Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Learning Can Be Fun: 5 Great Educational Board Games for Older Kids

The following is a guest post from Kelsey Allen:

Throwing the word educational into game play can send some kids, especially those old enough to already roll their eyes at a family board game night, running for the hills, thinking that things will be more work and less play. Educational board games don’t have to be a tedious endeavor however, and there are many out there that don’t scream educational at first glance but that have the ability to boost your child’s brainpower without them even knowing. Here are a few to try, some of which you might already have at home.

1. Equalz: Math is a subject that many teens turn their noses up at, especially when they’re at home and don’t have to be doing it. This game aims to make it a little more fun. The pack of cards for the game contains the usual number cards as well as those with addition, subtraction, division, etc on them. During each round, players try to combine these cards in as many ways as possible to reach a randomly chosen target number. Players will be required to use some serious mental math skills to win.

2. Set: Created by a famous geneticist, this game hopes to test players’ visual perception. The game play revolves around sequencing cards by similarities and differences, with players having to call out sets of three cards from 12 that are laid out on the table. Players must compete against each other to recognize these sets and call them out as soon as they see them.

3. Scattergories: This is one game that you might already have in your home. It isn’t touted as an educational game, but it can give you and your family’s brains a good workout. Players role a die to randomly select a letter from the alphabet, then work against the clock to fill out a form with words meeting given criteria that start with that letter. Teens and their parents will be challenged to come up with words as well as build creativity in answers that might stretch the boundaries of acceptable.

4. Anagramania: In this game, players will receive a clue that hides within it an anagram for the answer. Players race to be the first to figure out the clue and advance their game piece to the end of the game board. If you don’t feel like the clues are hard enough, more difficult packs can be purchased that will challenge the vocab and spelling skills of your whole family.

5. Nymble: Boost both vocab and critical thinking skills with this past-faced game. Play begins when nine letters are chosen through the role of a die. Players must then race to create as many words as possible out of the chosen letters. The play doesn’t end there, however, as the game also asks players to come up with synonyms, antonyms, homonyms of these words, with bonuses being given for suggestions where both words are found in the selected letters.

This post was contributed by Kelsey Allen, who writes about the graduate school scholarships. She welcomes your feedback at KelseyAllen1010 at

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