Posted in Homeschool Information, Things to Do, Places to Go

Educational Board Games: Board Games in Your Homeschool

Board games are a big part of our lives! We play them often as a family or with friends – in fact, about twice a year we have a “Board Game Day” in our home, inviting friends of all ages to play board games together all day and into the night. We also incorporate board games into our homeschool day. I believe that they are all educational board games – there is something to be learned from any board game. I often tell people that if I had an unlimited income, I would teach using nothing but board games! It would be possible to have a game for every topic and every subject. When thinking of board games, most people are familiar with Scrabble and Monopoly, but there are so many more out there!

Educational Board Games for Your Homeschool

educational board games

Math
Almost any board game includes math concepts – using arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) at the very least, including:

  • Wits ‘n Wagers Family Edition – odds and estimation skills (You can even find a link to a lesson plan to go with it at Board Game Geek)
  • Sorry – arithmetic and probability
  • Battleship – use of Euclidian geometry (the “x” and “y” axis)

Economics

  • Monopoly – buy, sell, trade, taxes, etc.
  • Settlers of Catan – trade, co-operation, and strategy
  • The Game of Life – post-secondary education, marriage, family, and retire in the countryside or become a millionaire – real life simplified
  • India Rails – resource management, and geography as well

Reading/Spelling

  • Scrabble (including the Jr. edition) – if you tire of playing in English, play in Latin, or French
  • Boggle – also exercises the spatial, mathematical part of your brain
  • Pick Two – this is like playing a fast-paced game of Scrabble, creating your own words while racing against everyone else

Writing

  • Once Upon a Time – get the creative juices flowing by participating in some oral storytelling as a family, then use it as a springboard to write down stories
  • Heroscape – tabletop fantasy battle game involving fantasy storylines and characters (mythology, comic book heroes etc.), strategy, and critical thinking

Literature
There are many trivia board games based on literature, or play a game set in the world of the book you’re reading to enhance learning:

  • Lord of the Rings Trivia – learn every minute detail of Tolkien’s world
  • Chapters: The Board Game – includes categories such as Fiction and Literature, Classics, Non-fiction, Children’s Books, and Canadian Literature

Critical Thinking
Board games for building strategies and strategic thinking:

  • Chess – fantastic for critical thinking – you always have to be thinking a move or more ahead
  • Stratego – whether original, Lord of the Rings, or another version
  • Clue – use those deduction powers, just like Sherlock Holmes

History & Geography

  • Axis & Allies – teaches all about World War II and the geography of the countries involved
  • Guillotine – if your family has a morbid sense of humour, have fun with the French Revolution
  • Notre Dame – economy, sociology, and the Black Plague
  • Risk – learn about the continents while using your critical thinking skills or enjoy a fantasy or futuristic world version (i.e. Risk 2210)
  • Ticket to Ride – European or North American version – learn about the cities and countries
  • Civilize This – a trivia game with Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern categories.

Cultural Games
Play games from other cultures to learn more about them (many are available as printouts online):

  • Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) – you’ll even become familiar with some Chinese characters
  • Mancala – ancient game from the Middle-East.
  • Hounds and Jackals – ancient Egyptian

Science

  • Planet Earth DVD Board Game – Life Science
  • Starfarers of Catan –Space/Astronomy

Sports

  • Don’t Quote Me Sports Edition – quotes from famous athletes.
  • Blood Bowl – football, but with a violent, fantasy twist – deals with probability and geometry.

Teamwork

  • Co-operative games are fantastic for teaching children to work as a team:
  • The Hobbit – work together to steal all the gems from Smaug the dragon – work with probability, exercise your memory, recitation, etc.
  • Any game from Family Pastimes – great educational, co-operative games for all ages.

Social Skills
Yes, the dreaded S-word! Almost any board game involves socializing with others. The ultimate in board game socializing is The Great Canadian Board game Challenge which is held across Canada and which we sometimes participate in at our local convention, Hal-Con.

  • Say Anything Family – your children have to think about how OTHERS think and feel.
  • Scene It – original, kids, or any of its many variations – enjoy movie clips while exercising your spatial, memory, and observation skills, while laughing together.

Choose a game about the place or time you’re learning about to enhance your homeschool studies. Trivia games can be used as a review of what you’ve learned. Are you trying to teach something specific that you would like to find a board game for? The most comprehensive list of boardgames anywhere is at www.Boardgamegeek.com. You will even find reviews of the games so you can decide if you would like to purchase or not.

*And if you want to be even more creative in your homeschool, give your children some Bristol board and some markers and challenge them to create their own educational board games. Who knows, they may even design the next “Trivial Pursuit”!*

What are your favourite educational board games in your homeschool? Have your children ever made their own board game?

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Homeschool Events, Things to Do, Places to Go

June 15: Board Games Fun at Alderney Gate Library, Halifax

Homeschool Board Games Fun at the Alderney Gate Library, Halifax on Friday, June 15th from 2-4pm.  Come and play, chat, giggle and generally have fun. Bring a favourite board game, try one from the library’s stash or make one up when you get there!  All ages and stages welcome. Baby toys available too.

This will be the last one before a summer break…so let’s make it a winner!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Reviews

North Star Games: Wits & Wagers Family – Review

We are huge board game enthusiasts.  In fact, my son and husband recently participated in the Great Canadian Board Game Challenge in Halifax, playing board games for a full day, and placed very well. We also have bi-annual Board Game Days at our home, where we play games all day and into the night with our friends. We often incorporate boardgames into our regular homeschool day.

Our whole family was delighted to learn that a board game from North Star Games was on its way. I received Wits & Wagers Family in exchange for an honest review 🙂 When we opened the package, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the game. The box is sturdy (unlike some other popular games whose boxes fall apart easily), and the game pieces are all nice and sturdy, including

wooden Meeples just like those in a game we already have, Carcasonne.

You can play Wits & Wagers Family with 3-10 players: up to 5 individual players, or 5 teams. The game is very simple, easy to explain, and only takes 15-20 minutes to play. It is SO nice to have a quick and easy game we can play with the whole family, even in the time between my husband’s two jobs! Each round, a trivia question is asked. The answer to that question is always a number, which each player guesses at and writes on his own write-on/wipe-off board, which is then placed on the table. Each player then places their two Meeples either on one board or two boards, deciding who they think has the correct answer. Players get points for writing the correct answer, and for placing their Meeples on the correct answer, until somebody reaches 15 points. Wits & Wagers Family is the family version of the original Wits & Wagers game (also by North Star Games). The box recommends players be 8 years old and up, but we quickly realized that this is a game easily played by a 6 year old as well. In fact, Wits & Wagers Family is now my 6 year old daughter’s favourite game. After the first time we played it, she demanded we play it “Again, again”. She now requests we play it often. She also takes it out just to play with the Meeples sometimes, LOL.

Guess what? Wits & Wagers, like all board games in my opinion, is educational. If you would like some ideas for linking it to your math or history curriculum, go to Boardgamegeek.com for lessons and downloads for using it in your school or homeschool. Just a note: this is referring to the original Wits & Wagers game for 10+, but can easily be tweaked for use with the Family version.

Wits & Wagers Family retails for $19.99 US. Ask for it at your local retail, toy, or gaming store. It would make a great gift for any family! Would you like to win a free game or t-shirt? Visit North Star Games on Facebook and learn how to enter their monthly draw.

To see what other TOS Homeschool crewers thought of Wits & Wagers Family, click HERE.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,