If you are interested in educational board games for kids, this is the list for you! Find the best educational board games for preschoolers, kindergarten, and older elementary students in this post.
Who doesn’t love board games?
I grew up playing board games with my siblings all the time, and my husband and I love a good game night.
When kids are young, it can be difficult to know which games will engage them, while also emphasizing a few important educational subjects such as math and geography. That’s why I created this list of the best educational board and card games for kids!
Your kids will have a great time playing them with you, and they’ll learn a little something, too!
I’ve broken these games down into the educational skills they emphasize, and I’ve tried to list the age ranges on each. Read more to find a game your child will like!
Educational Board Games
Educational Preschool Board Games
I have a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old right now, and playing pretend with their toys can get old really fast. It’s nice to have some games on hand that not only emphasize basic preschool skills but that you and your kids can have fun playing together.
These games listed below are great to help teach: color matching, numbers and counting, letters and the alphabet, identifying shapes, identifying patterns, social skills, fine motor skills, strategic thinking skills and more.
You already know how to play UNO and Go Fish!, but here is a description of some of the other games listed.
Educational Insights Games include popular games like: The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, Shelby’s Snack Shack Game, Frida’s Fruit Fiesta Game, Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game, and Sophie’s Seashell Scramble Game are all designed with preschool-aged children in mind.
My kids love Big Picture Apples to Apples! We bought it after playing it with some friends of ours. It’s the same basic concept as Apples to Apples, except kids can choose from a set of pictures that they believe matches the descriptive word or phrase.
Tangoes Jr are ancient Chinese puzzles keep little minds and fingers busy, as kids use the seven magnetic puzzle pieces to recreate colorful designs. Basic set includes a portable laptop case, seven shapes, and 12 two-sided design cards; all pieces store inside. Each card offers two levels of play. The beginner’s side shows the outline of each puzzle piece; the advanced side shows the shape only in silhouette. Solve the puzzles on top of the card. Great travel toy! The portable case features a carry handle and storage drawer; fits on a child’s lap to provide a flat work surface.
Loonacy is a rapid-fire game where players race to be the first to empty their hand of 7 cards by matching one of two images with the images on the open piles in front of them. Speed of the hand and luck of the draw determine the winner in this frenzied free-for-all!
Educational Spelling Board Games & Reading Board Games for Kids
Scrabble Jr. and Zingo are great for preschoolers and those just learning their letters and sounds. The rest of the games listed are great for elementary aged students and up.
Here’s a brief description of some of the games you might not be familiar with:
Zingo is the winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award and Parents’ Choice Gold Award, among others. It’s a fun pre-reading board game for ages 4 and up. Like all of ThinkFun’s games, Zingo is built to develop critical thinking skills.
Playing will improve language skills through fun and fast-paced play.
Upwords is essentially just like Scrabble, except that you can make new words by stacking different letter tiles on the tiles that are already in place on the board.
I actually never played Scrabble growing up, we just played Upwords! It is recommended for kids age 8+.
If you’ve ever seen the TV show Wheel of Fortune, the game is just like it! You have to solve letter puzzles by spinning the wheel, buying vowels, etc.
Best for kids ages 8 and up.
Educational Math Board Games
These math board games and math card games are great for helping kids with a variety of math-related skills like adding, subtracting, estimating, multiplication, sequencing, and number recognition.
- Sum Swap
- Double Shutter
- Sequence for Kids
- Sleeping Queens
- Zeus on the Loose
- Blokus Junior
- Phase 10
The first seven games on this list are best suited for kids ages 3-7 or preschool to early elementary school but can often be enjoyed by people of all ages. The rest on the list are more for slightly older kids, about 8+.
I know some on the list are readily recognizable and classic educational games for kids, so I wanted to share more about some you may not be familiar with.
Kids will have a terrific time learning math skills as they avoid the hilarious pitfalls of the Sum Swamp.
Designed for two to four players, this game is sure to develop and sharpen beginning math skills, because the only way to escape the mire is to roll the dice and add and subtract your way around the board.
The best part is that this is an educational board game kids can grow with–children 5 to 6 will find it a learning challenge, and older kids can play for fun. It’s great for teaching kids ages 5 years and up early math skills like addition and subtraction.
Double Shutter requires strategic choices and a good dose of luck!
Roll the dice and knock down a combination of numbered tiles that equal the rolled number. Play until there are no tiles left to equal the dice.
The ultimate goal is to knock down two rows of tiles. This is easier said than done! Have the lowest point total to win this addictive game. Includes game box, lid, and 2 dice.
It’s great for kids 5 years and older and teaches addition.
It’s the classic game of Sequence made just for kids!
Play a card from your hand, and place your chip on the corresponding character on the board – the first with four chips in a row wins! Reading is not required to play. Use a UNICORN card to place your chip anywhere or a dragon card to remove your opponent’s chip.
Kids ages 3-6 can play it, and it helps with logical thinking.
Sleeping Queens is a royalty rousing math card game: the Pancake Queen, the Ladybug Queen and ten of their closest friends have fallen under a sleeping spell and it’s your job to wake them up.
Use strategy, quick thinking and a little luck to wake these napping nobles from their royal slumbers. Play a knight to steal a queen or take a chance on a juggling jester. But watch out for wicked potions and dastardly dragons!
The player who wakes the most queens wins.
It says ages 8 and up on the box, but my 3-year-old and 6-year-old daughters love to play it. It teaches simple addition problems.
Zeus on the Loose
Catch Zeus if you can in the math card game Zeus on the Loose! The great Greek god has bolted from Mount Olympus and it’s up to you to nab this dashing deity.
Play cards strategically, adding numbers as you climb up the mythic mountain. Grab Zeus when the total reaches a multiple of 10. Better yet, summon the strength of Apollo, Poseidon, or all-powerful Hera to bring Zeus within your grasp.
Reach the top of Mount Olympus with Zeus in hand and you’re a mortal among the gods. Teaches math and strategic thinking. Recommended for kids 8 and up.
Get rid of the rats and go for the cats! In Rat-a-Tat Cat, less is always better, and you want to go out with the lowest score.
Can you remember the numbers on the other players’ cards? Can you keep a poker face, but notice when another player looks pleased?
Sharpen your memory and your timing, and have fun with the cool cats and bad rats of Rat-a-Tat Cat. Teaches basic mathematical concepts and is recommended for ages 6 and up.
Made with younger hands in mind, Blokus Junior has less complicated pieces, a bigger board, and 10 mini-games to help kids learn how to play the game.
It’s great for ages 5-13+, and teaches kids strategy and spatial thinking.
Educational Geography Board Games
I’m terrible at geography, and my husband makes fun of me for it quite often. He’s often at the wheel when we road trip because unless it’s on the GPS, I have a hard time finding my way around.
Parents who want their kids to learn basic world geography or even about where states are located in the USA can take advantage of some of these great geography board games:
These games are great for adults and for kids about 6-8 years old and up. Risk and Pandemic are better educational board games for teens and teach other great skills too.
Here’s a brief description of the games:
Take Off! is the geographical board game that challenges players to race jets along colored route lines to make it around the world.
Includes a 48″x22″ laminated world map, 24 plastic airplanes, and 200 fact-filled country cards. The goal is to get your fleet of planes (2 to 4 in all) across the map of the world–from Hawaii to Hawaii–before your opponents, by rolling dice, getting lucky, and answering questions about the nations of the world correctly from the deck of country profile cards.
Best suited for kids 6 years old and up.
In The Scrambled States of America, you need to be the first to find a state that ends with the letter A and one that borders Tennessee.
Have fun learning about the United States in this madcap game of observation and quick reflexes. Collect state cards by matching them to a Scramble challenge. Or “Go the Distance” and find a state’s closest neighbor. Win the most cards and call yourself the Head of States!
Best for kids ages 8 years old and up.
Professor Noggins’ Countries of the World is a card game that combines trivia, true or false, and multiple choice questions. A special three-numbered die is included which adds an element of unpredictability. Easy and hard levels keep kids interested and challenged – while of course having fun. Recommended for kids ages 7+.
Game of the States: Can You Sell the Most from Coast to Coast is a fun board game where the challenge is for players to race their trucks back and forth across the country – buying products in some States and selling them in other States. It incorporates math and fun STEM facts about each state! The player with the most money at the end of the game wins!
Educational Art Board Games and Drawing Games
Kids who like to draw or have fun solving puzzles will get a kick out of these games. I can’t say that Pictionary or Telestrations necessarily “teach” kids how to improve their art, but playing these games gives them a chance to hone their skills! However, some actually teach about artists and their works!
- Modern Art
- Professor Noggin’s History of Art
- Starving Artists
Tantrix is a fun puzzle and strategy game full of lines, loops, and forms that will have to be created. Bursting with challenging solitaire puzzles and strategy games for 2 to 4 players.
It’s great for ages 8 years old and up and it teaches kids how to solve puzzles and problem-solve.
In Cranium you team up and have to do different things on your turn. You can act out a card, sketch or sculpt it, or answer various trivia questions. It’s best for teens and adults as some of the cards reference songs and other pop references younger kids likely will not know.
For the younger crowd look to pick up Cadoo instead!
The unfortunately out of print art auction board game, Masterpiece is a super fun art board game Katelyn played growing up!
Your favorite Rembrandt is on the block and you are bidding for it against a dazzling array of eccentric art speculators. Should you go even higher? What if it’s a worthless forgery? You’ll find out when you play Masterpiece, an exciting, suspenseful trip into the elite world of the international art auction.
It is recommended for kids ages 12 and up.
The Modern Art board game is similar to Masterpiece where you are bidding on art in an auction house.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in the high-stakes world of fine art auctions, there’s nothing more beautiful than making a buck. In Modern Art, players take on the role of curators, buying and selling paintings for their museum. Over the course of four rounds, they take part in a number of auctions, trying to get the best value for the pieces in their collection. Whoever makes the most money wins the game (and keeps their job).
A good variation on this classic game is Masters Gallery which is a card game version.
A type of art history board game, Professor Noggin’s History of Art card game is designed for young kids!
Players take turns rolling the die and asking each other questions from the cards. If a question is answered correctly, the card is won; if answered incorrectly, the card is returned to the bottom of the pile. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Players have a few chances throughout the game to get a Noggin’s Choice card. This means they can choose a card from any other player, and get ahead. Remember the correct answers. If a question is not answered correctly the first time, that question will come up again.
Professor Noggin’s series of educational games encourages kids to learn interesting facts about their favorite subjects. Each of the thirty game cards combines trivia, true or false, and multiple choice questions. A special three-numbered die is included which creates interaction and promotes communication between players. Easy and hard levels keep kids interested and challenged – while of course having fun.
Starving Artists is an award-winning, turn and time resource management game for one to four players. Players are paint-by-cube artists who collect transparent paint cubes in order to finish beautiful works of art for paint, points and food.
Starving Artists uses some of the world’s most beautiful and famous works of art from world-renowned painters like Picasso, van Gogh, Norman Rockwell, Goya, Georgia O’Keeffe, and many others. Each painting is printed in full-color on over-sized cards and displays the locations of missing colors. Players complete these masterpieces by gathering the right colors and quantities of transparent cubes. Finish enough of them, and they’ll become the most famous paint-by-cue artist.
It takes about 40-60 minutes (approximately 20 minutes per player). The game includes rules for solo play and for younger players.
Educational Games that Teach Money Skills and Financial Literacy
Money management is something my parents spent a lot of time teaching me, but it can be a struggle to teach it in a fun way. These games are helpful for emphasizing money skills and financial literacy, even if your kids are young.
Monopoly can be played by adults and kids of all ages, while Monopoly Junior is geared more toward kids ages 5-8 years old. Hotel Tycoon is for kids 8 years and up, Presto Change-O is recommended for kids 5 and up, and Jeopardy is for 12 and up.
Build your empire and bankrupt your opponents in Hotel Tycoon! Everyone may start off equal – but it won’t take you long to change that. With a little luck and whole lot of money, drive your opponents into outright bankruptcy and claim the top spot in the high-stakes world of luxury hotels. On your turn, you’ll roll to move your plane to your next destination. Will you buy the land or improve your existing properties? Can you bribe the planning commission for the right to add to your luxury hotel? Can you strike just the right balance between spending extravagantly and saving for a rainy day? Time your moves and spend wisely to ruin your competition and win the game!
Educational Games: Critical Thinking/Deductive Reasoning/Strategy
Sometimes it’s fun to just play a game that makes you think and reason more than usual. These games are all pretty familiar to most of us and take strategy, patience, and some extra problem-solving skills.
Most of the games listed above recommend players ages 8 and up, but I would argue it depends on the kid and how willing they are to stick to a game. My brother and dad were playing chess when my brother was only 5 or so, and I feel like most 6-year-olds could get the hang of Battleship pretty quickly.
Besides teaching kids how to problem solve, I think these games also teach kids how to win and lose with grace. Often my parents would have us sit down to play board games so that we would learn how to not throw a temper tantrum or burst into tears if we lost. I think games really do help teach kids (and adults) how to compete fairly in the real world!
You may have noticed that there are no games listed above that focus on learning science. That’s because Katelyn already put together a great post with 30+ scientific board games! It’s an awesome post that highlights board games that teach different sciences – biology, geology, chemistry, astronomy, and more!
I also recommend that if you are interested in teaching your kids science to check out one of several awesome monthly science kits for kids!
Playing games with your children can be fun and educational! I hope this list helped you find some great games to add to your collection. Let me know if there are any others you and your kids love to play together!
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