dd is 3 1/2, but i usually get games for a slightly older child, so she has something to grow into.
what are your little ones' faves?
We started getting lots of games for dd when she was about 3! One of the first was Tumblin' Monkeys. Fun, and very easy for a little one. Its like that game kerplunk.. its a cylinder ("tree") with holes in it and you poke these colored sticks through the holes, then put the monkeys in the top. The sticks hold them up. Roll the dice, and remove a stick that matches the color you rolled. The "goal" is to NOT let monkey's fall, whoever ends up with the least monkeys, wins. But dd just loves when she gets monkeys, so we just play for fun and don't keep track or have anyone "win". if dh and I play with her, dh and I get kinda competitive with eachother to try and get the least. Its kinda fun for us too!
Zingo- like Bingo, kinda. The cards come out of the..thing, and you have to be first to snatch it up to put it on your board.
cranium balloon lagoon
We like Orchard, Animal Upon Animal (stacking game from Haba), and Eeboo's Slips and Ladders games. Also dominos and matching games.
Eeboo makes more attractive, recylced content games at a really resonable price. No plastic. And no characters which are surprising hard to avoid with games. We have a couple that are on the Christmas list. Also, Harvest Time.
I think he could manage Connect Four but I am waiting for Christmas to get a nice wood version from Rosie Hippo.
my dd enjoys this: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2331528
We have really been enjoying card games like go fish and old maid. We bought a pack of them made by eboo and they are really cute-dd only got the go fish one so far and will get the rest for christmas. We also bought dd a card holder thingie to put the cards in and it really helped-let me find a link: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS375US375&q=playing+card+holder&wrapid=tlif12895686650681&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=15823871534087606880&ei=mUHdTKXNEIKBlAfrnNysDQ&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ8wIwAA#
My kids both loved Don't Break The Ice at that age....and actually still do at 4-1/2 and almost 7. It's such a pain to set up, but it is a cool game. We also liked Cootie, and will Nth the recommendation for Hullabaloo, that's a really good one. We also had Elefun, which is another battery operated one (which I normally also am not a fan of, someone else bought both of those games for us and they turned out great so I'm a changed person regarding it! ) where there's an elephant trunk made of some kind of plastic, and you put these nylon butterflies in the base of it, turn it on, and the trunk inflates and shoots the butterflies out of its trunk, and as they flutter down you try to catch as many as you can.
Shortly after 4 something clicked with both my kids and now we're loving playing things like Monopoly Jr, Sequence, Clue Jr, and Sorry. I'm loving it, because I love board games. I just broke out the Twister a couple months ago and the kids are having a BALL with it.
We have Candyland and Chutes & Ladders, and my ds, who will be three in January, is learning how to play by the rules and take turns. It's pretty neat!. One game I already owned, which isn't really for a toddler/preschooler but ds LOVES it, is Mousetrap. We set it up together and he watches the cause and effect of the turning of the crank, the shoe hitting the basket, the ball rolling, etc. (And I love it too!)