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The Best Educational Board Games for 2021: Must Have Family Fun

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Playing board games as a family is one of our favorite ways to spend time together, and it’s even better when they are educational board games! In addition to our family’s top 10 favorites, I’m sharing several other educational board games we enjoy when learning certain subjects, sharing with friends, or just to mix things up.

Educational board games aren’t dry and dusty these days; they are adventurous, engaging, and make great gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or just because you want to introduce some new fun to your table.

No matter what subject your kids are learning about (math, spelling, geography…seriously, anything!), there’s an educational board game for it nowadays. There’s even a trend in the homeschooling world called gameschooling – learning through the play of educational board games! It’s so much fun and we were on that train before we even knew it had a name.

the best educational board games for your family with a photo of our favorite games

Jazz up your next family game night with one of these awesomely enjoyable board games. PLEASE NOTE: While I’ll tell you what ages are recommended for the game, we have noticed many games are great even younger than they say (perhaps because we are avid players and our kids grow up with it? Or perhaps it’s a homeschooling family thing? Either way, we let you know what we think, too!). And when the goal is learning (after all, you are playing educational board games to help your kids learn, right?), it’s okay if they have to think and grow a bit.

The Top 10 Best Educational Board Games For Families

Here are the top 10 educational board games our family loves; we own and play each one of these and I suggest them confidently to you…be sure to let me know which your favorites are!

1. Settlers of Catan

If you’ve never settled Catan, you’re in for a treat! Settlers of Catan is hands-down our family’s top pick for must-have educational board games. The extension kit allows you at add more players and the expansion packs keep the adventures always new (our favorite is Cities and Knights).

The Junior version of the game is also fun, and a great way to introduce your younger family members to this classic board game.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-4 players, but expansion packs allow for more!
  • AGES: The box says 10+, but we have a 7-year old who is learning and plays along, too. There’s also a Catan Junior that’s fun for younger kids (and us, too!).
  • PLAYING TIME: This game takes 45 minutes up to 2 hours per round, depending on how many are playing and how may expansion packs (if any) you choose to use.
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Strategy is the main benefit to this game (in addition to fun). Players need to think ahead, trade cards, and consider what others are doing. Reading and addition are also part of play.

One thing we invested in was board game cases to keep our Catan sets organized and easy to take along. THAT is how much we play them around here and enjoy sharing them at game nights with friends.

2. Blokus

Classic Blokus is strategy at its best. We could play this over and over again and never get bored (actually, we do!). There’s also Blokus Trigon and Blokus Duo if you want to mix it up and have more options…or if you have a big family and want to have a Blokus marathon.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-4
  • AGES: This is labeled as 7+, but personally we’ve had our kids start enjoying it as young as 5 years old.
  • PLAYING TIME: This game takes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: This is all about strategy and thinking ahead, plus adjusting as others play. We’ve loved Blokus for critical thinking fun!

3. Qwirkle

When we received Qwirkle as a gift, we had no idea it was going to become a favorite for years to come. It even comes on vacation with us!

  • # PLAYERS: 2-4 players
  • AGES: 6+ per the box, but again we say younger. Even 4 & 5 year olds can hop in on this fun!
  • PLAYING TIME: 1/2 hour or a little more, depending on ages and number of players
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Logic, planning, color and shape identification and matching

4. Ticket To Ride

Ticket To Ride is another game that pulls you in. And for the younger kids, Ticket To Ride: First Journey is awesome, too.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-5 people
  • AGES: 8+, per the manufacturer, but again we say 6+
  • PLAYING TIME: Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: This is similar to Catan in that it’s primarily a strategy game. There are several different versions to help you stretch your skills in this area. Reading, addition, and geography are all included for the price of fun!

5. Sequence

Traditional Sequence is something we’ve enjoyed for what feels like half of forever. Sequence Numbers is also great, if you can find it at a yard sale, and Sequence Letters will be under our Christmas tree this year (shhh, don’t tell the kids!).

  • # PLAYERS: This is a wonderful group game, because it’s good for up to 12 players (2-12)
  • AGES: The box says 7+, but we say 4 and up if you’re willing to help here and there
  • PLAYING TIME: This game takes half an hour
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: This is great for matching, logic, and strategy.

6. Monopoly

This is the ultimate classic educational board game; Monopoly classic has been around for decades and there are more than 3000 editions of it available now (from your state to Star Wars and everything in between!).

For a fun new twist, check out Monopoly Builder! If Monopoly and Catan had a collision, this is the game you’d end up with.

And of course, there’s a Junior edition if you have lots of young players.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-8
  • AGES: 8+ (although we say 6 and up!)
  • PLAYING TIME: Depending on the number of players and skill levels, from hours to days (I jest, but fun fact: according to The Guinness Book of World Records, the longest Monopoly game ever played lasted 1,680 hours for 70 straight days of play…you’ve been duly warned!).
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: This is a strategy, math, and critical thinking classic!

7. The Game of Life

Life is another classic game to introduce to the next generation.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-4 players
  • AGES: 8+
  • PLAYING TIME: 30 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Not only is their skill needed for the game, this is a great conversation starter and a fun way to think through the various stages of life.

8. Clue

Whodunnit? That’s what you need to find out! In this classic game of Clue, you’ll all enjoy trying to figure out the murderer.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-6
  • AGES: 8+ (we say 6+)
  • PLAYING TIME: 20-30 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Problem solving and deductive reasoning are honed during this fun mystery.

9. Rummikub

If you’ve never settled Catan, you’re in for a treat! Settlers of Catan is hands-down our family’s top pick for must-have educational board games.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-4
  • AGES: 8+ (we’ve found that as young as 5 can play, but may get frustrated, so 8+ is solid)
  • PLAYING TIME: 30-60 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: A great STEM game, this will help with math skills, problem solving, and strategy. Your child will use sequencing, pattern recognition, and learn to plan ahead with this fun classic game.

10. Scattergories

One of my personal favorites, the classic Scattergories is pretty amazing, but I have to admit the new quick card game is also pretty fabulous.

  • # PLAYERS: Great for 2-6 players
  • AGES: 12+ (as young as 9 if your kiddo is well read and a good speller)
  • PLAYING TIME: Each round is only a few minutes, so it’s up to you
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Spelling, vocabulary, and thinking fast are needed for this game and will challenge players to bring their best. Lots of fun and a rare language building game great for students, those learning ESL, and families.

The 9 Most Fun & Educational Board Games For Kids Ages 2-5

If you’re looking specifically for educational board games to play with younger kids, these are are our favorites. We like them because the vary in complexity and in the skills they encourage in kids. It’s fun to mix it up and play several in a day or binge on one and move onto the next when you’re ready.

Zingo

Zingo is a fun, simple way to learn sight words. This games is bingo with a twist: you identify pictures and the words with them.

Perfect for pre-readers and early readers to start learning sight words.

  • PLAYERS: 2-4 players
  • AGES: 4 and up
  • TIME: Each round takes 3-5 minutes, and you can play as many rounds as you want
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Matching, observation, early reading

Hi Ho! Cherry-O!

This delightful game will bring smiles to their faces. Hi Ho! Cherry-O teaches colors, counting, and enhances fine motor skills. More than that, though, is the hours of fun this game will bring to your family table.

  • PLAYERS: 2-4 players
  • AGES: 3 and up (although we’ve helped 2 year olds play!)
  • TIME: 10 minutes per game
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Colors, counting, fine motor skills

CandyLand

The perfect first board game for your toddler! CandyLand is a colorful adventure through a sweet imaginary land for kids.

There’s no need to read and kids can play this with or without an adult.

  • PLAYERS: For 2-4 kids and their young at heart friends
  • AGES: 3 and up
  • TIME: Games take 5-15 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Teaching colors, counting, and logic, this is a great introductory board game for young children.

Busytown: Eye Found It

For all fans of Richard Scarry, Busytown: Eye Found It is a delightful, oversized hidden pictures game that will teach your child subtly as they laugh and discover with their friends.

  • PLAYERS: 2-4
  • AGES: 3+
  • TIME: 20 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Not only will this game help develop your child’s power of observation, it encourages team work, attention to detail, object identification, and matching skills.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel

Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel is a truly unique game at a time when so many seem like recycled versions of the classics. I love it…and the kids do, too.

  • PLAYERS: 2-4
  • AGES: 3+
  • TIME: 20 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Learn color matching, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and early strategy skills.

Shelby’s Snack Shack

Educational Insights provides another fun, one-of-a-kind game for kids with Shelby’s Snack Shack. This time children are encouraged to count and add while strengthening motor development.

  • PLAYERS: 2-4
  • AGES: 4+
  • TIME: 20 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Learn counting, early addition, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.

Chutes and Ladders

Another classic game that is a part of childhood. Chutes and Ladders lets your kids build confidence with numbers and counting, learn directions, and have a blast!

  • PLAYERS: 2-4
  • AGES: 3+
  • TIME: 10 minutes
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Learn number recognition, counting, up and down directions, and learn about rewards for good deeds.

The Ladybug Game

What fun! Immerse your child in the world of backyard bugs in The Ladybug Game.This game was created by a 1st grader and provides fun for the whole family!

  • PLAYERS: 2-4 players
  • AGES: 3 and up (although we’ve helped 2 year olds play!)
  • TIME: 10-15 minutes per game
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Learn counting, addition, subtraction, and early reading skills along with fun science facts about ladybugs and other backyard insects.

Sequence for Kids

It’s not just for tweens to adults anymore; now kids can join in the Sequence fun, too!

Sequence for Kids requires no reading, either, so kids as young as 3 can play independently (without help from a parent or big kid) and enjoy being on their own in a game they’ve seen everyone else enjoy, too!

  • PLAYERS: 2-4 players
  • AGES: 3 and up
  • TIME: 10 minutes per game
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Matching, taking turns, and logic are all a part of this fun game for kids.

Best Educational Board Games for Ages 6-8

Connect 4

A true classic, Connect 4 helps kids with strategy and logic, colors and patterns, and even fine motor skills.

  • PLAYERS: For up to 7 players, this is great for young kids, older siblings, and parents to all play together! An
  • AGES: According to the game box, it’s for ages 10+, but again…we would say 7 and up
  • TIME: Games take 1-2 hours, depending on the ages of those playing and the number of players. The Junior version is about 20 minutes per game.
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: This game requires strategy, logic, and critical thinking. It also teaches probability. The various additions to it keep it fresh and interesting.

Labyrinth

A great logic game that changes as you play, Labyrinth is sure to engage their minds and capture their attention (and you’ll want to play, too, which makes it a super win!).

  • PLAYERS: 2-4 players
  • AGES: 7 and up (although we say 6 — it’s really a great game for all ages and no one will get bored!)
  • TIME: 20-30 minutes per game
  • EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAME BENEFITS: Problem solving, decision making, thinking ahead, strategy

Making Family Game Nights Extra Special

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