2 Great Board Games that Don’t Require Reading

One of our Friday night traditions is to make pizza and play a board game. This is a little tricky because our kids are young. Finding games that are fun, but don’t require reading can be a challenge. Here are two games that we have enjoyed.

Busytown uses the artwork from Richard Scarry’s great children’s books.

  • For the young pre-schooler. (3 years and up)
  • All players are on one team so everyone either loses or wins. This is a great way to prepare children for losing games, because you all lose together. They don’t get as emotional when Mommy and Daddy lose too. :)
  • Large board (about 6ft) so must be played on the floor.
  • The bulk of the game is a version of ‘I Spy’ which makes it fun for older siblings and even parents, yet the young ones can still hold their own.
  • Can be played alone. My son plays this alone quite a bit. He enjoys picking a card, and putting the little magnifying glasses over as many objects matching the card as he can find.

Blokus is fun for children and adults alike. We have played this with our guests and everyone has had fun. This is also really good for spatial awareness. It is not that easy.

  • The box says ages 5 and up.
  • The level of difficulty varies quite a bit if you only have 2 players or if you have 4. Stefan has still done pretty well with four players, but sometimes needs help. This is good, though, as it is teaching him to play strategically. He is also learning that he can’t always win. (Though don’t let that fool you. Sometimes he does better than the adults.)
  • Can be played alone. There are actually rules for playing alone, but those would definitely be for adults. Stefan just enjoys trying to fit all the pieces on the board.
  • Each player has 21 pieces of different sizes and shapes, they have to try to play all their pieces without getting blocked by other players.

I am always trying to keep a running list of great games as we slowly build our collection. I would love your ideas!

Do you all play games as a family? I (and my readers) would love to hear your ideas for any age group.


  1. My daughter is just getting interested in board games. Thanks for the ideas and I’d love to hear more.

    • Johanna says:

      Game times are fun now that Stefan is getting old enough to actually be a competitor. :) Have fun!

  2. I never heard of the first game, I’ll have to look it up as it sounds like something our family would enjoy. We LOVE our blokus game. We started playing with our girls, when our youngest girl was only 4 (with help at times). Our son who is now 4, likes to play it alone, just like Stefan, by trying to get all the pieces to fit on the board. Our kids love to play games and now that they are older, they play together although we do still play with them from time to time, just not as often as when they were little!

  3. Amanda Erdman says:

    We love to play Blokus too! Also Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, I Spy Memory, Memory, and a game called Animals, Animals Color Bingo (Eric Carle)–all fun and don’t require reading. We just taught Maryn (3 1/2) how to play UNO and Go Fish. She did great and loves card games so far.

  4. We love Blokus too! And my 4yo loves Connect Four (well, the “checker game,” as she calls it)–we played on teams at first with a parent and one of the older two together. The girls are starting to be able to hold their own and play by themselves quite well. Obviously, having just two players is limiting, but this game is such a classic that we work with it, now taking turns to play with the winner staying in and onlookers “advising” as needed!

    And thanks for the Busytown suggestion–we’re big Richard Scarry fans, so that game is already added to my ongoing list!!

    • Johanna says:

      I had forgotten about Connect Four! I played it as a kid though, and loved it. Thanks for reminding me!

  5. Eileen says:

    I just finished playing three or four rounds of Mancala with my three-year-old. We don’t usually play to see who wins yet, although I am trying to show him how you get an extra turn if your last pebble lands in your mancala. It’s a game that doesn’t require reading though, and good for teaching counting.

  6. amber robinson says:

    Some of our favourites (our kids are 7, 10 and 13) : Uno, Dutch Blitz, Stratego, Farkle (game with dice), “Garbage” with rook cards (for the oldest one), dominoes, memory and Apples to Apples.

    • Johanna says:

      I love Dutch Blitz! I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to play. I’m not familiar with Stratego, but I just looked it up. :) Thanks for all the great ideas, Amber!


  1. […] to 100! Richard Scarry has a unique style that definitely captivates children. (We also love his game.) There is so much detail in his illustrations that you will never bore of looking at it. This is a […]

Speak Your Mind