Gift Edit

This Board Game That Doubles as An Activity Mat Keeps My Preschooler Entertained For Hours

published Jan 25, 2023
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Graphic showing board game Busytown box and four of the character tiles
Credit: Amazon

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Finding screen-free toys and games that captivate my kids is no easy feat. That’s why when I find those elusive unicorns — unplugged toys that engage my child’s imagination and manage to keep their attention — they top my list. Richard Scarry’s Busytown ‘Eye Found It’ board game enchanted my preschooler right from the beginning. Here’s why:

The Busytown Board Game

My son had an immediate attraction to the game initially because he knew and loved the characters it featured. We read Richard Scarry books nightly, so seeing and recognizing familiar faces like Lowly Worm and Huckle Cat made this game a gleeful slam dunk from the start. He also loves cars, so it made him giddy to zoom his favorite friends from fiction around the board in fun vehicles shaped like a shark or an apple.

Another huge draw is that the board measures over a whopping six feet long when it’s assembled. It’s much more than your standard issue board game. Even when we finished playing by the rules, my son loved utilizing the board as an activity mat long after the game was over. Anytime a toy or game ends up being a two-for-one, open-ended play experience, it’s a total design win for parents and kids alike.

The Busytown board game requires players to work together as a team, so there are no winners or losers. Every parent who has ever played a board game with a young child knows that most kids don’t like to lose. Instead of pitting players against each other, this game enables kids to pair up with teammates to try to reach Picnic Island at the end of the game board before the pigs eat all of the food on the island. Not only does this encourage bonding, camaraderie and cooperation skills, it leads to pure fun instead of tears or frustration that may arise from competition and ensuing defeat. (Ahem, like how having to move backwards countless spaces in Candy Land leads to such ‘sweet’ sorrow).

Game play is simple and lighthearted, and I even enjoy playing as an adult. The goal is to find hidden objects like balloons and flags that are strewn throughout Busytown before the sand timer runs out. Once an item is located, kids can place a tiny magnifying glass token on it. The more items you find, the further your race to Picnic Island is fueled.

My son asked to play this game daily when he was in preschool since it was so easy to navigate, and the game board’s illustrations are so enthralling. There’s an adventure to be found and a new character to discover living their best life on every square inch of the game board that brings Busytown to life in your living room.

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