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Christmas is just around the corner, and the scramble to find the perfect gift for each of your loved ones has begun.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt that a gift that benefits a child’s education is a better gift than one that is just for fun and gives momentary pleasure (and often breaks and is tossed away!).
The cool thing is that toy manufacturers are catching on to this idea too and making toys that are educational as well as fun! We can give a gift that makes our children happy and they’ll be learning something while they play without even realizing it!!
Games are great educational gifts for children of all ages. We often played educational games to learn concepts in the various subjects during our homeschool years. We also regularly had “Learning Station Day” where all we did was play games and do fun things at the different educational stations I spread around the house. (to learn more about having your own “Station Day” see this blog post “Beating the Winter Doldrums”)
Preschoolers up through elementary aged children can learn much of what they need to learn in school through playing educational games! Middle school and High Schoolers will learn and have skills reinforced while playing educational games. It’s such a fun way to learn and children will want to play some games over and over, helping them memorize facts and information in a fun and exciting way!
Another benefit of playing games together is the family bonding that happens. Of course, there might be some conflicts too, but that just provides an opportunity to teach conflict resolution skills, right?
Playing games teaches good sportsmanship where you can help your children learn to be good losers as well. Our children need to learn to be happy for someone else’s success, and games are a great way to teach that.
Games help children to learn to take turns, to have healthy competition, and they can also learn to make tough choices and plan ahead.
Today I want to share with you some games that you can use in your homeschool to make learning more fun!
This isn’t just for homeschoolers though, because all children will benefit from having these educational games in their home. Some of these were favorites of ours (and we even still play them!) and others come highly recommended.
At this age, the educational focus should be on building gross and fine motor skills and teaching them the basics with their letters and numbers. Here are a few great resources to do that:
Learning Resources ABC & 123 Picnic Activity Set:
for ages 3+, a picnic board with numbers on one side and letters on the other and lots of fun games and activities to play while learning numbers and letters. A fun way to teach the letters and numbers.
Learning Resources Alphabet Island A Letter & Sounds Game: ages 4+, A fun island adventure game where players compete to see who can match the lower and upper case letters first while avoiding the hungry sharks! A fun challenge!
Smart Snacks Sorting Shapes Cupcakes Game: ages 3+, teaches shape recognition, matching and following directions. Great fun!
Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set: ages 3+, great for the creative child who likes to build things. Teaches sorting, grouping, design, counting, and construction and builds fine motor skills.
Learning Resources Beads and Patterns: ages 3+, great for fine motor skills, matching patterns and building pre-reading and math skills.
Math is a subject that has a lot of memorization, and playing games is a great way to do memory work painlessly!
Learning Resources POP for Addition and Subtraction Game: ages 6+, a fun game where children practice basic math facts, two levels of play and three game variations (2-4 players).
Hi-Ho Cherry-O Game: ages 3-6, great fun picking fruit and filling baskets while learning math facts.
Learning Wrap-Ups Math Intro Kit: ages 6+, a fun way to memorize math facts for engaging drill work in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and pre-algebra. There are learning wrap-ups for almost every subject – check them out as well!
Sum Swamp Addition & Subtraction Game: Grades K+, Kids go on an adventure through a swamp while practicing their math facts by adding and subtracting numbers on the dice.
Tenzi Dice Game: ages 7+, An amazing dice game that can be played in 77 different ways to teach many of the math skills your children need.
40 Fabulous Math Mysteries Kids Can’t Resist: Grades 4-8, math mystery stories that give your children a chance to practice math problem solving skills.
Language Arts Games:
Language arts concepts need a lot of reinforcement, and games are a wonderful way to help build those skills while having fun!
Learning Resources Snap It Up! Phonics: Word Families: ages 6+, a face-paced card game that gives children practice with reading skills.
Learning Resources Go To Press! A Grammar Game: ages 7+, children will complete a newspaper by moving from department to department, practicing their spelling, word usage, capitalization, and punctuation!
Super Silly Mad Libs Junior: ages 7+, these are a great way to reinforce parts of sentences in a fun and silly way!
Learning Resources Get the Picture Reading Comprehension Game: ages 7+, helps students learn to find the main idea in short paragraphs while unscrambling a mystery picture. Also uses multiple choice questions that help your student will see on standardized tests.
Code Names: ages 14+, an exciting game to build vocabulary and word association skills, even adults love this game!
Apples to Apples Junior: ages 9+, a fun word game that will have everyone laughing! Builds reading skills and word association.
Pop for Sight Words Game: ages 5+, a great way to help students become more fluent in reading sight words. There are two levels and other reading type games in the Pop Game Series.
Bananagrams: ages 7+, similar to scrabble without the board, a fun spelling challenge.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Ages 10+, Children learn their geography facts while having fun trying to locate Carmen on the world board.
Passport to Culture Game: ages 10+, Exciting travel game where players circle the globe while testing their knowledge of world cultures.
Jax Sequence States and Capitals: ages 8+, similar to the regular game of Sequence only players are traveling the USA instead!
Ticket to Ride: ages 9+, travel the globe to complete train tracks to destinations unknown! Although the geographical locations are a little inaccurate at times, this is a great game for teaching strategy and thinking skills and will give opportunity to discuss where places are located in the USA.
Thinking Skills Games:
Settlers of Catan: Ages 10+, teaches risk management and resource management skills as well as negotiation and trading skills. A challenging strategy game that is loved by many!
Splendor: Ages 10+, a fun economic game with colorful coins and point cards that you have to acquire with the goal of being the first to reach 15 points.
Catch Phrase: ages 10+, an exciting game that teaches you to think fast as you try to guess words and phrases through clues.
Seven Wonders: ages 10+, a fun strategy game that helps players build budgeting skills and learn to plan ahead.
This list just barely scratches the surface of all the educational games that are out there!
Give a game… or two… or three to your children this year and watch how much fun they’ll have while learning at the same time!! Games will provide fresh enthusiasm for learning going into the second semester!
I’d love to hear what games your family loves to play – please leave a comment if you have some favorite educational games!
Next post: Great Educational Gifts: BOOKS!