News: educational games

19+ superb games for kindergartners that are fun AND educational

By Dallas Stevens

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This year I have spent all twelve months stocking our family’s entryway closet with board games and activities. In fact, we have more board games for kindergarteners in our house than we have broken crayons and spare socks combined… and that’s a lot.

Too many days in the past our family was looking for a fun, relaxing night together and we’d switch on the TV searching for a movie. It was easy, but we paid the price.

The price being time well spent making solid memories with one another.
The price being engaging learning opportunities.
The price being giving our kids screens instead of our attention. 

Perusing online deals and $3 thrift shop games has become a pastime. Because I know an investment of under $5 is the cheapest entertainment around. I also know that even spending $50 on an amazing game will pay for itself by not going to the movie theaters even just once. Or not getting a tutor because gameschooling is the best schooling. Or it even pays for itself after 6 months if we decide to ditch Netflix or approximately 10 movies rented on Amazon Prime.

So we’ve invested.

And the dividends are priceless.

Our 4-year-old learned basic math. Our whole family spends time together. And introducing new learning skills (or facilitating what taught in school) isn’t a battle, it’s an enjoyable treat.

Unique & Amazing Board games for 4 to 6 year olds

The teacher in me wants every experience to have some level of learning. And YES all games can teach something. But I love the games that are well thought out and a little more off the beaten path best. So I’ve compiled 19 of our family’s favorite games for 5-year-olds (with a range on either side) plus about 6 more common board games for early elementary kids.

And if you have any other great suggestions, be sure to share them in the comments!

Strategy, problem-solving, logic, focus & attention, math, language skills, science, movement, cooperative,

Rivers, Roads, and Rails

Strategy, problem-solving, logic, focus & attention, geography
Buy it on Amazon

This game was on a wish list of mine for two years and it didn’t disappoint. It really helps kids understand how to logically plan, but also to be flexible as each turn can really change how the next play plays. It’s also great for teaching kids some of the modes of transportation but also attention skills because of small details that make cards either playable or not.

Robot Turtles

Strategy, coding, focus & attention, math
Buy it on Amazon

A fun game of patterning and basic coding, this game is a favorite between my 5-year-old Jenn and my husband. In fact, it was the entry into other coding games and activities for her.

Sum Swamp

Math
Buy it on Amazon

It’s a really cute game with number recognition, addition and subtraction, odds, and evens, and general early math skills.

We introduced this game to Jenn when she was 4 and it was the perfect way for her to learn basic math without even know that’s what she was actually doing. We busted out some counting cubes too to help her visualize the math until she gets better.

 

Guess Who

Vocabulary, logic, strategy, attention skills
Buy it on Amazon

Yep, it’s a classic. But a fun way to play it is to make a rule that your kids can’t ask questions like “If your person a man” or things of that nature. If you want to get really into details, maybe do an art project where you add tiny images to the pictures to force better attention to detail.

Giggle Wiggle

Movement and motor skills
Buy it on Amazon

This is a good game for kindergarteners because it requires hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and even some strategy as they plan when to add their marble. Now if only we could play without the music…

Pengoloo

Strategy, focus & attention
Buy it on Amazon

This is not your ordinary matching game! I honestly bought it for our almost three yeard old, Emma as a matching and color recognition game. But as we played, it had so many great concepts for both of our girls. My kindergartener was able to dive a little deeper with the strategy and memory (because even penguins that have already been claimed can be remembered in order to get another roll of the dice on your turn!)

Press Here

Art, logic and problem solving
Buy it on Amazon

Based on a book (that I also highly recommend), Press Here plays with color theory. It has an interesting element of logic because while some of the answers have a cut and dry conclusion, some cards could have mulitple answers and all players have to agree upon the person’s explanation. We even play this with the younger kids in our house too!

Race to the Treasure

Cooperative, strategy, geography
Buy it on Amazon

Some basic map skills and team work will get you to the treasure! This is a great game that was brought as entertainment for 13 kindergarteners at a birthday party… because cooperation was required and no one could leave sad. It’s not super complex, but still fun, especially at an age where working together is a skill that should be built.

Goblet Gobblers

Strategy, problem-solving
Buy it on Amazon

Tic Tac Toe is kind of boring, but goblet gobblers adds a fun twist and strategy to ultimately elminate someone else’s play.

Zingo

Attention, language skills
Buy it on Amazon

This is a fabulous game for the entire family no matter how young, but as kids get into kindergarten, it’s great for working on reading and language skills. Of course, match the pictures, but do they know how to read the word? Add an element of fun by adding a bit of electrical tape to cover up eithe the words or pictures to really work on spelling and reading.

Make N’ Break

Movement, strategy, spatial skills, logic, focus & attention
Buy it on Amazon

We started playing this family game wit no timer as “just make the picture” and progressed from there. It really built on our kids’ spatial skills and even motor skills as they stacked blocks!

Hiss

Art, math, logic
Buy it on Amazon

We orginally got this for our 2-year-old to learn colors, but it’s also a great game for young kids to play together. It focuses on patterns and making colorful snakes!

Rory’s Story Cubes

Language skillscreativity & imagination
Buy it on Amazon

There are actually multiple versions and expansion sets, but the premise is the same… roll the dice and tell a story. I love this with kids of all ages both young and old because it forces creativity and builds this language and storytelling skills.

Qwirkle

Math, art, logic & planning ahead
Buy it on Amazon

This games is all about shapes, colors, and patterns. Almost like a mixture of banangrams (which by the way, kids’ banangramas is GREAT for teaching wor formation and the sounds of letters), rummy, and a bunch of colorful shapes.

It teaches kids to logically plan ahead and build patterns and sequences.

Dixit

Art, language skills, creativity & imagination
Buy it on Amazon

A wonderful, and beautiful, apples-to-apples type of game that encourages your child to use their descriptive words@ It helps kids looks at art in a creative way or even literal way! Each active player has to describe their card and then everyone else choose a card from their hand they think could closely match the decription. Then everyone tries to guess which card is the “real” card being described! If you get any “scary looking” cards, just take them out before playing.

eeboo Fairytale spinner

language skills, creativity & imagination
Buy it on Amazon

I found this one at a thrift store and thought I would give it a try and it turned out to be a HUGE HIT. One of the reasons that I love it as a teacher is that it focuses on the elements of a story. For instance a player has to spin in order to choose a setting, a hero, and other parts to what will then become their masterpiece of a fairytale story!

Cookin’ Cookies

Life Skills, focus & attention, cooking
Buy it on Amazon

While it doesn’t give the quantities in the recipes, it gives a basic understanding that one must have certain ingredients to make certain recipes. It also shows that food can go bad and is a fun twist on a memory game to gather up the cards you need for your own recipe! (Though… we have lost one of our telescoping spoons).

Shut the Box

Math, strategy
Buy it on Amazon

We picked this up at a local toystore on vacation and it was great family fun! The object is to shut all the numbers on the box! It requires some srategy if your kindergartener is going to add up the numbers (practicing their math skills) or use the individual numbers on the dice to shut as many as possible.

Games that get honorable mention for still being great for young kids, but maybe a little more common

Just to throw a few more games out there that we enjoy playing at this age are as follows: Mystery Garden, 4 in a row, Brainiac, Busytown, Scrabble Jr., Boggle Jr.. Each have different teaching tools from spelling to strategy, etc.

And I would say Catan Jr. too since it’s pictured above, but it requires an adult team member because it’s a bit complex for kindergarteners.

But I would really love to know what YOUR family’s favorite game for this age group is! 

www.roshambobaby.com

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