Games that Bust Boredom and Boost Learning

Looking beyond the power on button to find games that get kids thinking and learning.

While learning isn’t all fun and games, it can be eye opening to see just how much learning can occur by playing games. In our tech-driven society, many of today’s favorite games come in digital form and are certainly not in short supply. Sometimes devices aren’t an option, nor should they always be the only option. A collection of go-to games can reinforce a concept or unit of study, be a great recommendation list to get families involved at home, and/or amp up learning during indoor recess or down time. These 10 games offer an array of educational activities for a wide variety of student ages and interests without requiring a power cord.

Kaadoo: The Big Game — Bring safaris and exploration to life with this game series from Kaadoo. Play moves by rolling the die and drawing information cards. While players travel the board, they encounter animals that are indigenous to different areas across the globe. Games within the series include the African Savannah, Grand Tundra, Central India, North America, and more. A great way to learn about animals around the world.

Choice Words — This is one to root for as students dive into multiple formats of play that bolster language skills. Players work to come up with unique wording combinations from a single root word, or they work to determine the most common phrasing choices for roots. This fun and fast-paced look at language is GEI endorsed and a sure-fire favorite in the classroom.

The Oregon Trail — An entertaining throwback to the early years of computers in education, The Oregon Trail, turns the antiquated digital game about surviving the settling of the West into an engaging and problem-solving card game. Players work together to get at least one settler to survive the journey. Compact in size but big on skill and fun. Multiple decks could be used to encourage teamwork with a bit of competition.

Pattern Play 3D — A perfect STEM building activity as students turn 2D images into 3D creations. Players take a 2D image found on a card and use the 22 blocks to replicate any one of the 40 designs provided. The increasing levels of difficulty make this GEI endorsed product one that can continually build students’ problem-solving skills.

Skiwampus — The name alone is entertaining, but there’s more value to Skiwampus than the fun of saying it. The 72 triangular tiles have three numbers that players manipulate to fulfill the challenge chip directives. Players are in a race to determine the proper combination of tiles to create the winning geometric design.

Spot It! Basic English — This small tin of cards offers an excellent reinforcement of early reading skills. Players work to determine a match the fastest. Each card houses words and images, and students must make a match between two words, two images, or a word/image combination found on two cards. This GEI endorsed game is fast-paced and offers some fun competition for young readers and/or ELLs.

Rush Hour Shift — This strategy game presented by ThinkFun is a two player challenge in logic. The variety of game setups allows multiple options for game layout. Players work to move their own vehicle and/or block their opponent with each play requiring a regrouping to possibly employ a new strategy. An engaging opportunity to apply some logic and problem-solving skills as students work to navigate the traffic grid.

Q-BA-Maze 2.0 Big Box — Students can work in groups or solo to create a variety of mazes. With 72 cubes, the connection possibilities are endless. The steel balls get dropped to set the maze path in motion. This GEI endorsed product offers hours of entertainment as students can be challenged to create a variety of maze designs which foster higher-order thinking skills.

Woo! — There are lots of number games and spelling games, but Woo! is unique in that it is a number spelling game. Students use letter tiles to spell out numbers one through ten. The first to spell out numbers totaling 21 is the winner. While it may sound simple, there are some Woo! surprises that offer players some additional challenges in reaching their goal.

uKloo Early Reader Treasure Hunt Game — This engaging card game gets students reading without realizing it! Young learners read the clue cards with the assistance of a picture helper poster if needed. Following the card clues leads to more cards and finally a prize at the end. This GEI endorsed product is geared toward use at home, but easily adaptable to the classroom.

From kindergarten through twelfth grade, students enjoy the fun of playing games and a little friendly competition. This collection of 10 engaging and educational games offers practice on a variety of skills without necessitating a digital component. When it’s time to bust boredom with an educational twist, these games won’t disappoint.

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