There are so many great game choices for your homeschool that can be both fun and educational for your children and your entire family. Our family has quite a few that rank high among our favorites, including ones that require very little setup, ones that are cooperative, and ones that let us roll dice. With board games and tabletop games in general gaining in popularity over the years, you can find them sold at a variety of stores – both offline and online – like chain stores or your friendly local gaming store. I would always recommend you go to your local gaming store first when looking to purchase a new game. They might even be able to find the one you have been searching for through their buying power.
Games for Toddlers
It seems like there are a lot better games available for younger children now than when I was a child. I seem to recall games based upon Snow White, Care Bears, or E.T., but I cannot remember how they were played at all. The games we have purchased for our younger children or those they were gifted seem to be a huge step above those of my youth.
We have many cooperative games (which our daughter loves because everyone wins or everyone loses), such as Mermaid Island, Noah's Animal Rescue, The Fairy Game, and others. These are wonderful for teaching children how to work together as a team and prevent tears when someone loses. Of course, our five-year-old daughter has been known to cry when she wins a cooperative game.
Several card games that are educational and fun for toddlers include Raccoon Rumpus and Koala Capers. I love how these two games are random-based upon dice, so you don't really have to have a lot of skill to win or lose. I also like that they focus on colors and patterns – perfect learning opportunities for little ones.
Educational Board Games
As our children get older, there are a variety of educational board games that we can incorporate into our homeschool day, such as those from Byron's Games that we have received for free to review. Our children really like Continent Race, which focuses upon learning the continents, countries, and flags. Math Sprint is also great fun because it not only includes reviewing math facts but also allows the children to do physical activities, like jumping jacks and jogging in place.
Games with Lots of Components
I must admit that I love games with lots of stuff! Even though the extra items might also bring more difficulty to learn the game, I love opening the box and finding cards, dice, and other game pieces. Our son received a fun game for Christmas called Dragon's Breath. There are lots of little 'jewels' that your dragon wants to collect. For young children, they are so pretty!
We picked up Dungeon Drop for our family game night because we enjoy role playing games with Dungeons, so why not create our own with this game? There are all these tiny little cubes that you drop to create the dungeon that represent pillars, monsters, and treasure. Because you drop them onto the table, each game is different from the next. It is a very neat concept that keeps the game fresh and new.
Another game that my husband picked up is the Quarriors Dice Building Game. It has 130 custom dice and over 50 cards for gameplay. We have only tried playing it once because it is still a bit too advanced for our entire family to be able to enjoy it together, but I just love all the dice!
My husband and my stepson have been gamers for longer than I have known either of them. My husband's journey with Dungeons and Dragons began when he was in elementary school. He has since gone on to play a variety of editions, versions, "retroclones" (which hearken back to the first three or four versions of Dungeons and Dragons games from the 1970s and early 1980s), and games of several genres. It took a few years for my husband to convince me to play, and now I have lots of pretty dice.
The wonderful thing about role-playing games is that you don't have to play ones that involve dragons or wizards. There are ones that are set in generic outer space or even the Star Wars or Star Trek universes. My husband bought me one set in the 1920s knowing I enjoy that era of history. There are versions geared towards children, too.
Another benefit to playing role-playing games is the community of players. There are so many different groups out there – some of which may or may not be for you. You can play online through Zoom calls or other apps, watch others play online as they get together via long distance, or roll up a character gathered around the dining room table. And because the entire game requires your imagination and critical thinking skills, there really is no wrong way to play. Yes, there are rules, but RPGs will help you think outside the box and make great stories with your friends.
The Perfect Indoor Game
Just what is the perfect indoor game for your homeschool? I think any game that brings you together with your family and friends – whether via technology or together in one room – is the perfect indoor game. That game may take 15 to 20 minutes, or it may take hours, days, or a lifetime if you are role-playing. There are so many great options available for families, and playing games can teach so many important skills.