Here are some of his current (age-appropriate) favorites:
(Note: I can never seem to get blogger to just post the Amazon.com image as a link without the whole ad-like text box. If anyone has an easy way to do this on blogger, would love the tutorial!).
He has no idea who Diego is (hooray for no TV), but it doesn't matter -- he loves this game. Entirely luck based, the game has each player pick a bingo type card which contains different groups of animals in boxes 1-9. Players take turns choosing a card from the box. If it matches one of the images on their card, it gets put in the spot. If not, it gets placed on another player's card. If it doesn't match any of the cards, it gets set aside out of play. The player to fill his card first wins. The concept is simple. It teaches taking turns, matching, and counting (although the counting isn't required to play the game). I think this is the perfect level of game for his current age.
Each player receives a cardboard card with spaces for colored shapes - yellow star, green triangle, etc. Players take turns with the spinner (which lands on a color), selecting the shape that matches the color on the wheel and sticking it onto their card in a puzzle type slot. This was the first game that I bought for him, and for awhile he just liked to pop the shapes out of the cardboard holders after I stuck them in for him. At his current age, he can take turns, and could play the whole game, but we just have trouble with the concept of the spinner. He can spin it, but he doesn't seem to understand the idea that the arrow is pointing to one color. It might have something to do with the fact that the spinner is clear, so a little difficult to see. In any case, I'm sure he'll figure it out soon enough. He asks for this one frequently, and it's great for reinforcing colors and shapes.
We have a slightly different version of this original Memory game. The style of the images looks similar, though -- they're bright, playful pictures of objects familiar and of interest to toddlers. We simulate a real game, but with only 3 or 4 pairs at a time. He tends to just start flipping them all and looking for matches, but I love using the images for teaching new words.
A matching game with colorful photographs of actual frogs - all different colors, varieties, and sizes. I originally bought this game for someone else, but when I got it home, he seemed so interested in it that I kept it and set it aside. He loves the images of the frogs, and we tend to just put all of the squares out on the table in a pile and look for matches together, rather than playing with it in the traditional way. A really fun set for frog fans.
He's also fond of a number of our adult games - a tournament sized backgammon set, Boggle, Blokus, Cathedral, and Formula De. (Many of these have teeny tiny swallowable parts, so obviously don't let your child play with them unattended, or ever if they have a propensity for sticking objects in their mouths).
What are you children's favorite games?