One of my favorite things to do to break up the monotony of a school day is to pull out a toy or game.
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. In fact, when we studied ancient history Playmobil mummies and pharaohs were a huge hit!
At the end of every school year, I go through our resources and clean out what we no longer need or use. If I’m planning on saving the resources for a younger child I’ll pop them in storage and with other resources, I’ll donate, sell or trade with another homeschool mom.
However, doing that with board games is nearly impossible.
Board games are an essential part of our homeschooling life.
As a result, wherever I can I try and include games in our school week. After all, wouldn’t you rather play a game than do a math drill?
Over the years we’ve discovered a lot of games. Many of which have gone onto become family favorites. I therefore decided to put together a long overdue list to help others looking for educational games as part of a homeschool curriculum.
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.
Even little ones (5 and up) can use these pieces. (1-4 players)
2. 10 Days in…
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)
3. 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)
4. 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)
6. Rush Hour
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 and is great for visual perception skills.
Set can be played by young children (ages 5 and up) and requires a minimum of 2 players.
It’s a basic game with limited pieces and is small so can be taken on trips or played in the car, on the plane or on a train.
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.
This is one of our favorite games for family nights and is suitable for between 2 and 4 players.
Another game that is often requested when we get together with friends is Sequence.
This game is perfect for children (7 and up) and adults.
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!)