Our family loves board games and, as a homeschool mom, I rely heavily on board games as a resource for learning. Our homeschool routine is built upon carefully selected books and educational family games. I’ve seen so much learning happen in this way. I am a huge fan of stealth learning!
10 Fantastic Family Games for Your Game Closet
*Disclosure: I received several of the games mentioned herein at no cost. I was not required to write a review and, as always, all opinions are my own. I only share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy.
Today, I am sharing ten of our family’s favorite games from the past school year. I have divided the games into four categories: one-player games, math games, movement games, and party games.
One-Player Family Games
One-player games are an important tool to have in your game closet! I use one-player games to keep kids busy and learning on car trips, in waiting rooms, when I need to make a phone call, and when I need a moment of quiet.
Back Spin is a double-sided interactive puzzle for ages 8 and up that will keep kids engaged for long periods of time. Winner of the Oppenheim Award, Back Spin is a double-sided disc filled with multi-colored balls. The goal is to get the balls to their appropriate color-coded slots. In order to do so, players must pay attention to what is happening on both sides of the disc.
Balance Beans is a one-player logic and reasoning game for ages 5 and up. The game teaches young children early algebra and physics. The red beans cannot be moved. The object of the game is to add the additional beans indicated on the challenge card in such a way that they balance the seesaw. Solutions to each challenge are on the reverse side of each challenge card. Young players start off using trial-and-error but even the youngest players get the hang of it quickly. Soon, players learn to use reasoning and problem-solving skills. As they play, they are learning to balance equations and the rules of physics!
This one-player logic game designed for ages 8 and up. If your family loves Laser Maze and Gravity Maze, they are guaranteed to fall for Circuit Maze… and they will catch on in a snap because the games are so similar! Circuit Maze is played on a grid and includes 60 challenge cards of increasing difficulty. Challenges are outlined on one side and the reverse side has the answers. The goal is to place tokens on the grid, according to challenge card criteria, and create a working circuit.
Clue Master is recommended for ages 8 and up. In this game, players will use deductive reasoning to help Tippy the dog return to his dog house. To win, players must put Tippy’s chew bones, tennis balls, and food bowls in the correct order to unlock the secret door and send Tippy home. (If your kids enjoy Clue Master, be sure to check out Code Master!)
As a homeschool mom, I rely very heavily on math games as a way to practice skills and build confidence. I believe games work better than worksheets!
Math Dice Chase
Math Dice Chase is a mathematical hot-potato game designed for 4-6 players. To play, players sit in a circle. One player starts with the two 12-sided purple dice while another player uses the two 12-sided blue dice. When everyone is ready, both players roll their dice, multiply the numbers rolled, and call out their answer. Then, they quickly pass the dice to the player next to them. The trick is to multiply quickly because if you are caught with both pairs at the same time you are O-U-T!
Stratos Spheres is a three-dimensional twist on the traditional four-in-a-row game. This two-player game is recommended for ages 8 and up. The goal of the game is to be the first player to connect four spheres in a row, in any direction. This game travels easily and is the perfect game to keep in your purse or car for road trips, restaurants, and appointments!
Family Movement Games
Movement games are a great way to wear kids out when the weather isn’t cooperating. They can also be a great way to work on coping skills and mindfulness.
Yoga Spinner Game
Yoga Spinner Game is designed for ages 5 and up and is ideal for 2 or more players. The game includes a spinner and playing cards in red, green, white, and blue. To play, players sit in a circle and players take turns using the spinner and selecting cards of the appropriate color. Each card contains a yoga pose and the player must hold that pose for 10 seconds in order to keep the card. White cards are cooperative cards and require two players to work together on a particular pose. The first player to obtain one card of each color wins the game.
What happens when your traditional memory game meets yoga poses? Memory Yoga! Work on balance, coordination, mindfulness, and memory in this fun twist on an old classic! To play, arrange all cards face down. Players turn over two cards per turn. If the player turns over two matching cards, that player must hold the yoga pose depicted on the card for 30 seconds in order to keep the match. The player with the most matches at the end of the game is the winner.
We are about to enter the holiday season… a wonderful time to try out some party games! Our family loves to play games at family gatherings!
Escape the Room: Mystery at Stargazer Manor
Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer Manor is an interactive party game, perfect for gatherings, holidays, or a family game night. Set in 1869, Mystery at the Stargazer Manor tells the story of an astronomer who has not been seen nor heard from since his wife’s passing. However, strange things have been happening over at his manor: smoke, sounds, and an odd odor. The game begins with a letter from the caretaker of Stargazer Manor. In the letter, the caretaker asks for help investigating the astronomer’s disappearance and recent strange events at the manor. The party host reads the letter aloud and when everyone is ready, the host sets a timer. I don’t want to share much more from here, for fear of spoiling your experience. And it is an experience! There are suggestions for mood music and also recommends dressing in costume. With a little creativity, this game can help you to have a party your guests will remember for years to come.
Escape the Room: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat
My children are 5, 6, and 8 years old and so I’ve not played this next game because I’m afraid it will scare them out of their pants! I’m including it because it looks absolutely amazing… and it is just in time for Halloween!
The Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat is the sequel to the aforementioned party game, but with a more challenging and scarier storyline, making it a perfect match for more advanced players and for families with teenagers. In this timed party game, players decipher clues to unravel the dark secret. But be careful… the doors have shut and locked behind you. Will you and your guests discover the secret and escape the room before time runs out?