Board Games for 3- to 8-Year Old Children

Children’s board games are often forgotten toys. Despite the lack of fancy technology, they facilitate an array of developmental and educational skills. This collection of board games for children 3 to 8 years old are some of my favorites from my years as a school-based therapist. They are all classics, having stood the test of time.

Games are typically played seated at a table. For variety, players can lay prone, propped on elbows.


Games reviewed in this hub:

Candyland

Chutes and Ladders

Uncle Wiggly

Hi Ho Cherry-O

Monopoly Jr

Clue Jr

Scrabble Jr


Candyland
Candyland | Source

Candyland


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 3 to 8 years old

Brief Overview: Players advance along the rainbow path to find the kidnapped King Kandy. No reading required. Classic children’s first game. Players draw color cards and advance to the next space of that color. There are occasional obstacles, such as being stuck in Molasses Swamp until drawing a red card.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, from 361 raters. Chief complaints were from people who had earlier (now vintage) versions of the game lament that the board and playing pieces are different, having less character.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, matchmaking (1 to 1 correspondence of colors).

Versions: Dora the Explorer, Disney Princess, Disney Theme Park

Modifications: For younger children, children with problems in above areas, or for time constraints, omit obstacles, play forward only. For children who need to burn off excess physical energy, or when rain prohibits outdoor play, have children get up and walk around the table, then return to their seat to advance on the board path.


Candyland Board Game

Chutes and Ladders board game
Chutes and Ladders board game | Source

Chutes and Ladders


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 4 to 8

Brief Overview: Players spin to determine how many spaces to advance along the game board. If they land at the base of a ladder, they climb up, advancing them along the path. If they land at the top of a chute, they slide down. No reading required, only counting.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average 3.8 of 5 stars, from 140 raters. Complaints were from those who preferred the design version of their childhood.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, counting.

Versions: Dora the Explorer, Super Heroes, Sesame Street

Modifications: For younger children, children with problems in above areas, or for time constraints, omit chutes, play forward and up ladders only. For children who need to burn off excess physical energy, or when rain prohibits outdoor play, have children get up perform 5 jumping jacks, push-ups or sit-ups, then return to their seat to advance on the board path.


Clue Jr Board Game

Clue Jr The Case of the Missing Cake

.

Number of Players: 2 to 6 players

Ages: 5 to 10

Brief Overview: Unlike the classic Clue game, there is no murder here! Players must uncover who ate the cake before dinner. Also, when, and what the culprit drank with the cake.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars, from 62 raters. Comments generally positive. Feedback from a few buyers that the game really is best suited for young children, with at least one buyer noting it is boring for adults. Also some complaints that the pieces are too large and the board gets crowed.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, reasoning and strategy.

Versions: Carnival- Case of the Missing Prizes, Case of the Missing Toys, Spongebob.

Modifications: For younger children, children with problems in above areas, or for time constraints, reduce the possible options in each area. For children who need to burn off excess physical energy, or when rain prohibits outdoor play, see options above.


Uncle Wiggly Game
Uncle Wiggly Game | Source

Uncle Wiggly


Number of Players: 2 to 4

Ages: 4 to 8

Brief Overview: Players advance Uncle Wiggly along a path in the woods, from his Hollow Stump Bungalow to Dr. Possum’s office. Players draw cards to determine moves. Cards have rhymes based on the 1949 book. Players too young to read advance according to numbers and symbols, also on the cards.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average 4.5 stars of 5, from 87 raters.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, and matching numbers and symbols (correspondence), reading optional.

Modifications: Built into game with reading or option for matching numbers and symbols. Game play is longer for Uncle Wiggly compared to some of the other board game options. You could have players draw 2 cards each turn, and use numbers and symbols instead of reading rhymes to speed up play. Older players could add the numbers before advancing on the path.


Hi Ho Cherry-O

Hi Ho Cherry-O


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 3 to 8

Brief Overview: Game board for up to 4 players with “cherry trees”. Each tree holds 10 “cherries”. Spinner shows pictorially how many cherries to pick, from 1 to 4. Landing on the dog or bird penalizes players 2 cherries. Landing on the board on the spilled cherry bucket “spills” the player’s bucket as well, requiring the player to start over. First player to pick 10 cherries wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, from 278 raters. Ratings overwhelmingly positive, but a few buyers complained that pieces were missing from the game, or that the game was not as durable as the game they had as children 30 years ago.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, counting.

Versions: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Modifications: For younger children, children with problems in above areas, or for time constraints, omit penalties. For children who need to burn off excess physical energy, or when rain prohibits outdoor play, have children get up and turn around 3 times, then return to their seat to advance on the board path. This provides vestibular stimulation also.


Monoploy Jr Board Game

Monopoly Jr


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 5 to 10

Brief Overview: In this version of the classic Monopoly game, players set up ticket booths for amusement park rides instead of dealing in real estate and utilities. Players have to buy tickets when they land on the ticket booths of other players. Passing GO earns $2.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average 4.5 of 5 stars from 128 raters.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, basic math skills, strategy.

Versions: Disney Channel, Toy Story

Modifications: For younger children, children with problems in above areas, or for time constraints, play until 1 player passes go 3 times. Make all tickets and penalties cost $1. For children who need to burn off excess physical energy, or when rain prohibits outdoor play, have children stand at a counter or taller table for game play.

Scrabble Jr

Scrabble Jr

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 5 and up

Brief Overview: In this version of the classic Scrabble game, players match letter chips to letters on the board to form child-friendly words. Older kids can use the other side of the board to play the more traditional version of Scrabble, though there are not as many letter pieces.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average 4.1 of 5 stars from 163 raters. Generally favorable, but some complaints. A few complaints of the board and pieces being too flimsy. Some felt the game was too easy, and boring for kids 7 and older.

Skills: Perceptual motor, fine motor, letter recognition, turn taking, strategy.

Versions: Disney Scrabble Jr, Toy Story

Modifications: Younger children can match letter chips to letters on the board, forming words. Older kids can use the other side of the board for more traditional Scrabble play. Kids could play alone to practice and refine skills.


Ready for Some Classics?

I hope I have motivated you to revisit the neglected toys, board games for children. You can choose any of the above boxed games for your 3 to 8-year old and feel good about the developmental skills you are facilitating. Add board games back to your Christmas and Birthday lists for great gifts.


More by this Author


20 comments

TrudyVan profile image

TrudyVan 6 years ago from South Africa

Hello there, Board games are a must for any child under the age of 10. It developes their minds and eye co-ordination


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Agreed Trudy. I'm also working on a hub that is more descriptive on the Visual Perceptual Motor, Cognitive, Social benefits of Children's Games. I could have as many as a dozen hubs, but likely 5-8 for Toys HubMob.


myownworld profile image

myownworld 6 years ago from uk

yes, nothing like a good old board game for a child's imagination! Monopoly is still my favorite (and cluedo!)....great hub!


Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

Rose Mary - we're just starting to get into playing board games at our house and it's a lot of fun. You can actually see your child's brain "working" and it's great. One of our favorites it "What's in Ned's Head?" - you should check it out, it's a blast!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks for reading and commenting!

myownworld, Monopoly and Clue were my favorites too. I have fond memories of playing with my neighbors growing up.

Thanks for the tip Lily Rose. I just added Ned to my list. I think it will work nicely on my hub on games that are more fine &/or gross motor.


Wendi M profile image

Wendi M 6 years ago from New Hampshire

I've been walking through toy stores and Walmart trying to find the perfect "electronic" gift for my granddaughter's birthday party this weekend.

She has dozens of those things already...so thank you Rose Mary for making me hit myself in the head, and saying "Gee, I should've had a V8!"

I used to love board games when I was her age. Now I just have to decide on which ones, Lord knows I can't buy her just one game!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Wendi, you made me laugh. I have those V8 moments all the time. Let me know which games you went with.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

Thanks so much--I needed this refresher course in kids games. It's going to be big help in a specific project!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks RTalloni. I hope you'll visit some of my other Toys and Games hubs.


hallowfever profile image

hallowfever 6 years ago from San Diego

Very good hub, with great info!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks hallowfever for the visit and the compliment.


TurnOnYourSenses profile image

TurnOnYourSenses 6 years ago

Some new games that are great for that age range are SMATCH by ThinkFun, Uno Moo by Fisher Price, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by I Can Do That!, and the Sandwich stacking game by Melissa Aand Doug. I am a pediatric physical therapist, so I understand the importance of good games to encourage a child's growth and development.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

TOYS, I put you on my 'list of things to do'- to check out your hubs. Maybe we can trade links.


MrsKnowledge profile image

MrsKnowledge 6 years ago from Spanaway

I love all these games, this hub is giving me flash backs to when I was young. I spent so many hours playing all of those games.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

So true MrsK. There's a lot to be said for low tech entertainment.


Denise Roberts profile image

Denise Roberts 6 years ago from Mercer Island, WA

I like your hub. I work in the child care industry and I am completely shocked when I hear of 5-10 years old children who have never played a board game before.

Board games are so important and they're fun too! My family has board game night once per week. The kids are hooked on battleship and sequence right now.


kc2dpt profile image

kc2dpt 6 years ago from New Jersey

I recently picked up at an auction an old game called "Adventures With Clifford". It's got a stack of cards with pictures and what you do it put out one card at a time and then try to tell a story which includes the picture on that card. So if the card had a clown on it the story would include a clown. You keep playing out cards and expanding the story until there's a path of cards leading form Clifford to Emily Elizabeth. My daughter (age 3) loves playing this game with me, even though I'm the one making up most of the story. I expect that she'll start making up more bits as she gets older.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Denise I am so sorry! For some reason your comment showed up as possible spam on the hub, and didn't show up on my comments page.

I’m afraid more and more we will see kids that know computer games and nothing of old fashioned board games.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

kc2dpt I’m actually working with a kid now who might benefit from this game.


Chris Achilleos profile image

Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

I found this hub really by accident, saw the name and wondered... could it be? ... yes, it's CANDYLAND :) my favorite game as a child! Awesome hub, thanks for sharing, woke up many memories :) Definitely voted up!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working