At MonstRpreneur we are all about fostering play that gives kids and adults experiences- and Aha! moments– that are relevant to real life. With this in mind as I was getting ready to teach abroad this summer I offered of course to “teach” board games as one of our afternoon enrichment activities. I joked with some of my fellow teachers that my afternoon session was really a class in “advanced independent problem solving”, and that wasn’t too far from truth, nor was it a bad thing. Independent problem solving skills are crucial to success in and out of the classroom setting, and games are a great way to stimulate the development of those skills. As I was teaching at a summer english academy abroad I was looking for games that, in addition to being fun, also fostered English language development and were easily portable. Here are five great kids games that fit all those criteria.
1. Spot It!
This game tests your observational skills and your reflexes in a fast past and highly entertaining game experience of image matching. Think about it like a cross between memory and go-fish. There are lots of themed editions of the game for kiddos with specific interests such at Spot It! Camping, Spot It! Sports, Spot It! Junior Animals and Spot It! Numbers and Shapes, as well as convenient travel editions for playtime on the go. Best for kiddos ages 7 and up.
A game composed of colorful tiles, this tactical strategy game is an excellent choice for young players to develop their strategy skills. This is also great for groups of kids with different languages or different levels of english language acquisition. Play by the given rules or be like my students this past summer and make up your own rules. Best for kids age 6 and up.
A game of speed and (very) general trivia. The game is highly portable and although recommend for kids age 10 and up, it can be adapted to include younger players by removing the categories that would be difficult for them to come up with answers for. This game won a Mensa Select award, meaning that according to Mensa members it was one of the 5 best board games to come out the year it was released.
A game where players work together to overcome hazards and barriers. This fun game gets kids minds thinking innovatively and cooperatively. A winner of the Oppenheim Toy Award, this game challenges young minds in authentic ways that pushes their brains to think outside the box. Best for kiddos age 5 and up.
5. Convince Me
A game of persuasion, movement and comedy, Convince Me gets both minds and bodies engaged while playing and leads to a lot of laughs! Yes, this is one of our games, and it fits very well on this list. This game combine the silliness of charades with the art of persuasion which challenges players to think thoughtfully about how to influence their playmates while engaging in hilarious movements. Best for kids age 7 and up.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the digital abyss these days for children and adult alike, and although entertaining, a digital format is not the appropriate medium to foster experiences that can be translated to person-to-person interaction. These kids games are fun, and get your focus off of a screen and on the world around you, all while fostering fun and experiential learning.