I've mentioned that my husband is an avid gamer right? Not just the video variety. He loves board games and has looked forward to the day where he could turn our minions into gamers too (especially since I have no love for games).
When HB was about 18 months old, Hubby did some digging and discovered that it is actually possible to teach a child at that age how to play a game. Some games are marked age 3 and over simply because of the small pieces not the skill set. So as long as you break it down for them and watch that they don't eat the pieces, they will be able to learn games.
Here's why you want to teach your tot how to play a game:
1) Fine motor skills- spinners, rolling dice, moving pieces, and flipping cards all require fine motor skills
2) Math- matching, shapes, colors, and numbers are often integral parts to game play
3) Literacy- A lot of games require some basic reading but some of them licensed from children's books, the Brown Bear, Brown Bear Game is one example (it's HB's favorite game incidentally)
4) Nice Winners and Losers- although most children at this age have no clear concept of winning or loosing. It's still good to model good sportsmanship for the future.
5) Stewardship- Having to take care of the boards, cards, or any other pieces teaches children how to respect their toys of which they are stewards
6) Patience- Learning to take turns is important so is sharing
7) Fairness- Following the rules and not cheating is another important skill
Looking for a game other than the classics? Board Game Geek is a board gaming forum. I've linked the page where people suggested games for two year olds. There's also a couple of games that are really awesome. My husband bought this one on ebay. It gives you several ways that you can play and has big pieces. It's by Ravensburger (a German company) and it's meant for two year olds. We also own Cranium Caraboo but haven't tried because it's a bit over his head. It's recommended for three year olds, but we're thinking when he's two and half. My First Orchard is also a good game for two year olds and is designed for them. We haven't purchased it because Haba also has another version of the game simply called Orchard (so it's a bit confusing) that has smaller pieces and is designed for three year olds. We figure we wait six months and then just purchase Orchard instead.
Wanting to know how to teach a game to young child? There's this great blog Hubby stumbled upon. Mostly they review family games, but they also write articles about board gaming (and video gaming). Here's a couple of there blog articles (one is similar to mine but I had to get all teacher-like).
Reasons to Play Board Games with Your Kids
Teaching Games to Kids
So if you're looking for something to do with your kids on a Friday night, why not try a board game?