When it comes to educational games, what often seems like a good choice at the store can easily turn out to be a complete dud at home (It’s all over when your kiddos pull out the “b” word—boring!). If you’re looking for brain-boosting board games for your preschooler or grade schooler that don’t skimp on fun, we’ve rounded up eight new ones that will not only challenge your little one but will also get the whole family laughing and playing together. Keep reading to see them below.
1. PICTO LINGUA
B-I-N-G-O! The delightful illustrations of Picto Lingua offer a visual twist on a classic family game. With nearly 50 words in five different languages—German, French, English, Italian and Spanish—players can use both words and pictures, or make the game even more challenging by flipping the playboard and trying to win with only the pictures! There are 50 flashcards, 10 play boards, and over 100 tokens.
Ages: 8 & up.
Available at amazon.com, $23.62.
2. Clumsy Thief in the Candy Shop
The follow-up game to award-winning Clumsy Thief, this time, the masked menace is at it again—in a candy shop! Using the stack of 94 cards, players try to add up enough candy to make 20. Thief cards steal candy cards, jail cards stop thieves. The player with the most cards at the end of the round wins!
Available at amazon.com, $14.99
3. Roller Coaster Challenge
This new game from ThinkFun is filled with STEM challenges for kids. Players use the 36 posts and 39 tracks to complete one of 40 challenges. Once the challenge is completed (varying from easy to super hard) kids can watch their roller coaster car glide from top to bottom. There’s even an opportunity for a little free-form play!
Ages: 6 & up.
Available at amazon.com, $29.99.
4. What Letter Do I Start With
Give their vocab a little boost with a brightly illustrated word search game. Players simply fit the four game boards together and start flipping the alphabet cards. Speed is key here because the point of the game is to place a tile over a picture that starts with the same letter of the card that’s been flipped and earn a point! The first player to place all of his or her 10 tiles on the cards wins!
Ages: 6 & up.
Available at fatbraintoys.com, $12.95.
5. Explore the World
Little explorers will love this fun game from Cobble Hill. There are travel cards, that move players along on their journey, natural world questions, man-made questions, and flag cards, all of which give kids a chance to learn more about the world around them.
Available at amazon.com, $13.48.
6. My First Bananagrams
Your older kids (and you) love Bananagrams for the wordplay and silly antics, so let your youngest spellers in on the fun with My First Bananagrams. With 80 big, easy-to-read lowercase letters and 13 combo-tiles in bright colors, amateur wordsmiths will have an easier time with this simplified version of the popular game.
Available at amazon.com, $14.88.
7. Word on the Street Junior
This fun new game from Educational Insights uses a mix of vocab development with creative and strategic thinking—your kids won’t even realize they’re learning! Players simply line up all the letter tiles (there are 26 tiles) in the middle of the board, then flip a card (there are 108 category cards), read the question aloud, and move any letter tiles that they can see in their answer to their side of the “street.” The first person to have eight tiles wins!
Available at educationalinsights.com, $19.99.
Get your kids thinking about all kinds of creatures and how they compare to others in the animal kingdom Simply flip a card and make quick decisions: Who’s bigger? Smaller? Slower? The first one to shout out the correct answer wins the round. There are 60 illustrated cards and four reference cards, and the game is neat and compact, perfect for travel.
Available at amazon.com, $10.99.
Did we miss your kiddo’s favorite learning game? Let us know in the comments section below.
— Gabby Cullen & Kristina Moy