Now, finding a good game for a 3 year old is not nearly as easy as for a 5 year old. But there are some good ones out there.
Let's start with her first game, Go Away Monster! Go Away Monster is an excellent first 'game'. The fact is, it's more of an activity than a game because there aren't any winners or losers. But there's taking turns, placing items on a board, some sharing, and some surprises. When PrincessKat first got this game, we must've played it 10 times that day (and the following morning too, if I remember correctly). Basically, you're taking turns pulling items out of a bag. The items are things you find in your bedroom, a bed, teddy bear, chair, and a picture. When you get one of these things, you place them onto your board in the appropriate spot. Every once in a while, instead of bedroom furniture, you pull out a monster. When you do, you say 'Go Away Monster!' and toss them into the box. That's it! That's the game! Sounds simple, right? Maybe even too simple? Well, it's actually perfect for 3 year olds who are learning to play games!
Another game that I found was Batik. This is one of a series made by Gigamic games. I really like the Gigamic games series. They all have very nice looking wooden components. Gameplay for the ones that I have played is super simple, yet interesting. I purchased Batik from another local gamer at a coffeeshop. PrincessKat was with me and we immediately started playing the game while enjoying our hot chocolate. She picked up on it right away! We probably played 6 or so games right there. Each person has a set of shapes. You drop the shapes into this vertical wall (kind of like Connect 4, but with only 1 large slot. If you drop a shape in, and any part of it is sticking out of the top, then you lose. That's it! Again, perfect for a 3 year old.
The last game I'm going to mention is Gulo Gulo. This is a highly regarded game on boardgamegeek.com by boardgaming parents. However, I was never that big of a fan of it. I originally bought it for LilKat2. We played it a few times, but he never got that into it. PrincessKat, on the other hand, LOVES this game. And the funny thing is, she can beat me at this game, even if I'm trying my hardest. This is a GREAT feature to have in a kid's game. In Gulo Gulo, you move around the board by grabbing little colored eggs out of a bowl. There's also a weighted stick in the bowl. If you can get your egg out without knocking the stick over, you can move ahead. If the stick falls, then you have to move backwards. Simple enough. But grabbing those little eggs can be hard! Especially when you have big fat grownup fingers. 3 year olds, however, have little tiny ninja fingers, perfectly made for stealing colored eggs out of a small wooden bowl. And there's a nice built in catch-up mechanism, so that even if you fall behind, you're never really that far back. Again, another great thing to have in a kids game because it means that everyone is always in the game.
You want more? Ok I'll give you one more. Walter Wick: Can You See What I See is a game that is based on a series of books (kind of like 'I Spy' books). In the version that we play, you have a set of tiles. Each tile has a picture of an object, like a rubber duck or a thimble or a yo-yo. In the middle of the board is a set of larger tiles. Each of the larger tiles has a bunch of pictures on them (so one might have a tricycle, a yo-yo, a top, a spool, and a clothes pin). On your turn, you pick one of the tiles in front of you (say, a frog). Then you have to look at the bigger tiles in the middle. If any of those tiles has your picture (the frog) on it, you get to keep it. Each big tile you have at the end of the game counts as a point (some tiles have a special picture on them that make them worth 2 points). That's pretty much it. I thought LilKat2 would like this game because he likes his I Spy books so much. Well, it turns out that all 3 kids like this game quite a bit! And one nice thing was that I was able to pick this one up at Toys R Us (I usually have to go to online retailers to buy my games).
Anyhow, if you have a 3 year old and want to have some fun things to do together at home, these are some great choices for you.