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    The Ten Best Board Games for Four-year-old Children

    Our board game experts reveal the best board games for 4 year olds in 2023/24.

    Discover the most rewarding games to play.

    Younger children enjoy spending time with parents, siblings and grandparents, as well as other significant relatives and family friends. One way to make that time extra special is to play games together to add some fun - as well as some learning - into the mix.

    Board games for children aged four and above are especially useful when it comes to introducing and improving social skills as they encourage turn taking and cooperation. Waiting for other players to take their turns and seeing the game through to the end also helps to improve attention spans and forward-planning skills.

    Playing board games also helps young children to develop their hand-eye coordination and their fine motor skills, as well as teaching them about numbers, shapes, words and colours.

    Board games teach young children lots of important social skills

    Waiting your turn is a very important social skill, but playing board games also teaches younger school age children how to share game components and objectives, as well as excitement and disappointment.

    Playing a board game with friends of their own age and with older children or adults helps four-year-old children how to cope with losing, how to collaborate to solve a problem and how to respond to sudden changes.

    Playing board games helps to model good reactions

    Board games which involve sudden twists and turns of fortune give adults good opportunities to show younger children how to react when things suddenly go pear shaped. Snakes and ladders is a great example, with the throw of a dice sending you right back to square one.

    Showing your four-year-old child that it’s all about enjoying the game and finding fun in the ups and downs rather than winning and losing. Staying calm and saying that you’ll wait to see what you next throw brings you is a good way to encourage patience and resilience.

    How to choose an appropriate board game for your four-year-old child

    Younger children’s attention spans aren’t going to be up to longer games - short games of around 10 minutes or so are best for this age group and games with lots of replay value are winners!

    Games which are colourful, chunky and which feature attractive, friendly characters will appeal the most to the four-to-five age group. If there’s a book or TV show tie in then that’s even better as this can provide an immersive and familiar environment for the kids to learn how to play board games.

    Keep it simple

    When it comes to rules, you should aim for simplicity, which is why dice-throwing games are particularly popular with younger kids. You throw the die, you do what it says… Similarly, counting and matching games work well as they’re not complex or particularly nuanced but will prove very popular indeed.

    Keep it safe

    It’s also very important to think about safety when you’re choosing a board game for four or five-year-old children. Although there’s likely to be an adult present, there’s always the chance that a child could chew on a colourful game component, so it’s vital that there’s nothing that could present a choking hazard.

    Similarly, game components should be tough and hard wearing so that they can stand up to repeated games and rough handling. We’ve chosen games which are known to be made from good-quality materials so that you and your children can carry on enjoying them for many years.

    So, without further ado (because we know how impatient young kids can be!), here are our ten best board games for four-year-old children. We’ve chosen games which are also fun for older children and adults so that board game time can be a family time too.

    Foxy Pants

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 4+
    Skills and learning: Numeracy, turn taking

    In this game you’ll find a greedy fox invading the hen house! He’s grabbing all the chickens and shoving them into his pockets, but when there’s too many hens in them, his pants will fall down and the chickens will escape.

    Players roll the die to determine how many hens to put in the fox’s pockets and then they push down the fox’s head to start the fun. Pretty soon the fox’s pants fall down and the chickens run everywhere. You have to rescue them and return them to the safety of their coops, with the first player to fill their coop being the winner.

    Foxy Pants is an easy game to learn and it has the sudden excitement of Mr Fox losing his pants and lots of hens rolling around. It has a lot of replay value and will result in lots of squealing and shouting!

    Dinosaur Race

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 3+
    Skills and learning: Numeracy and turn-taking, matching

    Dinosaur Race is an exciting game of chance in which players race to win bronze, silver or gold medals. There’s a slight twist, however. The players all take their turns with the spinner, but then they all make their moves towards the finish line at the same time.

    The spinner tells each player which cards to look out for, then they tot up their matching cards and move the same number of spaces along the track.

    Dinosaur Race is great fun because it teaches counting and matching, as well as encouraging players to talk about the different types of dinosaurs they can see.

    Shape Aliens

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 3+
    Skills and learning: observation, matching, colour and shape identification

    This fun game involves players matching cute aliens to shapes and colours and placing them into the game’s 3D spaceship. It’s a colourful and attractive game which will encourage preschoolers and early-years schoolchildren to develop matching skills and observation skills.

    There are some extra activities for younger children too, making Shape Aliens a very inclusive activity.

    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 4+
    Skills and learning: colour recognition, numeracy, problem solving

    This dice game is based on the Michael Rosen book of the same name and it features the original watercolour illustrations. Players race to be the first one home, hopefully without being caught by the bear.

    The youngest player rolls the first dice and moves the corresponding number of spaces but if they land on an “Uh-uh” space they have to take a card from the pile. If it’s red, they “...can’t go over it!” and if it’s green, they have to “...go through it!” All the while, the bear is chasing so you have to run home as soon as possible in order to win the game.

    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt teaches children how to take turns and to talk to other players about the challenges they’re facing. While it’s for ages three and up, it’s likely that four and five-year-old children will get the most out of it.

    Lotto Less Waste

    Number of players: 1 to 6
    Age: 4+
    Skills and learning: memory concentration, raising ecological awareness

    Lotto Less Waste is an attractive board game which teaches younger children about recycling and about which products they can recycle and reuse.

    Players match pictures on the board with colourful tokens and the game offers children lots of fun facts about nature and the environment, as well as teaching them more about green living.

    The game also helps children to develop their observation and memory skills, as well as using logic to solve problems to move up through its five levels.

    Dinosaur Escape

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age 3+
    Skills and learning: memory, logic, observational skills

    There’s some ominous rumblings coming out of a volcano and the dinosaurs are lost in the ferns! Players have to help their prehistoric friends to escape from the ferns and get to safety before the volcano erupts.

    Dinosaur Escape involves a lot of cooperation and strategy if you want the dinosaurs to get to safety. Players have to remember what’s behind the tokens as you flip them over and this encourages cooperative play and conversation, which is great for developing self esteem and problem solving skills.

    The Gruffalo Deep Dark Wood Game

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age 4+
    Skills and learning: turn taking, numeracy, memory

    Based on the hugely popular book, The Gruffalo Deep Dark Wood Game is a dice-based board game in which players take turns to throw a die in order to move around the board and get home safely.

    The game involves memory and counting as players move their mice through the dark forest, dodging the snake, owl and fox on their way home.

    The Gruffalo Deep Dark Wood Game is easy to understand and has lots of replay value, so it’ll keep younger children amused for a long time. Each game only lasts around 10 minutes so it’s ideal for shorter attention spans.

    Chicken Poo Bingo

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 4+
    Skills and learning: numeracy, matching, observation

    A comedy chicken, poo and lots of shouting. What more could you ask for in a board game? Chicken Poo Bingo does exactly what it says on the tin - you fill up your chicken with poo pellets and let it strut all over the board, pooing as he pleases.

    Players watch to see where the poos land and place a poo sticker on the corresponding space on their bingo cards. The first player to get a row shouts out “Chicken Poo Bingo!” and the fun can start all over again.

    Each game of bingo doesn’t take long so your children can play a few rounds to while away a rainy afternoon. Be warned, though, it can get very noisy…

    Peppa Pig Monopoly Junior

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 5+
    Skills and learning: numeracy, money, turn taking

    Although it’s recommended for ages five and up, Peppa Pig Monopoly Junior is suitable for younger children as long as there’s an older child or adult to guide them through. As this game is set in a well-loved and familiar world, children will love to work their way though, playing as Peppa, George, Mummy or Daddy Pig and they’ll enjoy acquiring familiar properties such as The Funfair and Potato City.

    It’s a great introduction to the classic version of Monopoly and Peppa Pig Monopoly Junior teaches children how to count and how to manage their money as they develop into canny property investors.

    Jungle Snakes and Ladders

    Number of players: 2 to 4
    Age: 4+
    Skills and learning: turn taking, numeracy, hand-eye coordination

    A jungle-themed take on this classic board game, Jungle Snakes and Ladders helps children to count as they throw the dice and hope for the best.

    Landing on a snake and sliding back to square one is a good way to help children to deal with disappointment and the friendly faces of the snakes in this travel-sized game help to soothe the sting a bit.

    Endlessly replayable, snakes and ladders games have been a firm favourite among all ages for a good reason - it’s all about the journey rather than the winning!

    How we picked our top ten board games for four-year-old children

    In selecting our best board games for younger children, we thought about the length of each game, as well as how easy the rules are for littlies to follow.

    Other important factors included the sturdiness of the game components and whether any components presented a choking hazard. When you’re picking a board game for preschoolers and four-to-five-year olds, it’s vital that game pieces and components are chunky and relatively large so that they’re easy to manipulate but hard to swallow or inhale.

    We also chose games which the entire family can enjoy, so that younger children can develop a love of board games early on. Once you’ve got your four-year-old hooked on board and card games, you can move them onto slightly more complex games like Yes, Yes Yeti and Bangarang.