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Keeping the family entertained while you’re at home is no easy task. You’re trying to combat boredom, limit screen time, and promote learning – all while you try to keep family relations as harmonious as possible!
If you’re looking for an educational board game for kids, we’ve found some to suit every age group. Our overall pick out of this list of best educational board games is Twister. We love it because it can be played by every member of the family, regardless of their age. Not only that, but the learning opportunities also are more than you would expect. From basic colors and left and right knowledge to social skills and gross motor development, Twister is an all-round winner!
- Our Top Picks for the Best Educational Board Games
- Best Overall – Twister
- Best for Very Young Children – Wooden Matching Game
- Best for Early School Age – Connect Four
- Best for Middle Schoolers – Upwords
- Best for Teenagers – uDog
- What to Consider When Buying an Educational Board Game
- Frequently Asked Questions
Related post: Best STEM Books for Kids of All Ages
Our Top Picks for the Best Educational Board Games
Does Twister count as an educational game? Absolutely it does and here’s why.
Twister can be played by every member of the family, regardless of age, and each player will learn something different while they play. Very little ones can practice their colors, young kids can learn their left from their right, and older ones can develop everything from analytical skills to problem-solving strategies.
Twister is a great opportunity to practice social skills like taking turns and sportsmanship and every player will learn something about flexibility, coordination, and balance!
There aren’t many games that are equally challenging for each member of the family, but this one will put everyone to the test. There’s no limit on how many people can play and this is the large family version of the game, so there’s room for the whole tribe.
It comes with a Twister mat, spinner, and instructions. For anyone who hasn’t played before, the plastic mat has rows of colored circles and the spinner tells players where to put each hand or foot (eg, right hand on blue). With every turn you take, you get more twisted, and the last player left in position wins. It’s good family fun and your kids will be learning without even knowing it!
There’s nothing complicated about this beautifully made game and that’s what makes it perfect for very young children. This Wooden Matching Game will have your kids developing their concentration skills as they focus on remembering where each picture is on the board.
The images are covered by cute wooden pieces and each player takes turns to lift two pieces at a time. When they match two pictures they keep their pieces and the winner is the one who has collected the most at the end of the game. Young players will have to focus to remember where they saw the matching pictures, and the game is also perfect for developing problem-solving skills and practicing fine motor development.
There are 12 differently themed picture cards in this game which means you can change it up a bit to keep kids interested. The reversible cards include animals, flags, colors, transport, musical instruments, letters, numbers, fruits, vegetables, toys, and objects. The game is aimed at very young children, but older siblings and parents could easily join in!
There will be plenty of opportunities to ask your young players questions like why they think two pictures match or what’s different about two images.
Connect Four is one of those games you could play for a few minutes or for an hour. It’s a simple game, but there’s a lot of educational opportunities from maths skills to strategy to problem-solving.
Two players each have a set of colored discs which they take turns putting into the slots of a grid. The aim is to get four of your colored discs in a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Younger players will be able to manage this challenge and older siblings will be happy to play too.
There are more educational benefits to this game than you might first realize. Probability is another skill your kids will work on (thinking about where their opponent might place their disc) as well as spatial reasoning and of course, fine motor skills. The simple games often have the most benefits, even if the players don’t realize it at the time.
There’s nothing fancy about the set up of this game. It’s a standard plastic grid frame with plastic discs. That’s all you need for this one though and I wouldn’t expect anything more from the price bracket. Lots of fun and a real challenge!
This one has been around for a while but there’s a reason it’s a classic. For those unfamiliar with Upwords, it’s like a 3D version of Scrabble. There’s an 8 x 8 game board unit and each player has a tile rack and their share of 64 letter tiles. Not only can you make words going across ways, but you can also stack them upwards.
Put your tiles on top of words already in play to make new words. The higher you go, the more points you score so the game gets more intense the longer you play! It’s great for developing your child’s vocabulary and playing around with phonics, spelling, rhyming, and the way our words are put together.
There are a few versions of this game on the market and this one looks like it’s come straight from the 1980s. I like its cool retro vibe and the plastic board and tile racks only add to its appeal. It feels solid though and the tiles fit nicely in their rack and on the game board. It caters for between two and four players, so it’s perfect for a family game at home. If you’d like to expose your kids to a heap of new words, this is definitely the game for you!
At first glance, this game seems easy enough – move your marbles around the board and attempt to be the one who gets all their marbles home first. It’s so much more than that though. uDog is a mix of board game and card game and the real fun is in the strategy.
Your moves around the board are determined by the cards you have, but while you’re doing that you also form teams with other players. The strategy is a big part of this game and you’ll be surprised how competitive it gets. Teens will love it and they won’t even know that they’re working on their analytical and problem-solving skills.
The board itself is made of timber and all the pieces are quite durable, so this game set should last your family for a long time. The board set up depends on how many players you have. You can play with only two players, but it’s more fun when you increase the numbers to four, six, or eight players.
One of the best things about uDog is the level of complexity involved. You can start off simple when you’re learning how it all works, but watch how quickly the game gets complicated when you’re all trying different strategic options. This will keep teenagers entertained for hours!
What to Consider When Buying an Educational Board Game
Age of Players
The age and skill level of the people playing the game should be your number one factor when choosing a learning board game. An educational board game for kindergarten players will be very different from something you’d choose for teenagers. Think about the stage of education they’re up to and what their learning priorities might be.
Very young children might enjoy a game where they have to identify letters, but older children may like something quite challenging like Scrabble. If you have children of very different ages at home but you’d like them to play together, you might like to choose a game that’s suitable for the whole family.
Clear Rules or Instructions
Kids’ board games need to be relatively easy to understand with clear rules and instructions. If the game is too complicated, children will lose interest very quickly. Of course, games can become more complicated as the players get older and are better able to understand complex directions.
Early childhood games or board games for toddlers will need to be very simple though. Another benefit of clear rules is there is less likely to be family squabbles. Make sure everyone is on the same page before the game starts because nothing ruins a game faster than an argument over who is not playing fairly!
It’s great if your children are learning while playing a board game but it also has to be fun. If the game is not enjoyable and challenging it will probably end up gathering cobwebs before too long. Whether you’re looking for an educational board game for elementary students, something for high schoolers, or a game for very little players, make sure they’re going to have fun while they play it. Fun means different things to different people so try to choose something that will interest your kids.
Younger players might like a game that is funny with lots of laughs while older kids might enjoy a bit of strategy in their gameplay. Make it fun and they’ll learn without even knowing it!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an educational board game?
An educational board game is any game where kids are learning while they play. Some games may target maths or literacy skills while others might focus on problem-solving or strategy. Games are a great learning tool because children are having fun while they develop new skills. The learning might be quite explicit (a game might require them to practice their multiplication tables) or it could be incidental (learning social skills while they wait for their turn). It’s great if the game is fun as well as educational because kids will be more likely to play for longer or keep coming back to play again.
What are the benefits of educational board games?
The most obvious benefit is that children will be learning new things or practicing skills they are already developing. This is excellent, but there are plenty more benefits to playing an educational board game. They’re a great way to spend time together as a family or to develop relationships between siblings. Board games are a perfect option to alleviate boredom and keep kids busy. Playing a game requires the use of social skills so many children will benefit from practice in this area. And quite simply, board games are a lot of fun. They’re a great way to have a laugh with your loved ones!
How many people should play?
That’s completely up to you and the game you choose! Some games are designed for two players while others can involve the whole family! Some games can involve only one player and others are flexible about how many people can join. There are benefits to all these games – solo games develop concentration and may target things like patience and analytical skills. Games for multiple players are excellent for developing teamwork, sportsmanship, and strategy. Think about what you want to get out of a game and whether you want to develop independent play or foster family relationships. There’s a game out there to suit every purpose!
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Last update on 2020-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API