9 Educational Games for Family Game Night
Playing games is second nature to little ones and it’s a great way to supercharge active young minds. The number one benefit of family game night is bonding with your family and spending time together. Even families with younger children can have a successful game night kids and adults can both appreciate. Playing games together is an easy way to spend unhurried and joyful time together, but many games have rich educational components as well. According to Scholastic, board games can also teach important social skills such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns and enjoying interaction with others.
Here are some fun games you can play with your kids on your next family game night, with some insights on what each game will teach kids who play:
For 5 Years old and Up
Melissa & Doug Suspend: Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. Can you add all your game pieces without making it fall? This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands.
Swish: ThinkFun’s Swish is a fast-paced card game that challenges players to flex their mental muscles as they try to out-Swish their competitors. Designed to challenge spatial intelligence, Swish is easy to learn and addictively fun for players 8 years and older. To play, players examine 16 cards laid out on a table and try to create more matches than their competitors to win. Matches are created by stacking two or more cards on top of one another so that a colored hoop matches up with the same color ball on a different card. When you make a match, you keep the cards.
Story Cubes: The game comes with nine six-sided cubes, all of which have a sketch—aliens, eyes, keys, chat balloons, wands, flashlights and more—on each side. Roll the cubes and make up a story based on the sketches that appear face up. Try the different sets to tell different stories, including the Actions set and the Voyages set.
Scrabble Junior: Kid-sized words and colorful pictures make it fun to match letter tiles to words on the grid. Players collect scoring chips for completing words. When all of the tiles have been placed on the board, the player with the most chips wins.
Chess: For ages 6 years old and up, chess can be a great way to help children grow intellectually and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They will also have the opportunity to practice winning and losing graciously in this classic game that can be played virtually anywhere. Try using a magnetic chess board to keep pieces in place. Help your young ones get comfortable learning the board and moves of each piece if they’re still too young to play.
For 4 years old and under
Pairs in Pears: The creator of the popular game, Bananagrams developed this Pear-shaped word game, with letters that encourage players to make pairs of connecting words in matching patterns. Pairs in Pears is a great way for children to develop memory and cognitive skills while learning the alphabet, pattern recognition, vowels, vocabulary, rhyming and more. Advanced players can use semi-palindromes and palindromes – words or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward or forward – to win extra points.
Memory: Best for ages 36 months to 7 years old, memory is a classic game for families to play together. Memory helps young children develop concentration, memory and matchmaking skills. Find a matching memory game in your child’s favorite theme like Disney characters or Frozen characters for easy-to-remember pairs they will get excited about finding and matching.
First Words Match It!: Match It! First Words teaches first words in an interactive way. Each card has two pieces—a picture of an object and the spelling of that object’s name. By simply matching the pieces together, children will learn to recognize the spelling of simple words. The puzzle pairs are self-correcting—only correct object and name combinations will fit together. Recommended for ages three and up.
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game: Spin the spinner, squeeze the matching colored acorn with your Squirrel Squeezers and place it into a small hole on your log. Be the first to fill your log with delicious acorns and you win. The game challenges fine motor skills as players have to carefully pick up colored acorns with a tweezer-like utensil and place them in small holes throughout the game.