We have three children: a 7 year old, 5 year old and 1 year old. As we are homeschooling, we spend a lot of time together, and one of our favorite ways to both learn, and pass the time, is with games! Games made for small kids don’t usually take too long, so most of these just require about 15 minutes (the creators know young children lose interest fairly quickly, which helps as adults are usually low on time). Here are ten of our favorite family games that are also educational for little ones who are learning lots of new skills.
- Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game. Age: 3+. Price: $14.69.
Need to practice hand eye coordination? Fine motor skills? This game is the one to try! Use the spinner to see if you get to pick one or two acorns, or lose them all. The first person to have one of each color, wins! The squirrel used to pick up the acorns is big enough to make it easy for little fingers to maneuver.
2. Hoot Owl Hoot. Age: 4+. Price: $15.99
Have you heard of cooperative games? These are games where you work as a team toward a common goal, so everybody playing either wins or loses together! These types of games mean everyone is having fun and no-one feels sad or left out. They also foster In Hoot Owl Hoot, everyone races to get all of the owls into the nest before an you get all the owls into the nest before the sun is up? This is great game that helps children learn simple strategies and how to problem solve.
3. Count Your Chickens. Age: 3+. Price: $15.99
Another cooperative game, this time your goal is to get all of the baby chicks into the coop before Mama Hen gets home. This game involves counting how many spaces you move, and then counting out the right number of chicks, which makes it wonderful for a small child to practice numbers. Be quick: if the spinner lands on a fox, you lose a chick!
4. Doodlequest. Ages: 6+. Price: $14.95.
Described as a “fun cross between a game and an arts & crafts activity,” Doodlequest is perfect for young ones who love to draw! Pick a challenge (there are easy ones, and harder ones for the adults) and players have to trust their eyes to draw the deep sea solution which involves avoiding obstacles and catching targets. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and it is very fun! Whoever gets the most points, wins!
5. Sum Swamp. Ages 5+. Price: $13.39
Who will make it to the end of the swamp first, using basic math? There are two regular dice, and another one that has two only plus and minus on it. The only one way to move your swamp character in this game is by doing basic addition or subtraction: 5+3, 6-2 etc. What a great way to practice math without making it a chore! Our Junior Gizmo gal reviewed Sum Swamp here.
6. Hedbanz. Ages 7+. Price: $11.89
Put on a headband (the sizes are adjustable) and try to figure out what you are! Keep asking yes or no questions to guess before the timer runs out. We play this with my five year old and help him out a little. Maybe a lot.
The recommended age is 8 on this game, but a 6 year old girl created it (seriously!) and it’s a hit with our whole family! Awaken the sleeping queens to collect points, but be careful: your queens can be stolen or put back to sleep by your opponents! This version comes in a metal tin, making it easy to pack up and perfect to take on vacation. I think this is my favorite game of the whole list!
8. Cheeky Monkey. Ages: 8+. Price: $19.99
This is the 5 year old’s favorite game, and we love it because it teaches risk management: will you take a risk and keep taking chips from the bag? Pick two of the same and lose them all! The game ends in around 20 minutes, making it a great way to connect with your kids when you don’t have much time, and it helps develop memory, and probability skills.
9. Dr Eureka. Ages: 6+. Price: $16.99
Everyone gets three test tubes with two balls in each: two purple, two green and two two red. Turn a card over and carefully look over the pattern. You can’t touch the balls, only the test tubes- can you make the right pattern in the right order first? Drop a ball and you’re out! This is great for hand/eye coordination, and for thinking logically, fast.
10. Pie Face Game. Ages: 5+. Price: $10.99
There’s no better way to bond with your child than to lighten the mood and look silly! Grab a can of whipped cream and see who gets a handful in their face! Our Junior Gizmos did a wonderful review of this game here.