The Best Educational Board Games For Back To School

Games are a great way for kids to learn. Why sit in a stuffy classroom being lectured to, when play can both teach essential skills like communication and sporting conduct, and teach them about everything from mathematics to dinosaurs?


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Whether your child is just starting school, needs some help in a specific area, or you just want something fun and educational for your next game night, here are the perfect educational tabletop games.

The Best Tabletop Games To Help Your Kids Learn

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

Best Game For Preschoolers

You can think of The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game as Operation, but for younger players. Roll the spinner, and using the tweezers, carefully pick up the matching acorn and put it in your tray. With colourful pieces and a lovely woodland theme, it helps kids with their fine motor skills, colour recognition, and basic sporting behaviour like taking turns and winning graciously.

Player Count
2-4

Age Recommendation
3 – 7 years

Length per Game
15 minutes

Publishing Co
Educational Insights

Pros

  • Colourful, visually eye-catching game.
  • Great pieces and models.
  • Teaches early skills like pattern and colour recognition.
Cons

  • Construction quality is a bit thin, especially for younger players.
  • Will be tedious for the parents and teachers who have to play.

If your child is starting school, making sure they have colour and pattern recognition is an absolute must. To help out with that, The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game is a charming game that feels similar to the classic Operation.

Spin the spinner and then, using the included tweezers, try and pick up the corresponding acorn. Get 11 acorns into your log first, and you’re the winner. With its lovely woodland theme, appealing squirrel figures, and big, chunky pieces, this is an ideal way to help kids develop those critical early skills in a hands-on, exciting game.

Adsumudi

Adsumudi

The Best Mathematics Game

Designed to help improve mental arithmetic skills, Adsumudi challenges you to collect cards by adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying the numbers circled around a target. You can make the game easier or harder by requiring players to use more numbes, allowing it to scale nicely not just for kids, but adults too. If you’ve ever sat and played along with the numbers round of Countdown, Adsumudi should be brain-teasing enough to be worth a try.

Player Count
2-6

Age Recommendation
9+

Length per Game
15 minutes

Publishing Co
The Master Theorem Games

Pros

  • Suitable for adults and children.
  • Mental maths without feeling like a chore.
  • Easy to learn.
Cons

  • Might get repetitive after a few games.
  • Looks a bit bland.

Contrary to what my teachers in the mid-’00s said, we do, in fact, carry calculators around with us wherever we go. That doesn’t mean mental arithmetic isn’t important, though, and you can help develop your kid’s mathematics skills with this brain-boggling numbers game.

Each card has a target number in the middle, surrounded by other numbers. The idea is simple: by adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing these numbers, you need to make the number in the middle. Get the number first, and you win the card.

The neat thing about Adsumudi is that it’s easily scalable for all abilities by setting rules about how many of the surrounding numbers you need to use. Younger players might want to start with only two or three, while math whizzes may want to challenge themselves by requiring four or five. Maths doesn’t have to be dull, and Adsumudi is the fast-paced game to help liven it up.

Ecosystem

Ecosystem

The Best Science Game

Build up a suitable ecosystem by drafting cards and putting the correct wildlife next to each other. Not only do you have to pick up the right cards, where you choose to put them is a tricky balance – deer like to have lots of room to themselves, whereas bears need to be near trout. Can you build a sustainable environment, or will nature be out of balance? If you like this, there’s also the aquatic-themed Coral Reef expansion to check out.

Player Count
2-6

Age Recommendation
10+

Length per Game
15-20 minutes

Publishing Co
Genius Games

Pros

  • Learn about habitats and ecysosytems.
  • Gorgeous illustrations.
  • Suitable for all ages.
Cons

  • Complicated scoring system.

Learn all about environments, ecosystems, and food chains with Ecosystems, a biology-focused card drafting game. By carefully picking the cards passed to you, you need to assemble the most balanced and harmonised ecosystem possible: bears and trout, bees and meadows, deer in solitude, and more are all things you need to consider if you want to come out on top.

This might be a game for older players, as the scoring system can be tricky to grasp. But with the serene art and environmental message, it’s a great introduction to some of biology’s basic concepts ahead of encountering them in school.

Goats' Day Out

Goats’ Day Out

The Best Logic Game

A fast-paced and chaotic game, Goats’ Day Out has you try and feed your goat as much as possible by slotting Tetris-shaped pieces into their stomach. Grab the pieces that fit as quick as you can, and leave the trickier pieces to your opponents in a game that teaches quick-thinking, logic, and spacial awareness.

Player Count
2-5

Age Recommendation
8+

Length per Game
30-60 minutes

Publishing Co
ThinkFun

Part Tetris, part card-drafting game, Goats’ Day Out is all about cramming as much food as possible into your goat. Mess up your opponents by finding their goats rocks, and try and get the highest score possible. Not only is this game fast and chaotic, perfect for kids, it also helps teach spatial awareness and logic through planning out where you’re going to put the goat’s next snack.

The construction quality is surprisingly sturdy too, with thick, chunky pieces slotting together to make a game that just feels great to play. This is the best kind of educational game: one you won’t even realise is educational while playing.

Feed the Woozle

Feed the Woozle

The Best Game For Learning Social Skills

Scoop up silly snacks like hairy pickles and chocolate-covered flies, and carefully carry them across the room to feed them to the Woozle. Watch out, though, as the spinner could challenge you to bunny hop, walk backwards, or even do a hula dance while carrying your snacks to the Woozle. Working as a team to feed the Woozle is crucial, teaching kids not only motor skills, but also how to take turns and cooperate with each other.

Player Count
2-5

Age Recommendation
3+

Length per Game
15 minutes

Publishing Co
Peaceable Kingdom

Pros

  • Gets kids up and moving.
  • Easy set up and quick games.
  • Colourful and funny.
Cons

  • Not a lot of replayability.

It might sound strange, but you need to teach your child how to play. Taking turns, sporting conduct, and working as a team are all vital skills, and Feed the Woozle can help that while ensuring your kids remain active. Set it up in a spacious area, and try and scoop up the Woozle’s bizarre snacks to feed them to him.

To make things a bit harder, spin the spinner for a variety of extra challenges while carrying the food. Can your kids hop their way without losing the snack, or even hula dance? They’ll need to work together and take turns if they want to successfully feed the Woozle.

Her Story

Herstory

The Best History Game

Take on the role of a writer, researching for a book about the most important women in history. By researching women like Malala Yousafzai, Frida Kahlo, and Florence Nightingale and picking up special abilities, your goal is to write the best book possible and score the most points possible. An in-depth look at the women of history wrapped up in a compelling engine-building game, Herstory is a great way to shine a spotlight on an important part of history.

Player Count
2-5

Age Recommendation
8+

Length per Game
30-60 minutes

Publishing Co
Underdog Games

Pros

  • Teaches an important and underrepresented aspect of history.
  • Mature without being inaccessible.
  • Excellent art and visual design.
Cons

  • Might seem boring to younger players.

Herstory is a game all about celebrating the most important women in history. By collecting information about women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Joan of Arc, your goal is to pick up special writer abilities and create the best book possible.

This is a game for slightly older players, but highlights an important part of history that unfortunately gets left out of lessons all too often. Add to that a surprisingly compelling and strategic game, and Herstory is one that, despite its possibly dry-sounding premise, can really drag you in.

FAQ

Can games be educational?

Play is an absolutely vital part of childrens’ development. Games help improve motor control, social skills, physical fitness, and have a measured impact on mental wellbeing. Even if the game itself isn’t inherently educational, encouraging your child to play is crucial to developing these early skills.

Games can also be used to provide another pathway for learning. Not every child can learn sat in a classroom or reading a book, and playing can provide a more hands-on approach. If your child is struggling to learn in more traditional ways, seeking out a game to play could be just what’s needed to help them out.

What is a serious game?

While hunting down educational games, you might run into the concept of a “serious game”. Despite sounding like an oxymoron, serious games are games designed to teach more advanced skills, rather than being necessarily entertaining. You can consider a pilot’s flight simulator a type of serious game, as it looks and acts like a game, but plays a vital role in training pilots how to fly.

These games are likely going to be too advanced for your children. However, plenty of people do use serious games as a source of entertainment, and sims can be a major hobby in and of themselves! If your child takes an interest in these things, don’t dissuade them from checking these out.

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