かるた (Karuta) is a Japanese card game that’s great for children learning hiragana. You can read about how to play on Wikipedia (cards can range from really easy to super difficult). I think it would be an easy game to modify for preschoolers (make cards with colors, numbers, weather, etc. instead of hiragana). Basically, one person reads a sentence and everyone else tries to be the first person to find the matching card and put their hand on top of it. Apparently there are huge karuta tournaments in Japan.
If you don’t have a set of karuta cards, you can print your own set on card stock ( I would laminate them) or make your own from scratch. I’ve rounded up some free printable karuta cards online for you:
1) Ousama Karuta from tokioheidi.com (click here for the printable PDF)
I thought this was the best freebie. Great quality and even comes with a printable box to store your karuta.
2) 「いきいきキャンペーンかるた」from the Tottori Perfecture Website
This one has cute illustrations and teaches good manners in addition to hiragana.
3) Here is a list of some other ones I found that you may like:
おじゃる丸 karuta from NHK
あそぼうさいカルタ from kochi.lg.jp
Free Karuta Printable from Tokushima Prefectural Senior High School of Science and Technology
Another Free Karuta Printable from ふくいのいろはにほてと
「情報モラルかるた」ダウンロード from Kanagawa Prefectural Educational Center
いきいきキャンペーンかるた from Tottori Prefecture Website
4) Don’t feel like going through the work of downloading, printing, and cutting? Here are some online karuta games:
ダジャレ DE カルタ！from NIFTY
ピンチかるた from noutore-matome.com
And HOW CUTE are these Totoro Karuta cards?!?!? I want a set! Too bad they are so expensive.