I love playing board games. I figured that if I started my kids on games when they were young that before they hit middle school, they’d give me some stiff competition. The plan worked. We simplified some games so even the youngest could play. As they got older, we got a lot of game playing in.
What are the regular ol’ board games that are so educational? First, many games come with some strategy involved. It’s a good thing to learn. Specifically, Monolopoly uses money math. Yahtzee uses addition and multiplication. Scrabble is a word game. Trivial Pursuit is reading. Rummy Cube is addition. There are many more everyday games that teach educational skills. We also have SET (visual perception), Chronology (history), Settlers of Catan (the fastest Catan game we ever played was won by one of the kids within 10 minutes. By the way, I try to win), Scrambled States (US geography), 10 Days In Europe (and In The United States, Africa, Asia, the Americas; geography). I don’t know how many of these games are easily accessible. 10 Days In are now hard to get a hold of and are extremely expensive but look for other exciting, new games out there. There are other games that are meant to be educational that are still fun. We used to have The Whale Game, Star Hop and Space Hop. Time for you to be on the lookout for games that your family will enjoy.
Perhaps your budget like ours is limited. We bought games over the years, not all at once, and many times at secondhand stores. I usually drop by a secondhand store at least a couple of times a month. Oh, I forgot to mention that my children are grown now and I teach enrichment classes for homeschoolers. That’s why I look for games so frequently... well, one of the reasons. I find such a treasure trove of old games and even new games.
My personal favorite game publishers are Gamewright and Play Monster. Some of the games are spendy but some are at secondhand stores, too. (And I so want to list all of my favorites here but your family can decide on your own favorites.)
If you have a pack of cards and some dice, there are also learning games to play with those--memory, Go Fish in a different language, etc. Different card games tend to be less expensive than board games. I sometimes make up my own games with dice, depending on what class I’m teaching. For example, I sometimes teach French so if a child rolls a 1, then they have to count to 10 in French; if a 2, they have to say a greeting; etc. to 6. I’ve used the dice game idea for covering things like exercise (“roll a 1, and we have to dance”) to theater games (“roll a 2, act out a nursery rhyme”).
Pen and paper games can be looked up in books or online. Too numerous to mention here. Although...there’s one that I learned in my math class in 7th grade. It’s called Bulls and Creots. The rules can be downloaded below.
When my kids were little and we had to drive somewhere, I made up “Add an Adjective.” Someone started with a noun (“The car”). The next person added an adjective--“the old car.” The third person added an adjective while keeping the one before--“the blue, old car.” The game continued around the car and would end if someone forgot one of the adjectives. New round with a new noun.
Another one I would play with the kids was The Nursery Rhyme song/game. One of my children would read and memorize nursery rhymes just to win. It was great fun. To play, everyone sings an ABC song (not the one we usually sing; the tune is here) then Player 1 in the same tune sings a nursery rhyme. Everyone sings the ABC song again, then Player 2 sings a nursery rhyme. And so it goes for the rest of the game, each player taking turns. If the player whose turn it is doesn’t come right in singing or repeats a nursery rhyme that’s already been sung, that player is out. We would sing the song faster than the tune linked; makes the game harder.
There are cool online games and apps for different subjects. Do a search. I actually found one that I had when my kids were young (Zoombinis, love the logic games)
Games--fun, educational, even created by you. Oo, or your children could make up a game. We’re talking design, strategy planning, concept development, testing, re-design... did you know a child made up a game called Taco vs. Burrito? There are game-making kits you can buy or just use paper, cardboard, scissors, markers, and whatever you have at home to begin with. Be sure to link to my blog when your child creates the next award-winning game!