Although we are fairly structured in our homeschooling day, we still enjoy playing board games as part of our home education. It is just a more fun way to learn that also encourages free thinking and not feeling like it is a test.
We have come across a lot of games that are just perfect for homeschooling and we try to incorporate them as much as we can.
The Best Educational Board Games for Homeschool Families
My first recommendation comes without a category. The reason is, I think FReNeTiCs is the BEST educational game on the market. It is great for maths (adding up the scores), science (learning the periodic table), English (creating words), and strategy (trying to find the best words if there is a double or triple letter tile on the board.) We all love it, even the older kids (20 and 24) ask to play it when they come and visit. It is a like a clever scrabble where you have to make words with tiles on the board. However, it is so much harder, all of the tiles are from the periodic tables! I can not recommend this game highly enough, but you can read my full review of Frenetics before you buy.
The Best Maths Games for Homeschool
Yahtzee – A really great dice game for 1 or more players, ages over 8. This is often a game we will take on holiday as it comes in a small box and is lots of fun.
Brainbox Maths is a fast and fun memory game that does not require any pens, pencils, paper, playing board or even a table! Each round takes 10 seconds so all players are involved. A game lasts as long as you want it to. 10 minutes is the norm, but playing for 5 minutes is great fun also. BrainBox is educational and is perfect for families and groups of friends to play, wherever they are, on a level-playing field. You can play solo or with as many people as you want. A player simply picks a card and studies it for 10 seconds before being asked a question from the back, chosen by the roll of a die. A correct answer means the card is kept, if not it is returned to the box. The player with most cards after 5 or 10 minutes wins!
City of Zombies – is a cooperative game for 1 to 6 players who must team up and help each other to survive. Players take turns to roll 3 Battle Dice, they can then add, subtract, multiply and divide dice together to build awesome attack combos in an attempt to take out as many Zombies as possible. Clear the board of Zombies to save Survivors and boost your score. Gain Heroes to help you fight Zombies and collect items along the way that modify your dice, weaken Zombies or even change the rules! City of Zombies helps children of all levels practice maths without them realising it. The game rewards players with more ways to win as their maths skills improve. Maths has never been so much fun!
Prime Climb is a mathematical board game designed for 2 to 4 players. Roll the dice and add, subtract, multiply and divide your way to the centre of the board. Picking up Prime cards and bumping your opponents back to start as you go. The first to land both pawns on 101 wins the game! Everyone can learn to multiply and divide using Prime Climb’s unique colour coding. Inspire deeper mathematical understanding while mastering arithmetic. Prime Climb can be used as an aid for home educators to teach and reinforce KS2 and KS3 maths content. Simple enough for kids (ages 10 and up), and dynamic enough for professional mathematicians. Prime Climb is a perfect game for families.
Learning Resources Money Bags Coin Value Game. Children can get hands-on with money skills with this award winning money board game from Learning Resources. Children practise identifying and counting HM Treasury approved realistic coins in this Money Bags Coin Value Game. Players simply roll the dice and move the corresponding number of spaces around the money-themed game board. Players note the financial amount shown on the space they land on and spin the spinner. The spinner determines which coins can be used to make value on the space. When a player passes the finish line, all players count their money. The player with the most wins! For 2-4 players. Suitable for ages 7+
Sum Fun – The idea of the game is straightforward…go ahead and have “SUM FUN”! Use the tiles you have picked up to make SUMs. Once all of the tiles are out, the winner is the first person to use all of their tiles to make valid SUMs. The SUMs must be connecting and intersecting – similar to that of a crossword format. A player can rearrange their own SUMs as often as they wish. Everybody plays the game at the same time. There is no waiting around for another player to take their turn as each person makes their own SUMs independently from one another. SUM FUN comes in a handy blue zip-up canvas case, meaning it’s easy to take anywhere.
Learning Resources Top of the Tables! Times Table Game. Master mental multiplication in order to shoot and score with this unique football themed game. This football themed times table game requires players to focus on individual times tables from 2 to 12. As well as two additional premier league levels for 13 and 14 times tables. Suitable for 2 players.
Super HOO HA! is the new fun strategic number sense calculations game, for teachers, friends and family. The game is quick to learn, competitive and genuinely educational. Super Hoo Ha! is strategic and promotes an understanding of the interaction between the four arithmetic operations. The game encourages the understanding that division is the inverse of multiplication and that multiplication is repeated addition. The aim of the game is to be the last player to reach 215, by getting rid of your hand before your opponents. Added bonus you do not have to be a maths wizard to win, but you do have to be aware of the Super HOO HA card.
PLYT is a maths board game that is different because it’s competitive fun for all ages and abilities. Everyone is challenged (including adults) and everyone has the same chance to win. That’s why children love playing. They get so caught up in the competition they forget they’re learning and get a real buzz when they push themselves out of their comfort zone. It is progressive and won’t be outgrown in only a few weeks. As you improve, you can continue to step up the level of difficulty and continue playing for years. It’s PROVEN by independent research to help improve confidence with numbers in a fun and competitive way which is why it has been endorsed by the UK’s leading maths body, National Numeracy as one of the most effective games available.
Word Games for Kids
Bananagrams is a fast and fun word game that requires no pencil, paper or board. All you need is a table. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes. It is great for family fun as well as being educational. Bananagrams’ portability makes it perfect for travel. Just grab the pouch and go.
Scrabble – This needs no introduction and is a game that every family should have in their cupboards. It is a great game to play whether you homeschool or not. In fact on some occasions myself and my husband can be found playing it with a glass of wine!
Boggle – Earn points by spotting words your friends don’t before time runs out. Shake the grid to mix up the letter cubes. Then lift the lid and flip the timer. Players have 90 seconds to write down as many words as they can find on the grid before time is up. At the end of the round, score the words. If two or more players find the same word, that word doesn’t count. The player with the highest score wins. Game comes in an easy to store travel case for both timer and dice.
BrainBox English – Grammar, punctuation and spelling. Let’s face it, important though they are, these have never been the easiest topics to make fun. Until now! Let BrainBox English come to the rescue, helping you sort out pronouns from prepositions, adverbs from apostrophes and synonyms from syllables.
Story Cubes – Simply roll the nine dice and begin your story – Once upon a time…. and use the embossed images to spark your imagination. With just four lines of instructions and no time or story length limits and no right or wrong answers, anyone can become a storyteller. Rory’s Story Cubes are a fun way to inspire creative thinking, encourage social confidence, develop language, improve vocabulary and promote problem solving skills for ages six and above. Presented in a little magnetic box Rory’s Story Cubes are suitable for travel. The nine dice, each with an individual image on all sides holds a total of 54 images. This means that with every roll, there are over a million combinations to use for storytelling inspiration.
Strategy Games for Homeschool
Chess – Again another game that needs no introduction. We have always enjoyed playing chess especially when the step children were younger, so Freddie has been playing chess for a number of years. In fact he is so good he can beat me now.
Pandemic– This is a great game of strategy, and if you would like to read my full review of Pandemic please do so.
Ingenious is a game that is in a league of its own. Quick to play, beautiful and one of the more “clever” board games. The game involves scoring points by placing your colour tiles on a hexagonal board while trying to block your opponents from scoring points. Although it sounds simplistic, the game actually is a real challenge. The game has a nearly unlimited amount of strategies and with it’s unique scoring system. Every game is different and challenging.
Carcassonne – players build the area surrounding this impressive city, one tile at a time. They then place a follower on fields, cities, roads or monasteries in order to score as many points as possible. These followers will become knights, monks, farmers and thieves, depending on where they are placed. Check out our full review of Carcassonne
Ticket to Ride – A cross country train adventure. The longer the routes the more points you earn. Check out our full review of Ticket to Ride.
The best games to help with Geography
Flags of the World – Name the country, claim the flag in a trivia trip around the world! Ideal for geography-lovers. Flags around the world is the family game with multiple-choice questions about every country. Learn about countries and capital cities as you collect Flags to win. 2-5 players; age 8+.
Ticket to Ride: Europe takes you on a new train adventure across Europe. From Edinburgh to Constantinople and from Lisbon to Moscow, you’ll visit great cities of turn-of-the-century Europe. Collect and play train cards in order to place your pieces on the board, attempting to connect cities on your ticket cards. Points are earned both from placing trains and completing tickets, but uncompleted tickets lose you points. The player who has the most points at the end of the game wins.
Top Trumps – Wonders of the World – Thirty of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring sights that Planet Earth has to offer. Including the world’s most dangerous volcano (hot stuff), a gigantic South American glacier (pretty cool), and the only living thing visible from space (clue: it’s not a sumo wrestler). The world’s a pretty awesome place. So what are you waiting for – grab this pack now and start wowing your mates with your mind-blowing Top Trumps knowledge.
What are your favourite educational board games? Please let me know in the comments below.
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