Games: They’re Not Just for Fun!

If you’ve read any of my game reviews such as Notable Novelists of the 20th Century, Wits & Wagers (Family Edition) or Say Anything (Family Edition) then you know that we’re a game loving family.

We have lots and lots of games.  Here, let me show you:


We have board games, dice games, and card games.  We have games that require a DVD and games that require batteries.  We have trivia games and games from other countries.

We have fairly regular family game nights and we have a family tradition of playing games on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. We play a lot of games during the Christmas Holiday Break because daddy is home and playing games is such a fun way to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.

Lots of math and learn to read programs suggest games for learning numbers or letters or words but I don’t want to talk about those kinds of games.  Instead I’d like to list some subject areas and the games that we have that I could count for school hours if we needed them.  Some games fall under more than one category.

Thinking Sklls such as planning or strategy:

  • Risk- players must plan out a strategy and think through each one of their moves if they want to conquer the world
  • Blokus or its relative Blokus Trigon- you must carefully think through each move you make
  • Chess—my girls do not really know how to play this well and it is not one that we play as a family.  I hesitate to put it here because we rarely play and we’re not good at it.
  • Checkers—a favorite with the girls
  • Mancala- I have not mastered the strategy of this game.  I have NEVER won a game against Turtlegirl who has seemed to master this game of African origin.


  • 10 Days In… We have three of them.. 10 Days in Africa, 10 Days in Europe and 10 Days in Asia.  In addition to helping with learn some geography you also practice thinking skills.  The only problem with these games are they are only for 2 to 4 players.  We end up doing “teams” so that we can all play
  • TransAmerica/TransEuropa- You build a railroad to connect your five cities.  Another one that requires planning and strategy.
  • Professor Noggin’s Countries of the World (we have both volume 1 and volume 2). This is a trivia card game.  We have lots of Professor Noggin card games.  The others are more history based.
  • Civilize This!—a trivia game about different civilizations such as ancient Greece or the Roman empire.


Language Arts:

  • Notable Novelists:  This is such a fun way to learn about a few of the Novelists of the 20th Century.  This game also helps you build up your memory skills as you try to remember who asks for which cards and it builds your thinking skills as you try to figure out who has the cards you need!
  • Apples to Apples:  In addition to learning vocabulary words, this can also help with cultural literacy.  At least in our family it is also about cultural literacy.  We often have to explain people or events to the girls.  This is one of our top 10 favorite games to play on game night or a holiday game marathon.
  • In A Pickle: This one is even more popular with my family than Apples to Apples.  This can get the creative juices flowing as we create little stories to fit the words.  This is a fun way to play with language.

Education is a way of life for us.  We desire our children to love learning.  What better way than to play games that subtly reinforce or even introduce subjects we’re formally studying.

This post is in response to TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog Cruise Topic “Homeschooling with Games”  The Blog Cruise Post will be live on Tuesday in the mean time you can read past Blog Cruise Posts.



  1. I have no clue how to play Mancala. We keep meaning to learn. I'm not sure I've heard of the 10 Days games but they look interesting - might have to check them out!

  2. I thought I was already a blog follower ... I am now following your blog. We are game lovers too. I think our favorite games would have to be math related. I have seen the 10 Days games before and thought about purchasing them for geography - what is the age range on them? What are the pros and cons? I wrote a math game post for this blog cruise - stop by and say hello. I would love to hear from you and I would more followers (visitors).

  3. I believe the age range for the 10 Days series are 10 and up but we've found that we could play with younger children if they were partnered with a parent or older sibling. Partners made the game more fun! (And I am now following you!)


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