How Board Games Can Aid Learning
in Early Development Years

See also: Understanding Toddlers and Young Children

Early childhood development takes on a variety of forms from social development to cognitive expansion and beyond. These developmental years are a crucial time in a child’s life, offering the chance to learn new skills and concepts that will be vastly more difficult to grasp at an older age.

Many abstract patterns of thought also develop in the early years which will aid children in learning advanced concepts at a later stage. But how do you expose young minds to informal learning and how do you make a child’s development years count?

Board games offer the perfect solution and should be a non-negotiable in early childhood development. Take a look at all the ways preschool board games can aid learning and help kids become well-rounded learners.

Improves Concentration

In today’s fast-paced and digitized world, kids are growing more impatient and desire instant gratification. Quick video snippets, punchy visuals, and fast-paced gameplay are the norm, dissuading children from taking it slow.

This trend of holding down the FFWD button is not doing wonders for the attention span of children. On average, a 2-year-old only has an attention span of 4-6 minutes, which is eons in toddler years.

Board games give children the chance to improve their concentration skills by keeping them focused on the task at hand without too many distractions. They need to switch off from outside influences and focus on the game at hand. Breaking concentration might just lead to an embarrassing defeat.

Board games also make it easier to concentrate. Vivid colors, interesting characters or storylines, and a range of possible outcomes keep them glued to the board.

With thousands of board games to choose from, it can be hard deciding on which one is best. For those looking for a fast-paced, strategic gaming experience, cribbage is an excellent choice.

The objective of cribbage is to be the first player to score a target number of points, typically 121, by forming card combinations for points through pegging, flushes, runs, pairs, and having cards that total fifteen.

Don’t have access to a board? Numerous online platforms such as Cribbage JD offer virtual cribbage, making it accessible for players around the world to play individually or against opponents.

Playing cribbage demands sustained attention, strategic planning, and a bit of luck, making it a fun, mentally enriching game that will enhance concentration levels.

Early Literacy Skills

There are board games like Bananagrams or Swamp Math that offer straightforward literacy and numeracy learning opportunities, but board games also allow for more abstract skills development.

Many games require kids to count whether it be counting spaces to move game pieces, counting the numbers on a die, or keeping score. Children get familiar with numbers and see how they can use them in real-world applications like money in Monopoly.

Reading is a big part of board games, even if it is a game for young learners who can’t read yet. There are rules to be read, writing on cards or on the board, and many other places where words come into play.

Promotes Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a skill that simply can’t be taught from a book and preschool board games offer the perfect opportunity to explore this facet of learning. They allow kids to form abstract thoughts and think critically and strategically about even the simplest of tasks.

A game as easy as Connect 4 or Battleships will require kids to think a few steps ahead or form a basic strategy to be crowned the victor. This way of thinking will aid them significantly when learning math and science later in life. Games that require children to combine a few modes of gameplay or steps to complete a round will aid in comprehension too.

Strategic board games teach logical thinking and deductive reasoning games are fun, family-friendly, and excellent extension activities. A quick game of Guess Who? will keep kids thinking and let them have fun at the same time.

Promotes Creativity

Creativity isn’t necessarily a tangible skill like painting or sculpting. Board games help children develop their right brain where creativity is more dominant.

Not only are board games vivid, colorful, and visually appealing, but they also promote abstract thinking. Apples to Apples requires players to compare two seemingly unrelated concepts and original ideas come out on top. Similarly, Dixit sees players compare artistic playing cards with verbal clues.

These kinds of games expose kids to visual masterpieces but also helps them to think out of the box and find creative solutions to problems that present themselves, in the same way, each time.

Best Games for Early Development

These are some of the best preschool board games that touch on a variety of early development skills.

Yeti in my Spaghetti

This silly game is a winner with kids and might even entice parents to join in. It works on fine motor skills as players aim to pull spaghetti from the bowl without dropping in the Yeti. The trick is concentration, steady hands, and a keen eye for strategy. Which spaghetti will keep you safe but perhaps spell doom for the next player?


Kids love playing Zingo but this specially curated board game version is aimed at early childhood development. The game tiles have a variety of pictures and matching site words allowing kids to get familiar with the written form of the images.

Players also need to concentrate and quickly identify the images on their cards as the caller takes them from the card dispenser.

Feed the Woozle

Young players love games that require them to move around a little and few preschool board games do it as well as Feed the Woozle. Players need to also fulfill more than one task at a time like doing a silly dance while they balance a yucky snack card on the spoon to feed to the hungry Woozle.

They quickly learn how to follow instructions and work together with other players to complete the task.

Race to The Treasure

The Ogre in this game isn’t the friendly green swamp treading kind. This ogre wants to beat you to the treasure so players must work together to collect keys and build a path to where x marks the spot.

The trick is that players need to band together and strategize to find the most logical way out of the pickle. Young players will have the chance to make decisions and find solutions and often need to verbalize their strategy and train of thought.

Hi-Ho Cherry-O

This colorful game is for players as young as 3 years old and is an invaluable resource when teaching them to count. Every player is a cherry picker that aims to fill their basket with yummy red cherries before the rest.

Hi-Ho Cherry-O employs basic counting skills and helps with fine motor skills as they pick up small playing pieces and drop them into buckets. Color recognition also comes into play with the colored baskets and spinner.