With so many wonderful online options for learning, sometimes it's hard to not over do it with screen time. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing! When I find we're hitting our screen limits, I love to switch things up with a little unplugged learning fun. Games are such a great way to continue the learning without adding more screen time.
I asked my kids and my friends on Facebook, and they helped me brainstorm 15 great options for unplugged learning fun. Here's what we came up with:
Blokus is a quick game to learn, but can provide endless hours of fun. While players try to fit all of their pieces on the board, they have to use strategy and spacial awareness in order to fit the greatest amount of their pieces on the board.
Another great feature of this game is that it can be played solo! If you're looking for a great way to stimulate your kids' brains, this game will do it!
2. Catan & Catan, Jr.
The beauty of these games is that the board is flexible, and therefore each game truly feels like a new experience. Players learn probability, resource management, and patience in these great games.
Stratego is a classic game of battlefield strategy. Two players command armies and devise plans to deploy troops, using strategic attacks and clever deception to break through the opponent’s line and capture the flag!
Don't underestimate the educational power of the classic game of Monopoly. This classic economics game will keep your kids busy for hours. If nothing else, Monopoly teaches patience, as well as anger management and self control!
All kidding aside, there is truly a lot of math in this game, strategy, buying and selling, trading, and taxes. It's a great way to learn about how monopolies work, and your kids will have fun learning while they play.
5. Rock On
My youngest, rock-collecting enthusiast loves this game. It comes with nice-size specimens of many different rocks and minerals with at least one rock from each of the 3 classes - igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. The game also includes beautiful, polished rock and mineral pieces such as rose quartz, agate, aventurine, jasper and many others. Identification guides make sorting and identifying engaging and fun.
Cover Your Assets is a fast moving game that offers educational fun in only 15 minutes of play time. (Which will more likely mean your kids will want to play it over and over). Strategy abounds as you compete to become the first millionaire. Stack pairs of assets, to cover your valuables before they are stolen by other players. Defend your assets with like cards in your hand or Gold or Silver Wild Cards.
This is a great game for learning on the go, and it involves some addition or skip counting to total at the end!
Increase your family's mental agility with Set Race to find as many SETs as you can—the player with the most SETs at the end of the game wins! Play SET solo or with as many people as you can fit around the table! It’s perfect for travel, parties or as a quick after-dinner game. Fast-moving and fun, SET is a perfect for any get-together with family and friends!
8. Logic Links
Logic Links Puzzle Box from MindWare is a great way to enhance spatial learning and deductive reasoning skills while having fun! Each Logic Links puzzle uses a series of clues to instruct a player where to place the colored chips to solve the puzzle requiring deductive reasoning and determination.
Logic Links is a great activity for individual's and groups alike. Race to see how many puzzles can be completed in a set amount of time or compete against each other to see who can complete the puzzle first.
I love the strategy required to complete routes, as well as the geography integrated into game play. We've enjoyed the basic game, Heart of Africa and Europe, but there are so many other variations that I would love to own. I also love that it is a game the entire family enjoys playing together.
Qwirkle is playable from early ages up, allowing young children and older individuals alike to develop and hone their spacial recognition, planning, and problem solving skills. There's always math involved in totaling scores at the end.
If nothing else, the Scrabble tiles are a fantastic resource for all kinds of spelling games and activities. I always see this game at thrift shops and garage sales, so you can get it really inexpensively. How long has it been since you've cracked out the scrabble board game with your family?
While there is a lot of strategy involved in Sorry, ultimately the winner comes down to chance. This really helps kids learn how to overcome setbacks, reassess the situation, and make a plan to get all of their pieces safely home.
Even though we'd like to protect our kids from all forms of bullying, they will experience encountering people in their life that knock them down. Sorry is all about getting back up again and not giving up.
You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams. You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion. In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodum. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner. But wait. It must be something in the air, several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents, would be delighted.
It's a rather complicated game, and good exercise for practicing order of operations.
Another classic game that offers great unplugged learning potential is Yahtzee. With a simple role of the dice, players have to take risks, calculate scores, and form a strategy to defeat their opponent.
This game is another game that works well for one person to play by themselves. They can compete against themselves, or against a previous high score. With a travel version of this game, you can have learning opportunities with you wherever you go!
Are you yearning to be outrageously original and let your creative juices flow? If you answered YES to this question, then this is the game for you! For one or more players Disruptus can also be played in teams. It's also a great party game! It has you laughing and innovating from the moment the first card is flipped. Roll the game die, choose the appropriate card(s), then Create2, Improve, Transform or Disrupt. Each game comes with a pre-printed, six-sided die, 100 cards and a one-minute sand timer.
We love using this game to help our kids practice thinking outside of the box. It's my husband's favorite!
What board/card/dice games do you count as school?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.