best educational games for kids, best games for kids, best board games for kids,

Top 10: Best Fun & Educational Board Games

Best Educational Board Games for Kids

First of all, I want to confess that I am not a board game person. I do occasionally get forced into playing board games with my kids so I am familiar with some of these games but it’s always a balancing act to play with them as I am asked to modulate my play: “Play hard against me, mom, but not too hard. You’re playing too easy against me.” And my youngest freaks out if he loses so I always have to keep that into consideration. Should I let him win to keep him from throwing a nutty? Or is it good to teach him to lose gracefully? Is he even capable of losing gracefully? Is this a lesson best learned on the soccer field? This is not fun for me.

My other issue with board games is that my kids (at least the girls) used to deconstruct every board game into pretend “cookies” and put any play money into toy wallets and purses. Then, I would spend hours in the playroom trying to reassemble the games such that all the pieces were in their proper box. This also was not fun for me. I also wish I were not so anal as to actually care that the pieces were back in their boxes but that’s another issue.

There are other families I know that have a weekly board game night and it’s a fun time by all. I’m not sure we are that type of family. We’re probably too competitive; I blame my husband’s gene pool. So, I had to dig a little deep for this post. Once when I was the room parent for my older daughter’s Kindergarten class, we had to put together a “basket of board games” from our class for our school auction as the class room contribution. Every family purchased their favorite game to put in the basket. I was in charge of said basket and had to collect the games plus guard against duplication. Some of those games made this list. I also asked my mom squad; those who actually know a thing or two about games. Finally, my kids’ amazing Kindergarten teacher who is an EXPERT on educational games weighs in with her two favorites. I trust her opinion!

Please leave me a comment with games that you enjoy playing with your kids! Thanks!

10. Dog-opoly

A fun version of Monopoly which is great for learning about money, both counting it and investment strategies! DesignTrackMind loves this game. We also noticed versions of this game by dog breed and also a puppy version.

9. The Allowance Game

Teaches kids about money. We got this game as a birthday present as my kids both like this game. (Of course, they only played it a few times before the money all went into wallets and was soon lost).

8. Sorry

My eldest’s favorite game.

7. Mousetrap

Great for budding mechanical engineers! My youngest asked for this game for Christmas. I think he plays this at school or on playdates.

6. Rush Hour

Teaches logic and problem solving. My childhood friend gave this to us. She loves to play it with her nephew

5. Pegs in the Park

My son’s amazing Kindergarten teacher’s new favorite game. I am getting it for my son

4. CountDown

My Kindergarten son loves this math game. It also built in differentiation so it can morph from an addition game to subtraction and multiplication. I love that it’s a wooden toy!

3. Bananagrams

A Mom Friend told me about this one. She calls it “speed scrabble.”

2. Zingo!

Teaches word recognition. Perfect for preschoolers! I actually love this game. Kids also love this sliding plastic dispenser.

1. Learning Resource Money Bags A Coin Value Game

Learning about money has never been so fun! Great for K-3rd grade! DesignTrackMind recommended this one. Learning coin value through a board game is genius! It’s coming to my house this Christmas. I just ordered it.

Honorable Mentions

Sleeping Queens, $10

A fun card game that uses Knights, Kings, Queens, Wands, Jesters and Sleeping Potions in order to wake up sleeping queens. It also sneaks in addition and subtraction in two ways. Queens can be earned when woken and each queen has a point value which is also a multiple of 5. Adding up the queens is a skip counting exercise of 5′s and 10′s. There are also number cards. If you can make the number cards add or subtract into a number sentence, you can switch out the cards to hopefully win powerful Face cards.

My kids love this game and at first I thought the rules seemed complicated but after a few rounds, it all starts to make sense and feel pretty intuitive.


Connect Four

Logical reasoning and strategy.

Gobblet Jr.

3-D Tic Tac Toe

PayDay

A great recommendation from a reader. Like The Allowance Game to teach about money

Orchard

A recommendation from a reader. Great for preschoolers!

Quick Chess (for beginning chess players)

This is a simplified chess game for kids that breaks down the game into smaller games featuring just a few of the chess pieces. It has two boards. One board has fewer squares than the traditional board; this is the side you use to learn the game piece by piece.

The other side has the traditional chess board and I love how the back rows are labeled since I always get confused on how to set up the game.

Traintastic Cargo Game by Chuggington

This is a great game for preschoolers ages 3 and up who love trains. It’s a fun game of of memory, pattern matching and discovery!

Other recommendations from a Twitter friend: Apples2Apples, Blokus, GuessWho, Mancala, Mastermind.

Great Non Board Games From Readers: What’s Gnu?, Set, Uno, Yahtzee, Yamado

 

p.s. My Holiday Gift Guides are all here.  Popular ones include:

Gift Guide: Best Toys for Math and Science

Gift Guide: Best Toys for Arty Kids

Gift Guide: Toys to Get Kids Reading More

Gift Guide: Best Active Toys

Top 10: Best Fun and Educational Board Games

Gift Guide: Musical Toys for Kids

 

To examine any game more closely at Amazon, please click on image of game.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

29 Comments

  1. Great list. Zingo is an all time fave in our house as well! Also we discovered Orchard this past year which is a great game for preschoolers (tough to find good games for the little ones, I have found). I’m always on the hunt for new games so I will definitely check out some of these others!

  2. Great list! Also, Pay Day (kind of like Allowance) and Set.

  3. Tarrah

    i am a Don’t Break the Ice girl!

  4. Lee Andrese

    This is great! I was wondering what board games to get my niece that are educational, and here they are. Thanks.

  5. Kris

    THANKS for the nod:-)

  6. Oh, yes, the long hours with family playing “Sorry”….thanks for bringing back great memories!

  7. I second the motion about Haba’s Orchard game. My kids are 5 and 7 and they still enjoy it, although it makes a perfect “first game” for 3 year olds too.

    Haba’s animal Yahtzee is popular at our house, as is Uno. (Wait… those two don’t have a BOARD, exactly. Are they still board games?)

    • Thanks so much for your great suggestions. I just added them to my post! My oldest was also asking me for Set, a card game, so it was easy to add in a new category! Thank you again!!!

  8. great list – thanks!

  9. P.S. We have this Melissa and Doug game, Hide the Puppies, that the girls LOVE but it’s not a board game.

  10. These are great! I put a few into my Amazon kid gift idea list. We LOVE Yahtzee here. My daughter is also in love with Apples to Apples.

  11. Gina

    Ohhh, I’m so glad to find your list! I’d love this game!

  12. Jen

    I love board games! Santa always brings a board game at Christmas which is difficult as they don’t sell them in English here in Japan. Thanks for this list it will really help!
    Jen recently posted…What are you reading Wednesday?My Profile

  13. Great idea’s! Re-posted onto my FB fan page! I also would add the old favorite, Operation, fine motor skills always need developing!

  14. Really I liked your article and I personally feel that games are not only a source of entertainment but can help parents and teachers to teach most complex topics to the children with very less effort and lots of fun.
    Zeeshan recently posted…Games for Kids with AutismMy Profile

  15. I love watching my kids play Rush Hour- great game for them to do by themselves while I’m cooking. We love Bananas- good game for bilingual families, and Blockus too. Such a great list!
    Becky recently posted…Win a Trip to Belize from Little Passports (and Learn about Belize)!My Profile

  16. Great list! Have you ever played any SimplyFun games? Bank It is our family favorite! Check them out and I bet some of the games will be on your next favorite list! http://www.simplyfun.com/georgia

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