Gameschooling. Have you heard of it?
It's a high priority for our family. Games aren’t just “extras” in our homeschool. They give my children a safe place to try (and sometimes fail), try again, and ultimately learn in a low-pressure, fun environment.
When we play games together as a family, we learn together, build relationships, and make memories, too.
The best games cover a multitude of different skills, so it’s a bit challenging to neatly place games into any one category.
Even so, here’s my attempt to offer gameschooling suggestions for different subjects.
Skyjo, Mancala, Zeus on the Loose, Blokus, Money Bags, Prime Climb, Sum Swamp, Clumsy Thief, Racko, Yahtzee, Math Fluxx, Sequence, Payday, Battleship, Rummikub, Five Crowns, Snap it Up, Qwirkle, Cahoots, Sleeping Queens, Shut the Box, Tangram (Tangoes), Set, Phase 10
I highly suggest setting up boards in Pinterest. Dice and card games are plentiful there.
Also note that Rightstart Math has a game set with lots of decks of cards that is excellent to supplement any curriculum.
Quiddler, Dix-It, Scattergories, Story Cubes, Head Banz, Bananagrams, Tall Tales, Blurt, Taboo, Guesstures, Pickles to Penguins, Codenames
Code, Into the Forest, Hit the Habitat Trail, Chomp, Guess in 10 (different topics)
Flag Frenzy, 10 Days in…[Africa, USA], Scrambles States of America, Made for Trade, Timeline (very fun), Professor Noggins games, Civitas, Dominion, Explore the States, Election Night, Constitution Quest, Santorini (has a Greece theme, but covers logic), Guess in 10 (different topics), Biblios, Ticket to Ride, Freedom (The Underground Railroad)
Rat-a-Tat Cat, Distraction, Stare, Pengoloo, Simon
We clipped the sound wire inside the Simon game to make it a visual memory challenge.
Slamwich, Spot-It (Flag Frenzy is the flag version of Spot-It), Tennzi, Dutch Blitz, Taco Goat Cheese Pizza, Collide-O, Spoons, Flipslide (similar to Simon but with increased use of logic)
Logic/Strategy/Critical Thinking/Following Directions
Outfoxed, Dinosaur Tea Party, Mastermind, Penguins on Ice (lots just like this but with different themes), Right Turn/Left Turn, Dr. Set, Dr. Eureko, Pandemic, Forbidden Dessert, Iota, Gravity Maze, Laser Maze, Cat Crimes, Guess Who, Zategy, Make-n-Break, Swish, Smart Cookies, Zangle, Brain Flip, Dragonwood, Leaps and Ledges, Fluxx games (lots of themes), Qbitz
Here are a few more gameschooling suggestions:
Great Brands of Games:
Gamewright, Thinkfun, Smartgames (These are excellent player puzzles that are great to offer little ones when in restaurants and doctor offices.)
Excellent Therapy Games:
Multi Matrix The Brain Game (for memory development, pattern recognition, sustained attention, peripheral vision, motor control, “whole brain” learning, visual tracking, sequential planning, perceptual learning, vestibular development). This product has lots of different games. You are directed towards a website that shows the games in different progressive levels demonstrating the games.
Where to Find Games
There are several places to look for gameschooling ideas.
1. Gameschoolers online
2. Board game enthusiasts (some reveal their yearly/topical top ten lists at the beginning of each new calendar year on YouTube)
3. Pinterest (name boards precisely to get the best pin suggestions, i.e., card games for logic, games for visual discrimination, etc.)
4. Amazon suggestions
5. Homeschool catalogs and conferences
6. Therapists (for our family, those are occupational, speech and vision therapists)
7. Gameschooling (Teaching with Games) Facebook Group
Quite simply, I keep my eyes and ears open. I keep a list of game ideas running in my planner.
Also, if your area has seasonal game stores at Christmas time, I have found them to be a great source for clearance-priced games after the holidays.
Gameschooling on a Budget
Here are some suggestions to help you to start building your gameschooling collection without spending a bundle:
1. Start a prioritized game wish list and store it in your planner. I also place wanted games on the wishlist in my Amazon account and sometimes, when a deal comes along, they send me an alert!
2. Buy second-hand games. Check the Homeschool Iowa Facebook Marketplace Group. If you have a Half Price Books or a used book store nearby, check there. Check yard sales, Goodwill stores, and eBay.
3. Give games as birthday and Christmas gifts. Perhaps you could start a family tradition of purchasing a game for the entire family every Christmas. Offer grandparents a list of games as suggestions for gifts.
I hope you'll Start Gameschooling Today!
Erin Peterman is a wife of over 25 years
and a stay-at-home homeschooling mom
to three of her five children,
two of whom have graduated from high school.
Three of her children have special needs,
and she has gained extensive experience
in meeting special learning challenges
and adapting a homeschool educational setting
to the needs of special learners.
Erin serves as one of our
Homeschool Iowa Special Needs Advisors.