Since discovering snakes and ladders a while back, Cosmo has really got into board games, and as a preschooler these are massively challenging, but at the same time educational.
A game like Ludo is simple enough for a four year old to play, but gives him plenty of practise at counting and quick number recognition. In a few games he went from counting the dots on the dice to knowing what it said instantly. Within a few days he was able to very quickly work out things like 'I'm going to throw two sixes and a three so I can get you!' without any counting out, but just recognising how to make up numbers with divisions of 6 and remainders.
We also played upwords for the first time this morning. I was dubious, but he had seen it in the cupboard and really wanted to try. If you haven't played before, it's kind of like scrabble, but you can stack letters up on top of each other to change words.
We simplified it by allowing players to 'borrow' letters from each other and replace them with ones from the bag. This game is a great vocabulary builder, because every time you play a word we added a rule where you have to explain what it means. It meant we spent a lot of time looking things up in the dictionary, but Cosmo loved it.
So, board games for toddlers, do you have any other suggestions?