Ben has been a geek all of his life, so his expertise tends to fall into gaming and technology.
Reviews of Board Games for 4-Year-Olds
Combining education and entertainment is important to the development of a child’s brain. They will always pay more attention to fun things, and if those things can teach them a thing or two, everybody wins.
That’s why board games are such an important part of growing up. They improve cognitive functions, motor skills, and social skills, and they keep your child entertained and educated. So, instead of buying another regular toy for your child, get them a board game. And yes, there are board games suitable for 4-year-old or even younger boys and girls.
Come and see for yourself what some of the best games are:
- Orchard Toys Shopping List
- eBoo Preschool Picture Dominoes
- Rat-a-Tat Cat
- Dr. Seuss: The Cat in the Hat
Orchard Toys Shopping List
You probably played a memory board game at least once when you were young. All the cards are face-down, and you have an opportunity to turn two of them face up every round. If they match, you collect them and go again. If not, it’s your opponent’s turn.
This game is very similar, but with a little twist. The children will get a little cardboard shopping card and a list of groceries that they have to get from the store. The products (tiles) are face-down and the child needs to find all the products on the list.
Shopping List is extremely popular in the UK and up to 4 children can play it. It boosts both cognitive and social skills, assuming the child plays with others. A child will recognize various grocery products and since all the products are illustrated, they don’t have to read.
- Doesn’t require reading skills
- Educational purposes
- Improves cognitive and social ability
- Children may lose interest rather quickly
Zingo is an extremely popular game based on Bingo. It’s a dynamic game with a high level of competitiveness that will keep the participating youngsters on the edge of their seats. One player (dealer) owns the Zinger, which is the main object in focus.
All players have a 9-image Zingo card and they draw one more hidden Zingo tile. Then, they wait for the dealer to reveal the two cards from the Zinger. If any player sees the same tile as theirs, they need to call out its name.
Afterward, they cover their own tile with the one from the Zinger. If two players hunt for the same card, the faster player gets it. The first player who covers all 9 images on the Zingo card wins.
This is a great game for preschoolers and early readers, and it develops critical thinking. Beware that it may be a bit too much for a not very precocious four-year-old.
- Dynamic and entertaining game
- Develops reasoning, critical thinking, and some motor skills
- Has a lot of variations and difficulty modes
- Up to 7 players
- May be too challenging for some four-year-olds
eBoo Preschool Picture Dominoes
The goal of Picture Dominoes is the same as the traditional game. Take a piece from your hand and match it with one on the board to continue the chain. However, unlike regular dominoes, your child will be matching colors and pictures.
It’s an ideal game for four-year-olds where they can learn reasoning and logical thinking, as well as recognizing animals and colors. Besides colors and images, all tiles have a specific number of animals on them. Depending on the age and development of your child, you can include the number aspect of the game too.
In the pack, you’ll get 28 pieces of 2’ x 4’ sturdy cardboard tiles.
- Develop logical thinking
- Learning to count
- Good for all stages of cognitive development
- Can be too simple for some four-year-olds
This game won the prestigious Mensa Best New Mind Game title more than 20 years ago and is still held in the highest regard. Your child will learn tactics, addition, memory, and other functions thanks to the images of cats and mice on the cards.
In Rat-A-Tat Cat, the mice cards are higher and the cat cards lower. The mission is to get rid of all the high cards and obtain the lowest possible score. A player would achieve this by memorizing the cards seen throughout the game and figuring out the possible cards held by the opponents. This can help a player outsmart his opponents and think of a perfect tactic.
As you can see, the game is not plain at all. It requires a lot more than just basic logic skills, so you should consider the cognitive skills of your child before you purchase it. If you believe your child can handle these more complex processes, then this game can be a lot of fun.
- Very affordable
- Mensa Best Mind Game Award winner
- Up to 6 players
- Develops complex cognitive skills
- Adults can play too
- Might be too complicated for a four-year-old
- Can get repetitive
Dr. Seuss: The Cat in the Hat
If you think your child could benefit from moving around and expressing themself with motor functions, this may be a perfect board game. The Cat In the Hat will encourage youngsters to gain more confidence in their abilities.
This is how you play it: Out of a deck of 45 cards and a foam fishbowl, players take turn to draw three cards—movement, location, and condition (there are hundreds of possibilities that can come up).
For example, a player may draw: 1. Dance 2. To a bathroom 3. With a fish between your leg. After that, the player needs to try and execute these moves. If the player succeeds, they get a point.
This game is perfect for a four-year-old child because it can help to develop a mix of early-reading skills, motor functions, and self-confidence. It is more about fun than competitiveness, so it is perfect for family gatherings and birthday parties.
- Expressive and dynamic
- Improves confidence and motor skills
- Hundreds of possible combinations
- Better for early four-year-olds than older children
Most of these games bring a lot to the table. Not only will your kids spend quality time, but they will also learn something new and develop their skills. Out of all these games, Zingo is probably the best for this age group. It provides fun, excitement, competition, and interaction. After Zingo, Rat-a-Tat Hat is worth considering since it’s cheap and complex.
On the other hand, Shopping List and Picture Dominoes might be better for early four-year-olds or those who have yet to start reading. The Cat in the Hat offers a distinctive approach to board games that some children will enjoy.
However, choose a board game carefully. Chances are you may end up playing it a lot more than you think.
© 2019 Ben Martin