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Classic Games for 3- to 8-Year Old Children- Games with Cards and Dice

Updated on July 29, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

Rose Mary, an Occupational Therapist since 1987, is experienced with pre-term infants, early intervention, school therapy, and home health.

Children’s games are an often neglected toy option, shunned perhaps because they are technology-free. These card, dice and other games for children 3 to 8 years old facilitate developmental skills. I used most of these games in the school setting during my years as a school-based therapist.

These games are usually played seated at a table. Children also enjoy playing games laying on the floor on their tummies. Why not try playing games standing at a counter, or standing on “tall knees” at a table.

Consider incorporating physical activity into the games. This is good for burning off physical energy, including when rain prohibits outdoor play. You could have children jump, skip, do animal walks, or twirl individually or as a group between rounds.

Modifications are given for the youngest children, children with problems in the developmental areas, or for time constraints.

Games reviewed in this article:

  • Memory
  • Boggle Jr
  • Picture Dominos
  • My First Uno
  • Picture Yahtzee and Yahtzee Jr
  • Picture Bingo

Memory Match Cards

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Use a smaller number of card pairs to match for younger childrenAlphabet Memory Match
Use a smaller number of card pairs to match for younger children
Use a smaller number of card pairs to match for younger children | Source
Alphabet Memory Match
Alphabet Memory Match | Source

Number of Players: 1 to 4 players

Ages: 3 to 8 years old

Brief Overview: There are 36 pairs of colorful picture cards, such as puppies, elephants, sun and other animals and familiar objects. Mix cards up and turn face down. Players take turns turning over 2 cards, trying to find matching cards. The winner is the player that has the most matching pairs at the end of play.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average 4.7 of 5 stars from 402 raters on Original Memory.

Skills: Visual perception, visual memory, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, patience, concentration, matchmaking (1 to 1 correspondence).

Versions: Many versions, including Original Memory Match, alphabet, Disney classic characters, Marvel characters, Dr, Seuss, Dispicable Me, Disney Princesses, Baby Animals, Diego, Toy Story, Tonka, Spiderman and Friends, Backyardigins, Tigger and Pooh, SpongeBob, Mickey Mouse.

Modifications: Reduce the number of starting pairs of cards. Some versions of the game are in board game format. Play until the first person navigates down one entire side, corner to corner.

Boggle Jr

Boggle Jr word cards and letter cubes
Boggle Jr word cards and letter cubes | Source

Number of Players: 1 or more players

Ages: 4 to 6 years old

Brief Overview: Spelling and reading game, with 30 color picture and word cards. One side has 3-letter words with corresponding picture, and the other side of the card has 4- letter words with pictures. There are 8 cubes with letters on each side. Players must spell the words with the cubes. Previous versions have a timer.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average 4.2 out of 5 stars, from 201 raters. I have this game, and use it often in therapy. It has held up well for 25+ years.

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

Versions: Comes in regular Boggle for older children.

Modifications: My vintage game has tray with timer, which is actually a distraction for most therapy kids. This newer version does not have a timer, but you could use your own. One of my favorite modifications, to add vestibular and gross motor component, is to place tray with cards on the floor. Place letter cubes 10 feet away. Have players roll back and forth to select and place letters.

Boggle Jr Game

Picture Dominoes

Animal Dominos Game
Animal Dominos Game | Source

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 4 to 8 years old

Brief Overview: Players lay cards vertically or horizontally to match pictures of played cards.

Amazon Customer Rating: Many versions. The eeBoo pre-school dominoes had a 4.7 of 5 rating from 45 raters.

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

Versions: Many versions. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Dora the Explorer, Dinosaurs, Disney Princesses, Star Wars, Doc McStuffins, and Dory Floor Dominoes.

Modifications: Reduce number of cards for play, or eliminate some of the card types.

My First Uno

Source

My First Uno

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Age: 3 to 8

Brief Overview: Simplified version for younger children. Colorful numbered cards. First player to run out of cards by matching colors and numbers wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: Most reviews on Super Mario version, with 209 raters giving average of 4.7 of 5 stars.

Skills: Visual perception (visual discrimination), visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, matchmaking (1 to 1 correspondence), color and number recognition.

Versions: Many versions available, including Super Mario, Jake and Never Land Pirate Edition, Winnie-the-Pooh, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins, Disney Sofia, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Sesame Street, Curious George, Rugrats, Frozen, Finding Dory, and Dispicable Me.

Modifications: Reduce number of cards for play, or eliminate some of the card types.

How to Play My First Uno

Yahtzee Jr.

Yahtzee Jr Game with pictures
Yahtzee Jr Game with pictures | Source

Yahtzee Jr

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 4 to 8

Brief Overview: Dice pictures of cartoon characters, such as Disney. Players roll the dice and count the number of characters. Add the points. Player with the most points at the end of play wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: Ratings scattered among the many versions of the game. Toy Story 3 version with 35 raters giving an average of 3.7 stars of 5. My Little Pony Rainbow Dash version rated 4.9 of 5 stars from 14 raters.

Skills: Visual perception, visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, number recognition and beginning counting.

Versions: Many versions available including Animal Yahtzee, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Disney Princess, Disney Classic Characters, Toy Story 3, Spongebob Squarepants, Duel Masters, Spiderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario, Hello Kitty, and Star Wars.

Modifications: Play can be limited to any time frame.

How to Play Yahtzee Jr or Picture Yahtzee

Picture Match Bingo for Young Children

Picture Bingo, suitable for 3- and 4-year old children
Picture Bingo, suitable for 3- and 4-year old children | Source

Number of Players: 2 to 6

Ages: 3 to 8

Brief Overview: Small cards are drawn in some versions, and matched to pictures on the playing card. Other versions have dice, which are rolled pictures matched to pictures on the card.

Skills: Visual perception (discrimination), visual motor, fine motor, turn taking, color and picture recognition, number recognition and beginning counting, critical thinking.

Amazon Customer Rating: Ratings spread over the many versions of the game, with 106 ratings for The Learning Journey Match It! Picture Word Bingo, which averaged 4.4 of 5 stars.

Versions: Many versions including Animal Bingo, Thomas Engine, Leap Frog, Everyday Objects, Christmas, Bible, Hello Kitty, Scooby-Doo, Alphabet, Numbers, and Wildlife. Alternate formats include Press and Spin, and Travel version.

Modifications: Some versions include 4 to 6 options for play.

Let the Games Begin!

Select one of these card, dice or other games for children 3 to 8 years old. These time-honored favorites will enhance your child’s developmental skills while they are having fun. Games make great Christmas and Birthday presents.

© 2009 rmcrayne

Comments

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  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR

    rmcrayne 

    9 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for reading and commenting lyricsingray and ralwus.

    lyrics, just read "AND UP" on any game. Instead of 3 to 6, or 8 to 12, just read 3 and up, 8 and up!

    ralwus, I agree the social aspect of these games has been grossly minimized by the electronic crowd.

  • profile image

    ralwus 

    9 years ago

    these are all great choices and the wee ones need to have some toys that don't take batteries or are hi tech. I think it helps socialize them better too.

  • profile image

    lyricsingray 

    9 years ago

    RM, what a fabulous Hub, getting back to basics where kids actually usetheir minds, still have fun and interact with each other. Never mind, I wouldn't mind playing some of these myself, do any read ages 8-43? Really fun Hub andsmart one for Christmas. Thanks, kimberly

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