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8 Unusual and Educational Board Games for Older Kids

best educational board games
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Educational Board Games

Board games are a great way for children to learn skills without even realizing that they’re learning. And, with so many families staying at home more, and parents worried about screentime, board games are really having a moment right now.

And hey, everyone loves a good game of Candyland or Monopoly and they are classics. But, move over classics.

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It’s time to introduce some new games to your family’s Game Night repertoire. I had this epiphany while trying to introduce my son to Pay Day. I was thrilled to find a completely intact, vintage set for just $1. He was less than impressed. And while I am still happy with my vintage find, playing a game that says that rent is $75 a month feels a little dated.

Better Board Games

We have most of these or have played them at others’ homes. I included a couple for 4-5 year olds, but most are for 8-12 and up. I call them new and unusual, but you may have heard of some of them. But, was just trying to make the point that these games are not checkers or Scrabble, which everyone has heard of.

Unusual Board Games for Older Kids

Azul -A tile-based game that encourages and teaches the importance of thinking strategically without the use of any violence. The game can be played in just 30 minutes and there are a few different versions of the game available. I am dying to buy this one. Mostly because they advertise it as “accessible” which wins points in my book. Nope, not a guarantee that it is and I will update this post when I find out. But even recognizing that a game should be accessible wins points with me.

Ages: 8+

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Plan B Games Azul Board Game Board Games, Multi-Colored, Full Pack
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2,808 Reviews
Plan B Games Azul Board Game Board Games, Multi-Colored, Full Pack
  • High quality components and fun, accessible gameplay
  • Fun tile drafting and tile placement mechanics
  • For 2 4 artisans, age 8 and up
  • Game plays in 30 40 minutes

Blokus-Another quick-playing strategy game that teaches problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and also teaches kids how to plan ahead. Blokus and Blokus Jr. are fairly similar, though Blokus Jr. has single-player puzzles and slightly different rules which is why I recommend it over the original.

Age: 5+

Mattel Games Blokus Junior
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13 Reviews
Mattel Games Blokus Junior
  • Award-winning family strategy game Blokus is reimagined for young minds as Blokus Junior!
  • With quicker gameplay, bigger game pieces and visual aids, Blokus Junior provides brain-building fun while helping teach strategy basics and critical thinking.
  • There's only one rule: pieces of the same color can only touch at the corners. Place them strategically as you compete to get as many of your pieces on the board as possible.
  • Kids can practice spatial reasoning, planning, problem solving, critical thinking, decision making and concentration all while engaging in board game fun!
  • With everything young minds need for simple strategy gameplay, plus 8 mini-games to help them sharpen their skills, Blokus Junior makes a great gift for 5 year olds and up.

Clack! -If your children love matching games then they will love Clack! Which takes it to a whole new level. This game does include magnets that are safely inside the discs but it isn’t suitable for children under the age of 3.

Ages: 5+

Amigo Games AMI18002 CLACK! Kids Magnetic Stacking Game with 36 Magnets
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283 Reviews
Amigo Games AMI18002 CLACK! Kids Magnetic Stacking Game with 36 Magnets
  • AGES: 5+ | 2-6 PLAYERS: Perfect for children, fun for everyone!
  • NO WAITING!: Every player plays on every turn
  • CHALLENGES SPEED & ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Players race to collect discs matching the combination on the dice
  • CONSTANT ACTION: Race to build the tallest stack in this magnetic game with a satisfying “clack”
  • HOW TO PLAY: Spread out the magnetic discs, roll the dice, and scramble to match the picture and the color. Make a match, grab a disc, and use its magnetic clack to build a stack. Keeping score is easy—just line up the stacks to see whose tower is tallest

Hoot Owl Hoot -Help the owls get home before the sun comes up in this cooperative game that cultivates emotional development, encourages creative problem-solving, and encourages teamwork. There are two levels of play, meaning it is a game that will grow with your children and be fun for older kids as well as younger kids. Brian loved this when he was a little kid. We played it often.

Ages: 4+

Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot - Cooperative Matching Game For Kids
  • Hurry little owls: In this color-coordinated matching game, players cooperate to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. Help all the owls home before sunrise and everyone wins!
  • Learning and growing: Kids learn simple strategy, following directions & taking turns. Two levels of play allow the game to grow with your child and lets older kids play with younger ones too.
  • Benefits: Cooperative games cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, positive self-esteem, creative problem solving, and develop a sense of community in a non-stressful play environment.
  • How to play: Play a color card and fly to that space. Draw a sun card and you're one step closer to daylight. Players can move any owl on their turn and talk together about how to get owls home & win.
  • Who can play: 2-4 Players. Recommended for Ages 4-8. Game includes 1 game board, 6 owl tokens, 1 sun token, 14 sun cards, 36 color cards and instructions for two versions of gameplay

Mancala -Mancala is a 3,000-year-old game that helps kids with basic math skills, logic, and introduces planning skills. Unlike the other games so far this game is only for 2 players, however. It is portable, making it a great game to take on camping trips, vacation, or just for a visit to the grandparents. Like I said, not all the games listed here are new games. But many have never heard of Mancala.

Age: 9+

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GlobalDream Mancala Board Game with Stones - Solid Hardwood Folding Game Board - Stunning Colored Marbles - 2 Player Game for The Whole Family - Portable 8.7 x 5.1 x 1.2 inch Folded Size
  • INTELLIGENT FAMILY FUN: Have fun with the family while exercising those brains with a 3000 year old game. From grand Mancala tournaments to entertain and educate the little ones. To coffee table games with the friends, a Mancala set is a great addition to any family.
  • HEIRLOOM PIECE: This solid hardwood board is made to last for generations. While fun with the family over a game of Mancala is great, having something to pass on your grandchildren - and even their children - that’s priceless.
  • A STUNNING GIFT: The beautiful design this game box makes this set a perfect gift. The set comes with a complete set of 48 stones + 5 stones as a replacement, easy to understand game instructions and a handy carry pouch so you can take your fun on the road.
  • GREAT FOR MATH SKILLS: Mancala can seem complicated at first. But it’s easy to pick up and helps to increase basic math skills as well as logic and planning skills for smaller kids. Get your kids hooked on Mancala and they’ll be a math whiz in no time.
  • 100% SATISFACTION OR YOUR MONEY BACK - That’s our unconditional guarantee! If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, we promise to offer you a prompt and full refund or ship you a replacement, so you can buy with peace of mind.

Once Upon A Time– Once Upon a Time encourages creativity and collaborative play as you weave a story together. There have been a number of expansions that allow for different stories to be told. This is an award-winning game that kids and adults are sure to love.

Ages: 12+

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Atlas Once Upon A Time 3rd Ed, Multi-Colored
  • Tell a tale based on random topics in your hand and try to steer the story toward your secret conclusion.
  • Appeals to players of all ages.
  • Once Upon a Time is a game in which the players work together to create a new fairy tale using elements from their cards like dungeons, giants, and cauldrons. Steer the story toward the secret ending you hold.
  • To win the game, play all of your story cards and steer the story to the ending card held in your hand! And they all lived happily ever after…we hope
  • Richard Lambert (Author)

Qwirkle-An easy to learn game that helps kids learn to plan ahead, solve problems, and develop their spatial recognition. This game is incredibly easy to learn and start which makes it great for playdates where time is limited. This is another game we really like.

Ages: 6+

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Mindware Qwirkle Board Game
  • TACTICAL STRATEGY: Featuring a massive amount of in game choices, including three tiles each of thirty six possible color symbol combinations, Qwirkle is the perfect game to hone player's tactical maneuvers, strategical planning, and forward thinking. Will you see the monolithic move that catapults you into first place?
  • EASY TO FOLLOW RULES: An engaging game with easy to follow rules, Qwirkle is great for younger players. The rules of the game are basic: Simply build lines by matching tiles based on either color or shape, and score points for doing so. However, the ability to build complex combinations will keep children interested and engaged, and challenge them mentally
  • GAMES THAT TEACH: 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. Plan, win, and learn simultaneously
  • FAMILY FAVORITE: Qwirkle is a fantastic game for families, as it can involve a wide range of ages, from children to adults. It only takes a few moments to explain, so new players such as extended family or your child's play dates can jump right in and play
  • INCLUDES: Product comes with 108 wooden Qwirkle tiles, 1 drawstring bag, 1 rule book

Richard Scarry’s Busytown – Eye Found It– A 6ft-long board game that encourages teamwork and paying attention to details. It can be played solo and takes between 15 and 20 minutes for one round. I don’t know why more kids aren’t introduced to Richard Scarry these days. It feels like it’s not as popular as when I was little.

Ages: 4+

Wonder Forge Richard Scarry's Busytown, Eye Found It Toddler Toy and Game for Boys and Girls Age 3 and Up - A Fun Preschool Board Game,Multi-colored
  • What you get - The game includes 1 game board, 4 movers, 4 mover bases, 1 spinner, 1 ferry tile, 10 magnifying glass tokens, 6 food tiles, 30 goldbug cards, 1 sand timer, and instructions
  • Fun play experience - Eye Found It is a ton of fun for 2-4 players and makes a great gift for kids and families. It's a cooperative game for preschoolers where you race across Busytown along a game board that's more than 6 feet long
  • Clear instructions - The game is easy to learn with clear instructions, so you can start playing right away!
  • Great replay value - You can race across Busytown over and over, and have a new and fun experience each time!
  • Develops critical skills - Eye Found It encourages teamwork, promotes attention to detail, and reinforces object identification and matching skills

Scrabble Jr.– The Scrabble Jr. board has two sides. On one side it is the normal Scrabble game as you already know it where you have to come up with your own words. The other side is a bit different though. It has some simple words that you have to try to spell, like Cherry, Duck, and Sea. This is another one that Brian loved when he was this age. I loved that we got several years out of the game due to the 2-sided board for different abilities.

Ages: 5+

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Scrabble Junior Game
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2,402 Reviews
Scrabble Junior Game
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Scrabble Junior is letter-matching fun for your little one
  • Game grows with your players
  • 2-sided gameboard has an advanced level on the opposite side
  • Players create their own words in the advanced level

Wit’s End Jr.– An award-winning trivia game for 8-12-year-olds that tests their knowledge history, geography, science, and math while also teaching them logic skills, concentration skills, and much more. The original version of this game is for ages 16 and up.

Ages: 8-12

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Wit's End Junior - Board Game for Kids Ages 8-12
  • Kids field fun questions from four different categories and test their knowledge.
  • This game is a Parents Choice Award Winner and A National Parenting Publications Award pick.
  • Dual sided cards provide questions on one side for 8-10 year-olds and 11-12 yrs on the other side..
  • Includes 1,280 questions on 160 dual-sided cards, game board, card holders, game spinner, and pawns.
  • An award winner! Great for Family Game Night!

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board games for older kids
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