THIS IS A 4-PART BLOG SERIES ON GAMES. IT INCLUDES GAMES FOR PRESCHOOLERS, EARLY ELEMENTARY, LATER ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL. THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS THAT WILL HELP YOU FIND THE GAME EASILY.
We have shifted from our normal structured homeschool style to a more unschooled style of homeschooling for the summer. With this shift I start pulling out games and materials to try to see if it catches the kids interests. Here are some of my favorites for the early elementary years. Games are a great way of reinforcing or exposing children to educational material. Enjoy.
This game was gifted to us by another homeschooling family. It is such fun because it’s not only a logic game of how to get around the board to collect your treasures, but the board itself is always changing. With each move a player moves the board and changes the paths, trying to collect their own treasures or block their opponents, but sometimes they end up blocking themselves. This is great for all ages, but younger children will need a little help.
This game is a favorite of mine for many reasons. On a subconscious level, I think because it’s so much like Tetras!! Who else loves tetras? But on a level other than reliving my own childhood, because of it’s versatility. The game is a set of 12 pentominos, a math and logic game. Katamino states play for 8 years of age and older, but I think a 4 year-old could easily do some of these puzzles or use the blocks to build. The logic games can be done solitaire or you can play against an opponent. The beautifully colored wooden blocks are sturdy and sure to hold up to lots of play.
If you have a young elementary student learning addition, this is the perfect game, and they won’t even realize they are learning. This is the sweetest little game where the a ladybug is trying to make it to the path, but you have to collect aphids to pay to the ants to get through. Oh, and watch out the for praying mantis! This really is a delightful game and can be used for making tens and counting. Perfect for Kindergarten and first grade. Maybe even preschool.
This game is perfect for using to teach letter of phonics recognition. It is played the same as regular sequence with a set of cards played to lay down chips with the goal of getting four in a roll. The cards are letters in this game though, and the images on the board correspond with letters of the card.
Another game made for practicing basic addition and subtraction. There are four little players, all insects, and three dice – two with numbers and one with the addition and subtraction sign. When the dice are rolled, the player completes the addition or subtraction fact and then moves the token insect that number of spaces. There is a loop that they insects can get stuck in until they roll the correct dice for landing on a particular spot to get out. On our first time playing the game we got stuck in the loop a little too long, but that hasn’t happened since.
This games is focused on learning to count money, particularly cents. The dice is rolled to see the number of spaces you move. Each space has a choir that can earn a few cents, money exchange where you can trade smaller coins in for larger, or any equivalent to the “kitty” in monopoly where the player gets to take the middle. The fun part about this game is after each roll, a spinner is spun to eliminate a coin being used. For instance a player may roll and land on a space earning 35 cents, but from spinning has to make that 35 cents without nickles. It’s a great way to learn to count money.
Are you okay with a little load and crazy in your game? This is the game for you. There are two sets of cards – one of different states and capitals, and the other with “challenges” or they call it “scrambles” Each player gets 5 state cards. The scrambled cards get flipped face up one at a time and each player tries to find the matching State that fits that challenge. For instance one scrambled cards say, “Touching Tennessee.” If you have a state that boarders Tennessee, then you say the name of that state and slap the card, “sending your state home” to your home pile. The game ends with the state stack of cards is depleted, and those with the most states wins the game. It’s a great way to learn US Geography and States and Capitals.
This game is a simple one that we use for part of Geography. It has a group of cards of all the counties of the world with their flags on one side, and a few facts about the country on the other. They are color coded in a way to separate by continent. The game is played by laying four flags face up in front of each player. When it is a players turn, they can choose from any opponent a card and guess the country it belongs too. If they are correct, they keep the card. If not, the card is discarded. Each time the card is replaced. When all the cards are guessed, the person with the most cards wins the game. Each card has a map on it with the country highlighted, and the game comes with a larger world map to find the country on the map.
This is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE emergent reading game. If your child knows both the letters and the phonics and is ready to start building words with letters, this is your game. The game is played in rounds with the number of cards per hand going up each round. The goal of the game is the make and play words with the letter cards. Young children will of course need help, but it’s such a good learning tool. The other major plus is that the way the game keeps score also teaches math skills!! You collect your points with a combination of 1, 5, and 10 point tokens. Those tokens can be exchanged, usually for higher point tokens, but you know, a child likes to play. It helps to show 10 number bonds, and well as skip counting by 10’s and 5’s, and how our base 10 number system works.
Birdgage Press has a whole series of goldfish cards that are absolutely wonderful. Most are themed on an educational topic. They have a whole series on arts including the Renaissance artists, the impressionists, van Gogh and friends, and modern art. They also have some on Ancient Egypt and Animals and Birds or North America. Each set comes with a book about each of the cards set with details like facts about the artist and each of their featured works. I find these cards to be a great way to expose children to works of art or educational material. You can of course pay Go Fish as intended, collecting the 5 to 6 cards in each set, but I’ve also found that they are fabulous for playing concentration (match) and rummy. Sometimes we just sit and look through each one of them. These are a perfect addition to a Charlotte Mason artist study or a Waldorf Block.
I found this game while doing our tree unit this past year. This is a matching game of trees with their leaves from trees all around the world. It also comes with a little book full of wonderful educational material about trees. The pictures on the cards are absolutely gorgeous, and the quality of the cards is very good. These will likely last us a very long while. This goes perfect with DK’s new book The Magic and Mystery of Trees
This game is a logic puzzle of spacial awareness. It has a series of cards with different patterns on it, and a corresponding set of blocks with different shadings that are used to make the patterns on the cards. This game is great for encouraging thinking skills in young children and noticing patterns. I thin it has options to play against each other, but we mostly play it individually and not against each other.