11 Classic Games Your Kids Will Love (and are Secretly Educational)

Play with Purpose

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There’s no question that kids of all ages can learn a lot through play. Couple that with a classic board game and you’ve got a great activity to beat the boredom on a rainy day or while social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak. We’ve compiled a list of games that can not only keep your family entertained, but can teach your kids some valuable lessons from math and vocabulary to social and emotional skills. And the best part — you probably already have a few of these tucked away at the top of your closet or in your kid’s playroom. Gather your players and get ready for a good time!

This classic word game has been a favorite for word nerds and dictionary disciples, and the best part is the game is always different. Scrabble is challenging for the young and the young at heart, testing your language, spelling and vocabulary skills as you make words from the letters in your hand and the words already on the board.

Whether you’re playing Mexican train or Chicken Foot, this family pastime can teach kids to count and focus on patterns as they pair matching dominoes together during the game. You’ll also teach simple addition and subtraction skills as you count the value of the dominoes left in your hand at the end of each round.

This is often one of the first board games kids will play and it’s a fun way to bring out their competitive side. As you weave your way through Candy Land, this colorful board game will reinforce their ability to follow directions and identify colors. It also challenges them to cooperate with others, testing those all-important social and emotional skills to help them recognize and control their emotions and maintain a positive relationship with their fellow opponents. Who knew a classic toddler board game could be so meaningful!

This classic game from the 1930s can teach your teenagers the basics of money management and financial investments. Financial matters like cash flow, bankruptcy, property ownership and paying mortgage and rent are all parts of this popular board game. In addition to handling money and investments, you’ll test your negotiation skills, risk management and diversifying your portfolio. And let’s not forget testing your patience — this game can seem to last forever.

You’ll never forget the buzzing noise from this classic game, and I bet you struggled most with the rubber band connecting the knee and ankle bones. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to the science of anatomy and possibly get them interested in the various occupations in the medical field. And while science and anatomy are both a plus, this also helps kids develop those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they learn to pick out the funny bone or broken heart with tiny tweezers while avoiding the buzzer.

The world is full of fascinating places and this board game can put your child’s geography skills to the test (while also teaching them about global domination). There’s also plenty of chances to flex those negotiating skills as you create an alliance with other players and create a winning strategy as you take over new territories.

The suspense of adding one bean at a time will test your child’s patience and also teach them how to handle the anxiety of almost spilling the beans. But if your kids aren’t the worrying type, Don’t Spill the Beans can also help them learn to count as you add each bean to the wobbly pot and how to take risks as you determine which bean will be the tipping point.

There’s nothing more creative than relying on physical motions to express what you can’t say. Charades challenges all ages to use their imagination and come up with ways to act out movie titles, books and more to get their team to guess the right answers. The best part is this can be done with a board game or with just clues written out.

This game was originally created in 1860 and is still relevant today, thanks to the modern version that debuted in 1960. In fact, it’s so iconic it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame and has a permanent spot in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. While you and your family navigate your way through the Game of Life, your children’s problem solving and decision-making skills will be challenged as they handle unexpected twists and turns that “life” throws at them.

Your kids may surprise you with how much they really know about the world around them when you break out this classic board game. Trivial Pursuit tests your knowledge of general trivia and pop culture, as well as your memory of events. Categories in the classic edition include entertainment, history, geography, literature, science and sports. However, other editions test your knowledge of everything from the 2000s to trivia based on Harry Potter and popular TV series Friends.

These are so much fun the little ones won’t know they’re actually learning! Challenge their memory as they flip over each card and try to remember where they last saw the matching card to create a pair. These games come in a variety of styles from animals and ABCs to super heroes and Disney characters.

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