [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:10485]
Iain Cheyne
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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In his GeekSpeak interview, Guido Teuber mentioned that his father taught him this at 2.5 years.
 
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13. Board Game: The Princess and the Pea [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:9570]
Melissa
Australia
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This is a delightful game from HABA - so you just know it will be beautifully produced and delightful for children (mostly little girls, I suspect).

My girls are too old for it, but I know what my niece is getting for her second birthday.

The 'game' part is, well, possibly lacking - but it can be played co-operatively and the pieces will delight.
 
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14. Board Game: Lass nichts fallen, Kleiner Rabe [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Mark Casiglio
United States
Bethany
Connecticut
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From the "Baby's first Knizia" collection ...

Seriously this is a light stacking dexterity game that involves turn taking, color matching and room for discussions involving some subtle strategic decision making (specifically choosing items that will make it easier for Little Raven to balance more objects ... or at a later age make it harder for your opponents to do so).
 
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15. Board Game: UNO [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:10924]
Brian Humphreys
United States
Ada
Ohio
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Don't forget this classic and its many varients for kids. I was playing this at 3 myself and it was my first game. Remove the skip, reverse, draw 2/4s, and the wilds to start, then slowly add them in when you think your child is ready. Its a great color and number matching game that not only helps match things, mom also had me saying the color and number I was playing.
 
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16. Board Game: Skip-Bo [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:10893]
Brian Humphreys
United States
Ada
Ohio
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Then I learned this game. You can take out as many numbers as you want, and make as few or many piles as you want. This game taught me to think about order of importance, IE play from the pile on the table first to get rid of it, then play from your hand.
 
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17. Board Game: Rivers, Roads & Rails [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:10882]
Brian Humphreys
United States
Ada
Ohio
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Last one from me, a tile matching game. This might be a little more of a challenge, but it teaches beginning and end. You might look thru the tiles and pull out the more challenging tiles which add a third direction, or may look confusing as far as what really begins or ends on it.
 
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