Games for 3 to 6-Year-Old Children

By Daniel O'Hair ; Updated October 03, 2017

Preschool-aged children are at an important time of development in their lives when play becomes a primary way to learn and explore. Parents can foster their kids' development by introducing them to games that involve education and physical activity. Many games provide fun for children and also teach them about real-life skills.

I Spy

I Spy is a visual game wherein a person chooses a visible object and uses one color to describe it without giving away its identity. The chooser then says, "I spy with my little eye...something that is..." and the color. Players then try to guess the object based on the color given. An example could be something "yellow," if players are sitting next to mustard at a barbecue. Other adjectives besides color can be used depending on the observation skills of the child. The first letter of an object rather than its color is another variation on the game. I Spy allows children to practice sensory skills and learn how to describe objects in different ways.

Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs is played by lining up a number of chairs (one less than there are players) in a circle so that they are facing outward. A non-participating person then turns on music and players begin circling the chairs in a single file line. The person controlling the music will then stop the music at his or her discretion and players must claim any available seat by sitting in it. The player who is not able to claim a seat is out of the game and one chair is taken away. This process is repeated until one player is left, who is announced the winner. Musical Chairs offers children exercise and anticipatory skills, in addition to being a lot of fun.

Red Light! Yellow Light! Green Light!

Red Light! Yellow Light! Green Light! requires three large circles, one green, one yellow and one red, that are used to represent traffic light colors. One player is chosen as the traffic light and another plays the role of traffic cop. All the other players are cars. Play begins when the traffic light holds up the green circle and announces "Go!" As long as the green circle is held, the cars can run around freely. From this point on, the traffic light may switch by holding up the yellow circle and announcing "Careful," or the the red circle and announcing "Stop." During "Careful," cars must move around slowly. If cars move fast, the traffic cop can tag them and they are out of the game. During "Stop," all cars must freeze. If the traffic cop catches anyone moving during "Stop," that person is out of the game. Play continues until one car is left, who is announced the winner. Red Light! Yellow Light! Green Light! provides exercise, practice associating correct actions with traffic signals, and listening comprehension.

Monopoly Junior

Monopoly Junior is a simplified version of the original Monopoly wherein players set up "Ticket Booths" and collect fees from other players who land on them. Play ends when one player runs out of money. Monopoly Junior provides good practice in reading, arithmetic and dealing with simple amounts of money, all of which can be applied to the real world.

About the Author

Daniel O'Hair began writing professionally in 2010. He served as an editor and reporter for various campus publications including the "Western Front," "Klipsun" and "The Planet" magazines. O'Hair has a Bachelor of Arts in news-editorial journalism from Western Washington University.