Homeschooling with board games only increases the level of fun involved with educating children at home, it can also vastly enhance the learning process. Learning should be an adventure filled journey of discovery.
Adding board games into the actual curriculum, and not simply regulating them into an hour or two slot on family game night will not only reinforce academic concepts, but increase cognitive and critical thinking skills – which are vital to the educational process.
Some homeschooling moms love how impactful playing board games to the learning process is, that times in their daily schedule are blocked out for it, and have given this educational activity its own official label: gameschooling.
Game play allows children the change to practice and build their skills in an interactive, no pressure, and non-judgmental manner.
Some games that offer learning opportunities are competitive, but others are designed for cooperative play where every participant works together to achieve a goal. There is character building and educational value in both types of games.
Learning through play is a tried and true way of both teaching new concepts and reinforcing existing ones.
The homeschooled child will surely make more cherished memories playing games with a sibling, parents, or homeschooling group member than they would sitting in a seat completing worksheet after frustrating worksheet attempting to master a task that is taught through game-based learning.
Education Concepts And Skills Taught Through Gameschooling
|History – Social Studies||Outdoor – Survival Skills|
|Creativity||How To Focus|
For Children Younger than 5
Science File Folder Games
This kit of file folder games include six different sets of colorful and color coded playing pieces, and folders that help preschool through first grade children learn about life science, physical science, Earth, and space.
Veggie Farm Sorting Game
Children learn to identify different types of vegetables and so much more with this interactive game. Preschool-aged children learn to match colors and like minded pieces while enhancing their counting skills as well.
The Veggie Farm Sorting Game features a colorful garden and farm theme playmat that closes up in a handy carrying case.
Preschool children can learn and practice their beginning math skills by balancing monkey counting figures on one side of a scale with a weighted corresponding number that is placed on the other side of the scale.
Monkey Balance includes 19 monkey figures, a scale, numbers, and double sided cards for matching play.
Sorting and Counting Dinosaur Game
Preschool-aged kids will practice their beginning math, color, and pattern skills by moving little dinosaurs into their proper place.
This Sorting And Counting Dinosaurs Game also helps little ones hone their fine motor skills.
The Ladybug Game
Preschool and kindergaten age children will especially love The Ladybug Game.
Players use emerging math skills to navigate around the attractive game board to help the little ladybugs find their way home.
Sight Words Pizza
Practicing and learning sight words is a lot more fun with this pizza themed game than it would be sitting in a chair doing worksheets or drilling with flashcards.
Sights Words Pizza is for one to four players and was designed to help build vocabulary, enhance memory, and improve phonics skills.
A total of 90 basic sight words and 30 advanced sight words are included in this cleverly designed pizza-themed board game.
This game for preschoolers teaches logic and reasoning skills as the players stop the bunnies from eating all of the carrots.
Memory skills and color recognition learning opportunities abound Bunny Hop, a fast-paced and interactive award winning dice and matching game.
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
Young children should be able to play Sneaky Snacky Squirrel independently after only a few minutes of instruction.
Using the oversized squirrel shaped tweezers, children move color coded acorns onto their tree stump individual game board to match the proper colors, and to completely fill the spaces before a sneaky competitor steals their acorns or they spin wrong, and lose a turn.
Player put on a plastic head band and slip a colorful card with an image into a slot on the front.
The cards include both the words that describe the image and a picture, so players as young as even three or four could enjoy playing the timed guessing games.
Hedbanz has 72 cards and add on expansion packs to keep the clues and guessing fun going for many, many rounds.
For 5 to 7 Year-Olds
This is yet another offerings from the same STEM board game manufacturer as the dinosaur variation.
Players ages roughly 4 to 7 must complete pattern challenges with the Snow White figures and plastic house “board” using their problem solving and spatial reasoning skills.
Challenge cards range from beginner to expert level.
Young children can learn about a wide array of scientific terms, inventions, and environments by playing this a classic bingo game and reading the facts on the backs of the Science Bingo cards.
Nature’s Food Chain Game
Children age 7 and older will learn about the food chain , the forest, and the important role plants of plants – as well as how the body uses food for energy.
The beautifully detailed cards in Nature’s Food Chain Game help make this an engaging and visually pleasing learning experience for 2 to 4 players at a time.
The Magic School Bus Magic Explosion Board Game
This STEM-infused game makes science a whole lot of fun for players five and up as they help Ms. Frizzle use strategy to make the volcano explode.
The reusable volcano is placed in a bowl in the middle of the game board, and comes with all but the most common household items needed to make the volcano erupt.
Who knew learning early math skills could be so fun? Apparently the creators of Sum Swamp.
Four players around the age of 5 and up learn and hone beginning math skills while navigating their swamp critter playing pieces through the murky swamp on the game board.
Mini Motor Math
Children age 5 to 7 learn and enhance basic math skills by rolling a dice, and moving their little cars along the roadway to the finish line.
Mini Motor Math also teaches matching, sorting, and pattern concepts.
Zingo Number Bingo – Children in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade can expand their counting and number recognition prowess playing this twist on the classic bingo game.
Zingo Number Bingo also comes in telling time, sight words, and word builder variations.
Farming Game For Kids
This child’s take on the popular adult game that was created by an actual farmer uses a farm theme to teach children beginning math skills while operating the agricultural business and getting their goods to market.
The game is often played by children ages three to nine but older children can enjoy the Farm Game Kids competition also thanks to the three levels of play that were written into this award winning board game.
Make a Splash
A colorful floor math serves as the game board in Make a Splash. Players age six and up practice their addition and subtraction skills to higher and higher levels as they use the mat and the inflatable cubes to solve problems.
Spring Flower Sight Words
Preschool age children will get a mini work out swinging the little fly swatters. Up to four players compete against each other to see who can swat the “insect” with the Spring Flower sight word that is called out first.
This game includes cards that list the 224 most common Dolch sight words. There are five playing levels so the game can grow with the children from kindergarten or first grade through third grade.
Players can participate in an American Trivia game session using either the junior side or the expert side of question cards. Four categories – geography, the arts, history, and general questions are posed throughout play.
Race Across America
This is a personalized game box and playing pieces that teach younger children about famous landmarks across the United States, but Race Across America is also a game the entire family can enjoy together.
The Candyland-style gameboard is colorful and easy to navigate, the box cover is customized with the name of the family, and the playing pieces can be personalized with the names of up to four players.
The Game Plan
This life and safety skills game was designed with younger children in mind but can be interactively enjoyed by the entire family.
Children ages roughly 4 to 10 will increase their critical thinking and strategy skills while solving challenges that help them make a Game Plan for life as they navigate behavior and personal safety choices.
Dinosaurs Mystic Island
This STEM-style game offers a different playing experience every time.
In Dinosaurs Mystic Island players roughly ages 6 to 9 use their logic, reasoning, and cognitive skills to complete challenges with the dinosaurs and movable game pattern pieces on the board.
Challenge cards range from beginner to expert level.
For Ages 8 and Up
Players learn about the growing cycle and nature while attempting to grow seeds and move their trees through the entire life cycle.
The players earn entry points from the growth the sun causes on the leaves in the Photosynthesis game while choosing both where and how to cultivate the trees.
This game is designed for two to four players age 8 and up.
In this fast paced game of logic, players ages 8 and up can go up against the Dr. Eureka board, or challenge their friends to complete the challenge cards using the 12 included tests tubes, and the 24 colorful balls.
This is another classic “board” game with staying power. While Boggle is designed for two players, one child can play against the time to beat their own prior scores, as well.
You simply shake the cube that is filled with letters, and then race the hourglass to find as many words as you can before your time is up.
The recommended age to play Boggle is 8, but younger children with strong reading and spelling games can enjoy playing a round, as well.
STEM Family Battle
Children roughly age 10 and up can play alone or team up against an adult to maneuver around traps, secret spaces, and sneaky shortcuts by answering STEM questions that also reference pop culture tidbits, and video games.
Children roughly age 10 and up use planning, strategy, logic, and reasoning skills using a laser, the game board, and challenge cards to complete Lazer Maze problems.
The companion Circuit Maze and Gravity Maze games also offer hands-on science learning experiences for children in the same age bracket.
Each 20 minute round for one to four players teaches children about the herbs that grow around them and what they can be used for in Herbaceous.
The Sprouts variations of the game teaches players plant identification.
Mental math takes a magical turn in Proof! Two to six players ages nine and up compete via number cards to solve division, multiplication, subtraction, addition, and square root problems in a magical and creative manner.
The game rules allow for adaptation so younger children can join in the fun, as well.
In Pet Me, math skills game players travel to a cool dog park and use their multiplication and division skills to solve problems and maneuver around the colorful and cute puppy-filled board.
This fun-filled game enhances the math skills of the players as they look at the cards they are given and add them up to $100, unless a “thief” snatches their dough of they end up with a jail card.
The active “thieving” in the game will keep the kiddos giggling as they learn.
This old-fashioned game is a classic that simply will never go out of style.
In addition to learning how to spell words, children can increase their vocabulary by learning words that others use their tiles to create – while applying strategy to the placement of the letters in their possession.
Scrabble comes in travel-size or full-size versions, some versions with a rotating tray for ease of play.
The traditional game is designed for up to four players at least eight and up, but Scrabble Jr. can be enjoyed by younger children – and even those up to the age of twelve, as well.
Trekking The National Parks
Even if you cannot travel to every national park in the United States, you can still enjoy what they have to offer virtually by playing Trekking The National Parks.
In this multiple top awards winning game older children, teens, and even adults learn about the history and facts of the parks in a game created by parents who travel them all and worked with their board game designed son to make this beautifully detailed and inspirational game.
Ticket to Ride
This is a fabulous game for children age 8 and up. Ticket to Ride has won numerous awards over the years, and is simple enough to learn how to play in 15 minutes or less.
The two to five players must compete to see who can travel to the most places in America in just seven days – as a nod to Fogg’s “Around the World in 80 Days.”
A $1 million prize is at stake as players draw cards and move miniature railroad train cars around the simplistic but highly detailed game board.
Ticket to Ride hones strategy, memory, critical thinking, and reasoning skills – while having blast.
If you have a future firefighter in your family Flash Point might be the perfect cooperative board game to teach them more about the career – as well as increases their cognitive skills, decision making ability, and critical thinking prowess.
Flash Point is designed for one to four players and includes both a basic and advanced mode that is challenging even for teenagers and adults.
In the game the players must rescue between seven to 10 victims while dealing with wall collapses, a raging fire, explosions, smoke, and even hazmat scenarios.
In the basic mode all of the Flash Point characters possess the same basic skills and abilities, but in the advanced mode each player garners “Action Points” to use during their turn at putting out the fire and taking care of obstacles.
Children will probably have so much fun playing Super Sleuth that won’t realize they are actually in the middle of a vocabulary lesson.
Children roughly ages 9 to 12 will work to solve more than 180 mysteries using their homophones, antonyms, synonyms, and multiple-meaning vocabulary skills to earn various badges after arming themselves with a special decoder card and game guide.
Game Of The States
In this fast paced game up to four players either aged six to seven in the junior edition (or 8 and up in the standard edition) move they tractor trailer trucks across the United States.
The players buy truck items in one state, and move then to another state to market.
Game of States includes STEM facts about each of the 50 states in the Union. The winner is the player who removes all of the packages from the game board, and ends up with the most money.
Way Back When In History
Children as young as eight can enjoy playing this American history based game with peers or against their parents. Odds are, anyone playing Way Back In History will learn something new.
The game moves players through four different stages of United States history – if they can answer the true or false, multiple choice, or fill in the blank questions to pass each time period.
Players must use their prediction skills to answer multiple choice vocabulary questions.
The Word Waffle player who holds onto the most tokens wins, but each time you predict wrong you must take a token from your plate, and give it back to the kitchen.
Players will build their vocabulary and cognitive skills when playing a fast-paced game of After Words. They must match a word for each of their category cards using the letter that is currently in play before the timer runs out.
The levels of play available in this game also make it a popular fun learning choice for older children and adults.
Camp Board Game
Children age 8 to adult will learn a lot not only about nature but the great outdoors and everything that grows and roams there in the Camp Board Game.
Lewis & Clark
Players must learn how to manage natural resources, and navigate dangerous obstacles while forging a path through the wilderness to the Pacific Ocean, just as Lewis & Clark did when helping to map out our great land.
The artwork in the game is outstanding, and will captivate young and old alike.
This award winner also features amazing artwork that will bring the tales of the Old West back to life in the Western Legends board game.
Players will use their intuitive skills to make choices while learning about the Old West, and the men and women who helped tame it.
For Ages 10 and Up
Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game
Players age 10 and up learn about enzymes, cell biology, proteins, receptors, hormones, DNA, carbohydrates, lipids, and mRNA when playing this strategic Cytosis board game.
Both children roughly age 10 and up as well as adults can learn more about the intriguing world of chemistry when playing Fluxx.
The game teaches players how elements both combine and interact. You never truly play the same game twice.
This game was created by a child for other children to learn to love to play. A little boy named Byron was only six years old when he created the game during an extended hospital stay.
His love for geography sparked a two player game that not only children seven and up, but the entire family can enjoy.
The 205 attractive Continent Race “country cards” are used as a memory and knowledge challenge when they are matched to their respective continent.
A player will use communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills if they become the victor in the 2019 Game of the Year award winner.
Players age 10 and up use the double sided game board and a 12-sided dice to hone their knowledge of the election process, United States geography, multiplication, addition, as well as the workings of the Electoral College.
Two stacks of strategy cards guide the up to players along their path to victory… and to the White House. Election Night was the winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Award, the 2019 Parents Choice Gold Award, among many other board game honors.
Children age 8 and up must use strategy to both make and break codes on this compact and portable raised playing board.
There are more than 2,000 possible code combinations in Mastermind, making the playing experience an entirely new one each time two people go head to head in competition.
Context Clues Pirate Treasure
Players have to read and answer story cards correctly to help guide them to find the Pirate Treasure, and then answer one final question before they get the gold.
Players must draw conclusions as they search for food, water, and life saving supplies so they can survive life on a deserted island in Shipwrecked.
The game is designed with multiple level playing cards so children of varying ages and adults can all join in the fun.
This beloved classic board game has educated and entertained both children and adults for over 60 years.
Children age 10 and up go on the conquest together using strategy and their memory to play Risk one of five ways to defeat enemy forces.
This was one of my childhood favorite board games. Although Taboo is designed for children age 13 and up, I started playing it around the age of 10.
In this fast paced game that tests your memory and logic skills, up to four players compete against each other and the buzzer to describe an item on the card without using any of the forbidden words.
Taboo is an excellent game for teaching synonyms and increasing vocabulary skills in upper elementary or middle school age children.
Players must use their logic and reasoning skills in Dinosaur Escape as they work together to escape the island. This game is often a favorite with dinosaur fans ages 9 to 14.
One to six players ages 10 and up will enjoy this strategic card and board game for at least an hour each time they play.
This is a cooperative game that has varying rules so the Castle Panic experience can be customized for specific age levels.
Knot So Fast
Players will not only learn how to tie a variety of useful knots but must think quickly on their feet and hone their detertiy and memory skills to beat the clock or other players in Knot So Fast.
Beginner to expert challenges and rope for knot tying is included in this game that is suitable for children ages 10 to adult.
This award winning game guides settlers with an adventurous mindset to travel to the isle of Catan and tame it. The three to four players age 10 and up venture into the fields, harbors, deserts, mountains, pastures, and forests of Catan to claim the area as their own.
Each time you play Catan a distinctively new adventure begins. Expansion packs that can be used with this award winning game are also readily available online – each offering a new type of environment to discover.
You must learn to think fast on your feet if you are going to win a round of this classic board game. Each round of Scattegories begins with a single word and phrase such as “table” and “Things made out of wood.”
Each player has exactly two minutes to list as many things that start with the letters in the word wood that are also made out of wood.
When the sand in the hourglass runs out the players compare lists and receive one point for every unique answer they wrote down. If two people choose the same word no one gets the point.
Scattergories is designed for ages 12 and up but my parents taught me how to play when I was only nine – making me earn every single win.
For Ages 12 and Up
In Ecosystem, players age 14 and up learn about the natural environment of wild animals, and earn rewards for their strategic decisions related to environmental diversity and sustainability.
I have … Who Has?
This fast paced game is largely language arts based but also infuses some math skills in the fun. Players must be able to think quickly and retain the previous answers given in the game to be able to respond correctly each time a new question is asked in I Have … Who Has?
We The People Fight Tyranny
This game for teens and adults is both informative and fun. We The People Fight Tyranny teaches our nation’s history from the perspective of the Founding Fathers and puts the topics within the context of our modern world.
Players will learn the difference between big and small government, about states rights, and many more important founding principals by rolling the dice and answering the questions on the history, “Big Brother,” and social justice cards.
Each player is issued a federal ID card and a playing piece at the beginning of the game.
How to Choose the Right Games for Your Homeschooled Kids
There are so many valuable fun learning games to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which ones are best for your children. While it would be wonderful to rush out and buy them out, doing so will simply not be budget friendly.
Before clicking the “add to cart” feature to purchase a new educational homeschooling board game, ask yourself the following questions:
How Many Players Can Be Involved at One Time?
If you are homeschooling just one child, choosing a game that requires multiple players will limit when he or she can play. Some games on this list, as well as many other quality educational games can be played alone.
While it is fun to play board games with your children, it is also quite awesome to allow the child or children to engage in the activity independently while you are accomplishing other tasks or working one-on-one with a child of a different age.
If you have a large family, seeking out games that can accommodate more than 4 or 6 players or that can be adapted for team play, will be highly advantageous.
What Are the Age Recommendations?
Age recommendations are just that, recommendations. You know your children better than anyone else. Read the board game box and reviews of people playing it so you can better judge if it is a fit for your younger or older child.
If you have an 8 year old who loves science, odds are that a game recommendation for ages 10 and up will both entertain and sufficiently challenge her knowledge.
How Long Will It Take to Play the Game?
Knowing the answer to this question will help you to better plan your homeschooling daily and weekly schedules.
Some board games detail length of play on the box or in a product listing. If not, check out online reviews of the game for an answer. You will likely find others who have already posed the same query.
How Long Will It Take to Play the Game?
Do you hate games that come with lackluster or extremely confusing directions? I know I do. Reviews of the game should help you determine both the quality of the directions, and how long it takes to teach a child of the recommended age to play.
If you still want more guidance on the game directions and ease of play, check YouTube for video reviews, unboxing videos, and perhaps even a round of the game actually being played by either children, adults, or both.
Does the Game Have Staying Power?
Many board games are definitely not cheap when purchased new. Before spending your hard earned money, check reviews to see how long children actually chose to keep playing the game.
If the child grabbed the game on their own frequently even if it was not on the homeschooling schedules, it was a big hit.
Nearly all of the offerings on our gameschooling list were designed for varying game experiences each time they are played, which is also an important fact to consider when hoping the game you buy will not induce boredom after the handful of times.
When planning your homeschooling year consider starting a gameschooling wish list on a website like Amazon, Fat Brain Toys, or Board Game Geek so you have a detailed list all ready to go when adding more board games to your homeschool fits your weekly or monthly budget.
My parents always included a board game, book, and puzzle in our Christmas gifts every year and every birthday, and I am now continuing that tradition with my own grandchildren.
Giving board games as gifts is a superb way to bolster up the gameschooling options and give a present that has the capability of creating many lasting childhood memories as the siblings or entire family gathers around to play.
The first round of any new game in our house always began with a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and an ice cold Coke.
I cannot help but savor the memory of the cookie smell, and the image of all of us gathered around the recreational room table every time I buy a new board game for an adult child or grandchild.
Cool board games do not have to come in new condition and straight from a store. As long as you check the box for instructions (I LOVE games that have the directions printed right on the inside of the box lid) and all playing pieces.
You can disinfect nearly any game sold at a yard sale, flea market, Craigslist, eBay, etc. and have a lovely new learning game to add to your collection for a fraction of the price of a new one.
I have never once known a child to have less fun or learn fewer skills when playing with a gently used game instead of a brand new one from the local big box store.
The more they play, the more the children will learn… and have a blast doing it.