Ten Educational Games Hit A Homeschool Homerun
This past summer I was enjoying a homeschool afternoon with my boys at Gamesville Tabletop. Owned and operated by fellow homeschool mama, Callie Williams, with help from her homeschool-turned-college-student son, Gray, Gamesville Tabletop is a fantastic destination for kids of all ages to socialize and engage in educational play.
Callie happens to be the first homeschool parent I ever met. At the time, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to homeschool, but my husband did, so I was trying to connect with other homeschoolers and learn the ropes (see my post “Unschooling? No Way! to learn what convinced me). Callie met my son and I at the Gainesville Oaks Mall, and while Jack climbed on the squishy Swamp Playground, Callie told me a bit about homeschooling.
Callie was so chill and confident and her excitement for homeschooling was infectious. Back then, Gray was only twelve, yet he immediately impressed me when he walked up and shook my hand and told me how nice it was to meet me. Huh! I had never met a child so comfortable with adults. I was impressed and I recognized that I was experiencing an interaction with a kid who was confident, self-assured and had more self-knowledge than many adults.
Whether she knows it or not, Callie and her son Gray, were an inspiration to me and helped me “see” what type of kids I might have if I homeschooled, too.
So this past summer Callie and I got to talking about gameschooling and she gave me this awesome list of educational games to post on the Homeschool Helpdesk. Gamesville Tabletop carries all of these games and Callie is kind enough to offer 20% OFF educational games to all homeschoolers with a Homeschool ID! Gamesville Tabletop is located in front of the Publix shopping center at 4211 NW 16th Blvd in the Millhopper Shopping Center.
I thought I would share that list (egad, a few months late…sorry, Callie!) just in time for Black Friday and holiday shopping. Here goes:
Callie Williams’ Top 10 List of Gameschooling Tabletop Games
(available at Gamesville Tabletop)
ROBOT TURTLES (PROGRAMMING)
This game teaches kids 4+ the ins and outs of programming in a fun, tactile game. Perfect for 2-5 players, this game has levels of increasing difficulty, introducing obstacles and more complex Code Cards.
Beginner to Advanced levels. (Ages 3+)
KATE’S NOTE: We love turtles and computers. This is a fun game you can play cooperatively or competitively.
ZEUS ON THE LOOSE (MATH)
The great Greek god has bolted from Mount Olympus and it’s up to you to nab this dashing deity. Play cards strategically, adding numbers as you climb up the mythic mountain. Grab Zeus when the total reaches a multiple of 10.
Better yet, summon the strength of Apollo, Poseidon, or all-powerful Hera to bring Zeus within your grasp. Reach the top of Mount Olympus with Zeus in hand and you?re a mortal among the gods. (Ages 8+)
KATE’S NOTE: This is on Jack’s Christmas list!
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (COOPERATIVE!)
This is a wholesome, time-tested, adventurous table game with many many options to expand play beyond this starter set.
A cooperative game of adventure for 1–5 players set in a world of imagination, fun, and excitement with your friends. (Ages 9+)
KATE’S NOTE: Can’t wait for the boys to turn 9 and start playing this!
LAST LETTER (VOCABULARY)
Inspire creativity, laughter and quick thinking.
Race to come up with, and blurt out, a word from one of the picture cards in your hand. Think fast and remember that your word must begin with the last letter of the word previously called.
Get rid of your cards first to win! Unique illustrations will spark imagination and allow for endless opportunities for new words- so simple yet so tricky it might render you speechless! (Ages 8+)
RORY’S STORY CUBES (LANGUAGE ARTS)
There are infinite ways to play with Rory’s Story Cubes. You can play solitaire or with others.
Here are some suggested uses: Party game or ice-breaker, Literacy development, Speaking and listening skills, Creative inspiration, Mental workout, Problem solving. Rory’s Story Cubes is a pocket-sized creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play for all ages.
With Rory’s Story Cubes, anyone can become a great storyteller and there are no wrong answers. Simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark your imagination. (All Ages)
KATE’S NOTE: This is on Eli’s Christmas list!
Put The Laws Of Motion To The Test With Our Patented Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Stunt Sets.
The Ingenious Pieces Interlock In Endless Configurations, While Double-Exit Cubes Keep You Guessing Which Way The Marbles Will Go.
The Starter Stunt Set Features 56 Cubes, 1 Speed Sprocket, 1 Roto Catcher, 15 Steel Marbles And Instructions For Plenty Of Super Spinning Action. (Ages 8+)
KATE’S NOTE: This is on Jack’s Christmas list!
RUSH HOUR (LOGIC)
Sharpens sequential reasoning and planning skills with an addictively fun game that sharpens the brain.
Honk! Honk! It’s gridlock and the little red car can’t move. The player is a traffic cop in the Rush Hour Traffic Jam Puzzle where the objective is to get the red car off the road. To play, pick one of 40 challenge cards; solutions are printed on the back of each card. Then set up the cars and buses in a specified pattern on the 6-inch-square road grid. Move the vehicles one by one (obey those traffic laws!) until the red car can escape the traffic jam.
There are four levels of difficulty. Kids can alternate turns with another player or just “play in traffic” alone. The game from Binary Arts received a national award from Mensa and is used in elementary school math classes. (Ages 8+)
Was the light bulb invented after or before glasses?
With Timeline, learn the answer to this question and thousands of others by comparing your knowledge or hunches to historic reality. At the beginning of the game, players all get the same number of cards representing monuments, inventions, etc. On the back of each card is a date.
Everyone takes turns guessing the correct date. (Ages 8+)
KATE’S NOTE: We have several of these Timeline games and my kids LOVE playing cooperatively with Mom and Dad.
FRIDAY the 13TH (MATH)
In a round, each player gets a hand of cards, with the cards coming in three suits that have values from 1 to 7 and a fourth “joker” suit in which all the cards have a value of 4. On a turn, a player discards a card from her hand onto a pile of the appropriate color (with jokers being playable on any pile) and gives the sum of all cards now in that pile. If the sum is higher than 13, then the player must first take all of the cards already in the pile, leaving only her card behind.
The round ends once all the cards have been played, then players compare how many cards they have in each of the three suits; whoever has the most cards throws them away, while everyone else scores 1 penalty point per card. Each joker is worth 2 penalty points. Whoever has the fewest penalty points after each player has started a round once wins! (Ages 6+)
KATE’S NOTE: Eli loves cats so we bought this one. We play it with Jack who is older and it’s a good basic math skill builder.
QUIRKLE (PROBLEM SOLVING)
Qwirkle is the perfect game to hone player’s tactical maneuvers, strategical planning, and forward thinking.
The rules of the game are basic: simply build lines by matching tiles based on either color or shape, and score points for doing so. The ability to build complex combinations will keep children interested and engaged, and challenge them mentally. Qwirkle is playable from early ages up, allowing young children and older individuals alike to develop and hone their spacial recognition, planning, and problem solving skills. (Ages 4+)
KATE’S NOTE: This is currently a family favorite. Eli plays skillfully at age 5, yet this game also challenges adults!
Happy homeschooling everyone!