Tweaking Modern Tabletop Board Games for Toddlers

Board game gran here sharing with you a cute story about making games work for you if you have a toddler in your home. Now we know HABA and other companies make wonderful kids games, but maybe you want to prep your little guy or girl into games that are way over aged for them. I’m hoping this story will help any gamers with a toddler. They grow up fast! So maybe you don’t want to start buying a load of toddler games, knowing they’re growing so fast they will soon be over them.

The main game we’re looking at today is “The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars”, but I’ll cover numerous you can tweak. The player of said games is 2 years 5 months (a toddler). Recommended age of this first game (“The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars”) is Age 6+ so you already know it’s a game for children (but not toddlers. Oh it also sports a warning for kids under 3 due to small parts, so watch your toddler needless to say).

Board games for toddlers with board game gran and gameapaloozaA 6+ board game can still be fun, just tweak it for toddlers.

I pulled out “The Little Prince: Rising to the Stars” to show my grandson the artwork, then decided to join up three pieces of the track for fun. He picked out a card with a 4 on it and said “Nonna look 4!”, given he knew the numbers I thought eh, why not try a cut down game. I took all cards out of the deck other than the numbers, popped two planes on the beginning cloud and we began, he drew a card, told me the number on it and we moved his plane that many clouds. Then my turn, I drew a card, asked him the number and moved my plane and so it went until there was a winner. He LOVED it and was so excited when the planes got to the end.

So the upside of this is practice with numbers, awesome, also you’re using one of your regular games. Tip: Don’t let your toddler win if they happen to be drawing low cards, good sportsmanship is being a good winner, but also knowing it’s possible to be kind to someone else who wins and cheering for them also. We had a ball either way. The game went back onto the shelf.

Next time he came over (a few days later) he headed for the room he knows is the games room, “Nonna in”, once in “Dat game Nonna!”, I replied thinking surely he can’t remember, “which game? This one?” (pointing to a non Prince game) “No Nonna, dat game” pointing wildly. Long story short, we’d played the game ONCE and he now knew it from just the side of the box and more importantly “Play dat game Nonna!” was excitedly uttered, he wanted to play it again… winning.

Any games with number cards you can probably cut down to play, any games with set collection you can come up with a draw and collect game. The main thing to remember with toddlers is, sticky fingers and they have no internal laws about not bending cards, so do the whole “be gentle with these honey” chit chat before you begin.

Loonacy dominoes - Tweaking tabletop games for toddlers by board game gran and gameapaloozaLoonacy dominoes – A simple little game using the Loonacy deck without the adult frantic gameplay. Just match the images, lay your card (in turn).

So there you have it. Why not play your regular games with the little ones in your life? Here’s a few other ideas for games you probably own.

Ticket To Ride for toddlers
Collect three of one color from the draw deck, you get to put a train carriage on the board. Longest train when all the cards are gone wins.

Loonacy for toddlers
Dominoes! Lay them side by side and match them up, first out of cards wins.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig for toddlers
Build a castle, that’s it!

Patchwork for toddlers
Build up the patchwork like a puzzle. Try and fill the board.

Takenoko for toddlers
Build a beautiful garden (lay the tiles), roll a D6, take that many bamboo pieces and now build the right colored bamboo on the matching color tiles.

Any games can be cut down in some way or another, if the game has coins, turn it into a counting game, that sort of thing.

I hope you’ve found this post interesting / useful. A child’s imagination is a wondrous thing, feed that thing like crazy! Loads of giggles will follow.

Yours in gaming
Board Game Gran