Educational games are great for integrating skills into play! Not only that but they are a great way to build memories together! Some of my favorite memories are playing games with my family. (True fact: we played some wicked uphill games of obstacle course croquet. Cribbage and 500 would keep us up until the wee hours of the night. And don’t even get me started on the competition that happened when we all gathered to play spoons!)
I’m all about creating memories, hence the post about memory making gifts!
I’ve compiled a list of our favorite games to use to create memories and to foster learning through play! I must give you a fair warning though that I do not pay close attention to the age guidelines on things. My experience in the classroom and with my own children has shown me that if you hold your children to high standards and give them challenges they will continue to strive to reach those goals. They will most likely surprise you with what they are capable of doing. And with most things, there are ways to modify it so that it will work for everyone!
Educational Games We LOVE:
This game came to us in our Toy Exchange Bin and we immediately fell in love with it! It has the cutest little figures and is a game that is quick and fun for everyone. I’m a big fan of cooperative games instead of fueling the sibling competition. Together you help the little animals get to their igloo on the ice field, but the ice bridge could collapse at any time!
The logic games are fun for all ages! Help the pigs build their houses, find a way that allows them to play outside, and if they spot the wolf, get your pigs safely inside their homes. The Three Little Pigs game gradually gets more challenging as you complete each level. This helps build confidence and allows them to work through challenges without giving up. The skill of perseverance is crucial and it is so important to teach children at a young age that it is okay to struggle or have a challenge.
Help Little Red find the path to Grandma’s house! A great thing about this game and the Three Little Pigs game is that kids can play independently. This makes for a great challenge during quiet time!
Stone Soup is another great cooperative game where everyone is working as a team to “cook” a soup by making matches of ingredients. They need to match all ingredients before the fire under the kettle goes out. It creates a non-stressful play environment for everyone!
If you haven’t noticed, we are a big fan of Peaceable Kingdom in our house! Children work together to stack 12 blocks before the Stack Smasher “smashes” the tower. Challenge cards can add a tricky twist and the instructions come with three different game levels so the game can grow as your child grows!
Mindware creates this fun game that is great for all ages! Simply build lines by matching tiles based on color or shape, and earn points as you build. This game will be a great mental challenge for your child!
Sequence for Kids is very similar to the regular Sequence game. Play a card from your hand and place a chip on the matching space on the board. When you have four in a row, you win! A unicorn card is wild and a dragon card allows you to remove an opponent’s chip. This is a great game for building strategy skills!
In this game, you must carefully watch and remember where items are placed so that you can be the first to complete your list and fill your cart!
Who wouldn’t be giggling during this game! Practice your colors as you spin to find out if you can fill your basket with clean undies. Watch out every once in a while you will be yelling out “wash my underpants”.
SmartGames does it again with Camelot Jr.! Children must build a path that connects the Prince to the Princess. The game becomes more challenging the further you go. Children will continue to develop their problem solving and logic skills. This is another great game for independent strategy building. I love pulling this one out when I need to make dinner since it is another game that they can play by themselves.
Castle Logix is very similar to Camelot Jr. but this time you are given the outline of the castle and you must figure out how to piece it together. Check your work in the booklet and continue on to the next puzzle that gradually gets harder and harder. Strengthen your spatial reasoning with this fun independent game.
I included Dominoes because not only is it a fun, classic game but the piece can be used for some many great math activities! I’m a big believer in multiple uses for your games and materials! Search “Domino Math Games” in Pinterest and you will be flooded with a whole bunch of fun ideas!
Yet again another game that I included for the pieces! Most of the kids in this age range are not able to play Bananagrams yet but the pieces can be used in so many different ways! Search “Bananagrams Activities” in Pinterest and I promise you will be inspired. And you will be thankful you have this game later on. Scrabble is great, but you have to be SO PATIENT! It can take FOREVER! Bananagrams is a much more fast-paced, fun twist to the classic Scrabble.
Boggle Jr. is a great game that can grow with your child as they develop letter and word recognition. My little one who just turned three showed no interest in letters. After bringing this game out she has built up her confidence and has blown me out of the water with the number of letters she now knows. For my four-year-old, I’m able to cover up the word and have her sound it out to try to spell it on her own. Before long they will be begging to play the adult version!
Uno Moo! is another twist on a classic. Children match up the farm animals by either color or type. They push the figure already in the barn door into the barn and replace it with their own match. If they don’t have a match or farmer (wild) then they must draw from inside the barn. When someone gets down to one figure left they shout, “UNO Mooooo!” The first to get all their animals in the barn wins!
I’m a huge sucker for pictures and anything that can help me recall memories. I created a Shutterfly Memory Game for my children with pictures of them with their great-grandparents. The pictures are priceless and the children love to see themselves on the pieces!
Peaceable Kingdom does it again…I know you must be seeing a trend with a few companies that are my go-to! In this cooperative game, you must work together to get all the chickens into the coop. As you spin and move, count the number of spaces and collect that same amount of chicks. Continue to guide your children as they learn the skills to work in a group. Help them see how important it is to talk through your strategies and to listen to everyone’s opinions. These skills will be so valuable.
PBS has my heart! Super Why is an amazing show that works on letter recognition, sounds, rhyming and so much more. Bring the TV show to your living room with this game.
Fill your bucket with fruit but don’t “spill your bucket” and watch out for those pesky animals that steal them out! Kids don’t even realize that they are practicing their counting skills as they excitedly plunk the fruit into the bucket!
We love this game because it gets us up and active. It’s a twist on Twister (sorry I couldn’t help myself) all while learning the ABCs.
Besides the adorable little owl pieces, this is another great cooperative game from Peaceable Kingdom. Work together to get all the baby owls home before the sun rises! Children will reinforce their colors, work on strategies, and continue to strengthen skills needed to be a team player. This game also has two levels so you can make it more challenging as your child grows.
Seek-a-Boo is a game from Mindware, a company you will see featured on the blog a lot as well. It is a large scale version of memory in which children must go out and find the match. For younger children you may only choose to put out a few cards or to challenge the other kids you can put them all out!
Engineering Ants is a great STEM game. Use your creativity to help free the ants. In this game, kids must be ready to invent, design, and build. Work together as a team to find the best way to get your ant out of trouble.
**(There are a lot of pieces to this game but it does say that if you contact the company they will send you any replacement pieces that you may need.)
They had me with that adorable Squirrel Squeezer! Again…so many uses for this thing and think about how you are building their fine-motor skills! Help the hungry forest friends by spinning the spinner and squeezing the matching colored acorn to place it into your log. Fill your log and you win!
We LOVE Pete the Cat in our house! Even the one-year-old will find the books and dance along to the groovy beat! This game is based on the book and reinforces colors, counting, and decision-making skills all while having fun rocking out with Pete!
Continue on Pete’s misadventures based on the book Pete the Cat The Missing cupcakes. Search for the missing cupcakes in this game of luck and memory that changes each time you play it!
Let’s just say this is another game that gets everyone up and moving and getting Grandpa to play with surely leave everyone laughing!
Horton Hears a Who! is another silly action game. Players search for the clover while wearing the Horton Hat. Then they must pick up the clovers using only the trunk and hurry to carry it back before the time runs out! The player who rescues the most Whos wins!
A classic game full of strategy and counting as you race to get all of your colored pieces to their home base. But if you get landed on you must bring that piece back to start! Once again kids don’t realize they are working on counting and number recognition because they are having too much fun!
Turn it on and listen carefully to the directions. This game can be played alone or with friends but the key is to follow the directions! You will be spinning, dancing, crawling, and giggling by the time you are done.
My husband and I love this game from Mindware because not only does it teach a bunch of different directional words but kids love going and finding the animals so much that they will find ours so we can play and still enjoy time together too! Sit back and enjoy the best of both worlds with this game!
The teacher in me couldn’t resist these cute cheese shaped letters! Just think of all the uses! Use the little mouse tail to hook the cheesy letters as you race to be the first to spell the word on your card!
Whew! There you have 32 of our go-to educational games!
What would you add to the list?
Plus plan ahead and order this game for Easter:
For more Easter basket ideas click here!