We live in the golden age of board games. As of this morning, Kickstarter has more than 300 game-makers seeking funds to help with development. The time of the classic behemoths like Monopoly, Sorry, Candyland and the like have come and gone. Games for all ages and every genre are piling up on store shelves. Enthusiasts are opening board game cafes every month throughout the U.S. and Canada. More and more conventions tailored to board gaming are popping up everywhere. Family game night is returning to households all over America. These are wonderful times to be a geek.
Many of these games are masquerading as teaching tools. Fortunately, educational games are enjoying the boom in the market, too. Publishers are taking an educational approach to designing games by adding logic reasoning, history, math, geography, spelling and even entrepreneurship into the mechanics. With so many games filling up stores and websites, how does a parent sift through the junk to find the perfect game for their children? That’s where we come in. Today, we’re looking at five awesome educational games for kids.
Game publisher Think Fun is one of the top brands in the educational game category. With games like Math Dice and the new Math Dice Powers Edition, they are no stranger to familiarizing your child with numerical operations. In 2013, we see them taking a step into the word deptartment with the new WordARound, a fun way to teach your kids spelling and vocabulary. The game is fairly simple and setup takes less than five minutes. The game features words written on circular-shaped cards. A player flips the card over and the first person to correctly guess the word gets a point. Bonus Mode: Put the kids to bed, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a drinking game. 😉
2. GeoDice: Educational Geography Board Game
Americans seem to have a tough time with geography. Most of this stems from the fact that we only have two countries bordering us. The other probably has to do with our failing public education system. However, parents need not be cynical when it comes to their kids identifying countries and capitals with the help of the excellent game GeoDice. Designed for kids ages 6 and older, GeoDice comes with lettered dice that you roll on the included world map board that identifies a continent and asks the player to name capitals or countries with the corresponding letter rolled. Your kids will be the master of the atlas in no time. Come to think of it, all of us would benefit by having this game in our homes.
3. The Presidential Game
The U.S. electoral college is one of the most confusing election bodies in the world. As an American adult, you probably understand how the system works, but for kids it can be quite complicated. (Not to mention people living outside the U.S.) The Presidential Game doesn’t just teach you how the system works, but it shows you the various strategies that the Democrats and Republicans implement on the campaign trail. The game itself feels like a modified version of Risk and allows for heavy customization by including lots of blank event cards. The game is great for kids, but adults will love the competitiveness as well. We had lots of fun playing this one.
4. Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! Card Game
So far, we’ve covered spelling, geography and U.S. political science. Next, we have a fantasy theme that teaches language arts to children. Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! started out as a kickstarter campaign, but is now available for pre-order. The goal is to turn the goblins into fairies or send them into the fairy ring. Kids will learn about rhyming and basic strategy. The game only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to play. It’s also worth noting that the art is simply magnificent.
5. Lemonade Stand
Being an entrepreneur is exciting and one of the most challenging adventures a person can undertake. Unfortunately, running a business is left to the adults, and kids have to wait till they grow up before sampling what it is like to start their own company. Finally, there is a game that lets would-be enterprising children learn the basics of supply and demand by operating a Lemonade Stand. Lemonade Stand is a quick “deep” strategy card game that allows a person to run a small business. Variables depend on the weather, advertising, and pricing. The game is a great introduction to economics and profit margins. How much are you going to spend in order to make X number of dollars. Here’s a great review of the game on youtube.