Top 10 Educational Games for kids 8 and up

Published: October 25, 2014

Let's face it.  All parents want to spend quality time with their kids having fun.  If you are going to play games with your kids, it may as well be a game that will not only be fun for both of you, but teach your kids to stretch their minds at the same time!  These games are not just based on the luck of the draw or the speed of your hands. Neither are they ones that will bore you to tears with their repitition.   There are others that are a lot of fun, but don't really teach you much.  I have tried to find the best games around that will stimulate my kids' minds in new ways.  Here are my (and my kids') top 10 choices for family game night that are sure to keep everyone engaged.

 

  1. DaVinci's Challenge

    DaVinci's Challenge is for 2 people or 2 teams ages 8 and up and really keeps you on your toes.  It helps kids learn to see patterns in every design.  You try to make patterns while at the same time keeping your opponent from making them.  You have to search the board before every move to be sure that your opponent is not about to score big.  This game teaches spacial relations, strategy, and planning.

  2. Qwirkle

    Qwirkle is for 2 to 4 players ages 6 and up.  Match up your tiles by color and shape.  A great way to learn strategy and think of multiple factors at once.  This is a fun game for everyone.

  3. MindTrap

    Mindtrap is for individuals or teams of 2 or more ages 12 and up.  Very challenging game that has you solve trick questions or riddles.  It definitely makes you think outside the box and is equally challenging for adults.  This game is a real winner for those kids that need extra stimulation and leads to some real family bonding.  Unfortunately, this is not for younger kids, but if your kids are old enough, I strongly recommend this gem.

  4. Sequence

    Sequence is for 2 or more players ages 8 and up.  Work together in teams to try to get 5 tiles in a row.  Block the other team if you can!  This game will have everyone in the family addicted.  It teaches strategy and teamwork.

  5. Upwards

    Upwords is for 2 to 4 players ages 8 and up.  This game is much like Scrabble, but it adds another dimension by allowing more points by building on Top of tiles.  You get points for each tile (up to 5 high) in your word or words, so it encourages you to think carefully because the longest word is not necessarily the one that will get you the most points!

  6. Set

    Set is for at least 1 player ages 6 and up.  Be careful, this is one of those games that your kids will be better at than you are.  It is great for their confidence.  There are 12 cards down on the table and you have to find sets of 3 that either match all of the color, shape, or shading or are all different color, shape, or shading.  This is a quick moving game that with get everyone screaming out "Set!" 

  7. Rummikub

    Rummikub is for 2 to 4 players ages 8 and up.  The object of the game is to get rid of all of your tiles first.  All of the tiles are put down into sets of at least 3 and can be arranged as groups of the same number in different colors or chronological numbers of the same color.  The trick is that you can steal any tiles that are down on the table as long as you leave a set of three.  This can lead to complicated thinking about upcoming moves and teaches kids to think outside the box.  This is one of my personal favorites.

  8. Scrabble

    Scrabble is for 2-4 players ages 8 and up.  You can't go wrong with this classic game.  You have to create words with the tiles in your hand that connect to the words on the board.  More challenging letters to use are worth more points.  The person with the most points wins.

  9. Boggle

    Boggle is for 2 or more players ages 8 and up.  Shake up the letters, set the timer and go!  See how many words you can make with connecting dice.  The longer the words, the more points you get.  You can adjust this for younger kids too by allowing them to make shorter words or giving more points for each word.  A classic favorite in our household.  This is a great way to learn spelling too!

     

  10. Connect Four

    Connect Four is for 2 players ages 6 and up.  You win by getting 4 of your discs in a row.  Better players can set up a trap for their opponent so they can win 2 ways and is impossible to beat.  This is a great starter game for younger kids that are not strong readers yet and can't play the word games yet.

  11. Pictionary

    Pictionary is for 4 or more players ages 8 and up.  This is not really a thinking game, but it is a lot of fun.  You try to get your partner to guess a word by drawing clues.  It is challenging for younger kids because they don't have a big vocabulary yet, but as long as you are flexible and are willing to let them choose a different word, it can be a lot of fun for them.  The nice thing is that the game does not really require drawing skill.  It is often more about figuring out what the simplest way to represent the word is and getting it down quickly on paper.  This game has provided my family with many hours of fun.

These are the games that our family pulls out over and over again.  They are great for readers up through adulthood.  My kids are great thinkers, and I think these games have only helped them to excel in school and learn how to navigate the world around them.  Try them out.  You will find some of your new family favorites too!