One of my favorite things to break up the monotony of a school day is to pull out a game or toy.It's so much fun to take a break from the books and open a new package of Playmobil toys for history. (Yes, I buy toys with our homeschooling money!) When we studied ancient history Playmobil mummies and pharaohs were a huge hit! And don't get me started on board games - it's a yearly challenge to clean out the game cupboard and part with even one game! Whenever I can I try to include games in our school week. Wouldn't you rather play a game than do math drill?
Over the years we've discovered some games that we have just loved and they've become favorites for family and friends as well. The following is a list of our top ten must-have games.
Homeschooling fun and family game night
With the games below I've included ages and some basic descriptions so you can get an idea of what might fit your family's needs. While some games aren't typically considered 'educational', teaching logic and strategy skills are still important. Many of the best games are great at teaching those skills.
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Tangoes are a twist on Chinese tangrams. There are 2 sets of 7 playing pieces that are used to create designs and animals with the included cards. You can play individually, in teams, or just for fun. It's a great tool for visual perception and creative thinking. (And they travel great too!)
Even little ones (5 and up) can use these pieces. (1-4 players)
10 Days in .... games
We love this series of games! Family game night often includes at least one round - 10 Days in Europe is my favorite.
Your goal in each game is to complete a 10-day journey (through the Americas, Europe, Asia, or Africa) using various modes of transportation and connecting your countries. While the strategy involved excludes young children, kids 10 and up will learn a lot from these games. (2-4 players)
Settlers of Catan
I asked for Settlers of Catan as a Christmas gift last year and it's become another family favorite.
It's a wonderful game of strategy for older kids (ages 10 and up) and adults. The goal of the game is to earn 10 victory points (doesn't seem like much but it really is!) through creating settlements and trading with other players. It is definitely a game of skill. (3-4 players)
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is another family favorite. Whenever we get together with friends this game is the first one that gets pulled out.
Your goal in the game is to collect and connect train routes, earning points for the routes you create. It's lots of fun (and hard if there are 5 of you playing). It's fun for kids ages 8 and up. (2-5 players)
Word games can be lots of fun and Bananagrams is a great choice, even for younger kids (ages 7 and up). The goal of the game is to create crossword-style word puzzles with your tiles and use all your letter tiles up before your opponent. (2+ players)
If you need some independent games, Rush Hour is a great choice. It teaches logic skills with a small grid, some plastic cards, and a deck of cards. It's fun for kids 8 and older. (1-2 players)
Blokus is another puzzle-style game. Using a variety of square-shaped pieces, your goal is to fit as many of your pieces as possible into the grid, taking turns with other players and blocking them, if you can. It's a great strategy game for kids, even young ones (5 and up). (2-4 players)
This simple game is so much fun. Whenever I pull it out with my girlfriends it's always a hit. For some reason, I can't say the same for the guys I know. None of them really care for this one and every one of them finds it very difficult. I guess it shows that men and women do think differently.
Set can even be played by young children (ages 5 and up). Great for visual perception skills. (2+ players)
This game is fun for everyone (kids 8 and up). Using a set of numbered tiles, the goal of Rummikub is to create runs and sets of numbers and use up your tiles before your opponents. Another family favorite! (2-4 players)
Another game that is often requested when we get together with friends, Sequence is fun for all ages (7 and up). The goal is to create sequences of numbers, using the included cards and chips. It's especially fun to play in teams (three teams of six is a very fun & loud game!). (2+ players)
Games + Homeschooling = Fun!
There you have it - our favorite family games. When we pull out a board game to play it's almost always one of the games listed above. Perhaps you'll find a new family favorite for your own game night!
Do you include games and toys in your school day? Tell me your favorites - our game cupboard isn't quite full enough!