I love board games. I always have. When my sister and I were growing up we played board games for hours with our cousins at various family events. These events would go on late into the evening, so us kids were left to come up with our own fun. I grew playing Trouble, Sorry, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Memory, Candy Land, Life, Monopoly, Stratego and many more. We played games, dress-up, explored, and had so much fun. These are some of my best memories.
These memories are the reason I started buying board games back when my oldest was little. I wanted him to grow up playing these games too. I wanted him to know the excitement of building on Park Avenue or being the first to get to the end of Life. I wanted him to have a fun way to connect with his friends and cousins no matter where we went.
I didn’t think of them as educational tools when I bought them. They were something fun to play and learn to do. But board games have this amazing power to secretly teach important life skills. Did you know that?
Think about any of your childhood games and the rules, strategies, and skills you need to use to win. You can learn something from all of them.
What can you learn from Monopoly? Real Estate investing, right?
And Candy Land? You learn matching and taking turns.
What about The Game of Life? You learn that if you have too many kids, they don’t all need a seat you can just stack them on each other. Okay, just kidding on that last one.
Board games have the benefit of teaching these important life skills:
- Taking turns
- Hand eye coordination
So, if you’re starting your homeschool and you’re looking for great educational tools, stop in your board game aisle. There are so many options to choose from for kids of any age.
Here’s my breakdown of many popular boards games and what your homeschooler can expect to learn. But shhh…don’t tell them they are for school.
We love popping the bubble. But the game is great for teaching counting and patience. There can be a lot of waiting until you can get your guy out to start moving around the board. You also practice experience the disappointment of having to move back to home when someone lands on you.
I love playing this with my 4-year-old. She still tries to cheat and skip her guy extra spots, but she’s learning her colors, counting, patterns and how to take turns. It’s a lot of fun seeing her get better at following the rules too.
Chutes and Ladders:
It’s anyone’s game. You can be getting ahead, and then BAM! You hit the tall slide and need to go back to the beginning. Ouch. My kids have a hard time with this one. They like to try and climb their guys up the slides, but I remind them that it isn’t the slide at the park.
If you haven’t played this card game, I highly recommend it. My 8-year-old enjoys this one a lot. The rules are a little more complex, so it helps to develop a greater understanding of exceptions and helps kids learn to think ahead to how they can use certain cards later in the game. It’s great fun.
I’m not a great chess player. And truth be told, I didn’t even teach my oldest how to play it. He played checkers with his nana for a long time, and then one day his cousin taught him how to play chess. He’s gotten pretty good and some games I’ll admit I find it hard to beat him. But he’s learning strategy, how to play his pieces, and when to make tough choices like sacrificing the queen.
I love using Scrabble to help teach spelling. It’s a lot of fun. My kids love it. I’ve even started using the pieces to help my 4-year-old practice sight words. Who knew that Scrabble would be such an easy tool to help your child learn to read?
The Game of Life:
Life is all about making choices. What I love about this game is that you’re rewarded for having a family, you get to choose the college path or the career path, and you get to learn about how work plays into making money. I wonder if the creators knew how genius this game was?
If you want to teach your young child about patterns, this game is great for it. It helps them see and predict patterns that help them connect four of their color in a row. If you’re not using this game, you should include it in your homeschool.
I love playing games. I love that learning is a lot of fun when you approach it the right way. One of the best tips I learned this past year about homeschool versus public school is that homeschool is not public school at home. It can look however you want or need it to. You’re in charge of what and how your children learn when you homeschool, and that’s the beauty of it. While there is a lot to be learned from a public-school environment in how to approach education, there is also a lot of room for growth and trying new things.
What are some of your favorite unexpected educational tools that you use in your homeschool?