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 classroom contribution. Every family purchased their favorite game to put in the basket. I was in charge of the 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!
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).
My eldest’s favorite game.
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
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!
A Mom Friend told me about this one. She calls it “speed scrabble.”
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.
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.
Logical reasoning and strategy.
3-D Tic Tac Toe
A great recommendation from a reader. Like The Allowance Game to teach about money
A recommendation from a reader. Great for preschoolers!
Quick Chess (for beginning chess players)
This is a simplified chess game for kids that break 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 chessboard and I love how the back rows are labeled since I always get confused about 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 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:
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.