Introduce Toddlers to Modern Board Games
It’s natural for families to want to play games together. Unfortunately the ones that normally appeal to the younger crowd require you to act silly, put plastic retainers in your mouth or hit the loser in the face with whipped cream. Of course there are the classics that have been scaled down for younger audiences like Monopoly Jr., or ones as in the photo above that were originally designed for that age range.
The expressions on our daughters’ faces are not staged. Chutes and Ladders was fun for them – once. After their first play it was a chore. For us and them. We knew right away they would be ready for REAL board games very soon. But they were still too young to grasp onto all of the strategic moves. We did what we’re going to recommend to you. Start them off with junior versions of popular strategy games to get them used to more complex mechanics and critical thinking!
We’ve put together this list of currently-available junior, family and “My First” versions of highly-popular hobby games that you can add to your game library today! If you have family members in the 3-6 age range, we’re positive there is at least one solution here for you!
Agricola Family Edition
The 17th century was not an easy time to be a farmer. Agricola Family Edition is the introductory edition of Uwe Rosenberg’s celebrated classic. Designed for 1-4 players, the game features no cards and simplified rules, making it a perfect entry point to Agricola for younger players, or those who simply want a more casual play experience. Players begin play with two family members and can grow their families over the course of the game. This allows them more actions but remember you must generate enough food to feed your growing family! FULL OVERVIEW HERE!
Blokus Junior is the perfect way to teach kids as young as 5 years-old the art of strategy. Similar to Blokus, the fastest growing strategy brand, the object of Blokus Junior is to get as many pieces on the board as possibly by placing each piece corner to corner. Made with younger hands in mind, Blokus Junior has less complicated pieces, a bigger board, and 10 mini-games to help kids learn how to play the game. Includes 48 pieces, paper templates, game board and instructions.
A Catan adventure for fledgling swashbucklers. Explore the Seas Catan: Junior introduces a modified playing style of the classic game giving younger players the opportunity to experience the world of Catan. Designed for players as young as 5 and is a perfect introduction to the Catan series of games for kids and families. Catan: Junior takes place on a ring of islands where 2 to 4 players build hideouts, and the mysterious Spooky Island, where the Ghost Captain lives. Each island generates a specific resource: wood, goats, molasses or swords and players can acquire gold.
Together players head off on an exciting search for treasure in the jungles of the island of Karuba! Will they manage to arrange the tiles so that they can reach all the treasure. Before the pirates raid the island? They’ll need to work together, and be careful of tigers that will block the paths. With skill and a bit of luck they’ll be faster than the pirates!
A lighter version of Krosmaster Arena! The main spirit of the Arena is brought by Krosmaster Junior, allowing even the youngest players to understand the rules and play with a friend. With the 4 new figures included in the box, or with additional figures too. Game Includes: 2 double sided gameboards. 40 XL scenario cards, 4 exclusive figures & 1 booster including the final version of the Krosmaster cards for these 4 figures.
The aMAZEing Junior Labyrinth uses a clever board design to create a series of ever-changing mazes that one to four players must move through. The object of the game is for each player to collect as quickly as possible all seven treasures depicted on their individual treasure cards. To add to the challenge, players know what the next treasure is only after they find the one before it. Before each turn, a maze card is pushed into the maze in a strategic place, helping the player make his or her way to the prize. This means that the entire maze shifts and changes on each turn, confounding some and helping others.
My First Bohnanza
Whoever thinks that the classic Bohnanza game is something only for adults is completely wrong. Older children everywhere, who love planting, trading, and harvesting beans, already enjoy the game! With My first Bohnanza, even younger children will be able to learn the game in small steps. We introduce 10 new types of beans – just for kids – and they can begin their bean farmer journey earning gold coins.
My First Carcassonne
DISCOVER THE GREAT CITY OF CARCASSONNE, ONE TILE AT A TIME! The streets of Carcassonne are filled with kids who are trying to catch the animals set loose for the festival. The city has never been so alive! This version of the modern classic, Carcassonne, has been adapted to allow players of all ages to play together. No need to count points! Each turn, you place a tile to build Carcassonne. When you close a street with one or more kids of your color, you get to put your pawns on the board. Be the first to place all of your pawns to win the game.
My First Stone Age
A children’s version of the Stone Age family game. Players will collect goods to build their own settlement. Two stone age children, Jada and Jonon, bring you to the past to discover how the first humans settled the world around them.
Scotland Yard Junior
This clever detective game has won awards and fans around the world. Now it’s available in a “Junior” version, suitable for children ages 6 and up. Mister x, the master criminal, is on the run across London. Can you work as a team with other players to capture him? the game board shows a simplified map of London, including well-known sites such as Westminster Abbey, the London eye, the houses of Parliament, the National gallery, Waterloo station, the tate gallery and the Thames.
Spy Alley Junior
Spy Alley Junior is the hidden identity guessing game. It’s a fun and fast – paced game of hidden identities. Each player assumes the identity on their Spy Identification card. Players use the die and move cards to move their tokens around the game board. If a player lands on the same colored guess space as one of their opponents, they may guess their opponent’s identity. If they are correct, their opponent is out of the game. One key to the game is knowing when to use your move cards. Another is using your memory skills to expose the other spies.
Ticket to Ride: First Journey
Ticket to Ride: First Journey takes the gameplay of the Ticket to Ride series and scales it down for a younger audience.
In general, players collect train cards, claim routes on the map, and try to connect the cities shown on their tickets. In more detail, the game board shows a map of the United States with certain cities being connected by colored paths. FULL OVERVIEW HERE!
You’ll certainly recognize many of these games in their regular form. Now you have a choice of what to pick when your toddler wants to play a board game with the rest of the family! While they may have scaled-down rules to simply the strategy for all ages, they all are true to their ‘parent’ version and will be just entertaining enough so you don’t have the same expression our kids did!
51 thoughts on “Introduce Toddlers to Modern Board Games”
Love that they make jr versions of so many fun games. I think I need the Ticket to Ride: First Journey! After trying the regular one, I was sort of lost, maybe if I practice with the jr one I can catch up to my kids!
These are great recommendations! I just told my older kids we need to find more games for the younger kids. When we have our game night it is mostly adults! These games would be great to add for the kids game night. I’m real interested in Krosmaster Junior & Blokus Junior
I love all the ‘junior’ games available these days. I’ve heard “Catan” is a great game, I need to play it with my kids!
My kids love the Catan game. Thank you for the other suggestions. We will have to check them out.
My son would have loved ‘my first stone age’ when he was a kid! Great selection of games….I will be checking them out for gifts this year!
We love Ticket to Ride! What a great way to include the little ones.
wow, i didnt know a lot of these existed. great, now i gotta teach some of them to the littles.
The games look intriguing, but I am finding it hard to picture these for toddlers. Perhaps Kindergarten age would be better?
It is alway fun to be making more memories by playing games together!
Always fun playing games.
These look amazing I haven’t personally played any of these with my little girl! But I absolutely want to!
I know Catan Jr was a kit with my nephew.
These look like a lot of fun! When our girls were little, they liked Monopoly Jr. & Sorry Jr.
I enjoyed looking through the games and liked seeing the Junior versions of games such as Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. Added some to my cart!
What a great collection of games to introduce to younger kids!
We love Ticket to Ride. What a fun game.
I think my little boy would love the My First Stone Age game the most at the moment
We are now to the point of having great grandkids that are beginning to play board games. This is a great list to give to my granddaughter.
I love these awesome games for kids!!
These board games look very fun. Thanks for sharing!
Ticket to Ride: First Journey
Great suggestions.Thank you. I thought the Catan Junior game looking for the treasure might be fun for my grandson.
I’d start with Blokus or Labyrinth in order to teach basics of strategy
I love Catan and it would be great to play Catan Jr with my kids.
All these games looks great. I would pick Spy Alley Junior first.
I think my nephews would like My First Stone Age .
I didn’t even know those versions existed! I’d certainly like to try Catan Junior and My First Carcassonne
I would start them off with the game Catan Jr.
these are new to me, gonna try a couple of them with my granddaughter
I’d recommend Spy Alley for younger kids. That’s what we were playing.
I love this list! I didn’t realize they made junior versions of some of my favorite games. I’d love to teach a kid Ticket to Ride.
I think My First Stone Age would be a great game for a beginner board game. Looks like fun!
I would probably first use Blokus Junior.
I think Spy Alley Junior would be great!
For toddlers, I would start off with ABC blocks or Go fish. Maybe Chutes & Ladders. It would depend on the advancement and personality of each child. Blokus Junior sounds fun too.
I’d probably start with Cataan, just because my family loves the adult version….
I’d start with My First Garden!
Can’t go wrong with Catan… Always a good start.
I don’t think my 3 year old daughter has the attention span for board games yet.