11 Educational Board & Card Games the Whole Family Will Enjoy

kids playing board game

Family game night is a long-standing tradition in many households around the world. While having fun (and winning!) is the icing on the cake, these games create opportunities to help young ones grow through age-appropriate challenges. 

Sure, the rise in popularity of hand-held devices has spawned some incredibly entertaining and educational games, but so many of these games lack the connectedness board and card games inherently require. No matter how educational or engaging these apps may be with their flashy animations and self-driven pace, they simply cannot match the collaborative, team-building challenges that physical board and card games provide. 

So, from language arts and math to geography and sports, we've put together a list of some fan-favorite games to aid in the growth and development of your young learners all while strengthening family bonds with some no-screen fun!

Pull up a chair, grab some snacks and get ready to rumble—here are 11 sneakily educational board and card games for all ages and skill levels. 

ThinkFun Zingo 
Ages 3+, 5- to 10-minute playtime

Marketed as "Bingo with a Twist," Zingo is an award-winning game that helps early readers develop word recognition with word and picture cards. It also demands concentration and focus as players work to match the play pieces to the empty spaces on their card. To keep older players and adults engaged in whole-family fun, there is the element of competition where you must be on your toes not to miss a card before someone else grabs it!

Gotrovo Family Treasure Hunt Game
Ages 3+, 30- to 45-minute playtime

Inside or outside, this is a game that will have you and your kids up and moving to progress through the boardgame pathway. The goal is to collect all nine golden coins placed on the board in exchange for "found" clues. The game includes clues that are riddles and ones that are picture-based. This is a simple game to help develop collaborative, problem solving/reasoning and language arts skills. The 100 clue cards provide endless possibility for hiding and hunting for clues!

Ages 5+, 30- to 45-minute playtime

This is a strategy game for a wide range of ages! Match colors and shapes to build a qwirkle (a series of six tiles) to get the most points and win. If your family age range includes younger learners, you may want to skip keeping score to put the focus on the learning process and give them time to grasp the pattern recognition concept of the game. This game helps develop color and shape recognition as well as mathematical skill and reasoning. 

Ages 5+, 5- to 10-minute playtime

Similar to Qwirkle, this is a game of matching with the added twist of number matching (along with shape and color) and speed. It's a bit of a mix between the game of Uno, Speed and Qwirkle. Again, if you're playing with a range of ages, you may want to slow the pace by changing the rules up a bit to give them time to grasp the pattern recognition. As you build up to the speedier rounds, the whole family will enjoy the rapid pace and competition to see who can play all of their cards first!

Skillmatics: Guess in 10 Sports and Science 
Ages 5+, 20- to 30-minute playtime

This series of games includes a range of topics, including animals, sports, cities and famous figures. The sports and sciences are better for younger ages while the cities and personalities are good for older ages. Read the buzz words and facts on the game cards to get the other players to guess the animal, sport, city or personality on your card. The player who guesses it right gets your game card, and the first player to collect seven game cards wins. You will be surprised how much you learn reading the facts together in this game!

Ages 5+, 20- to 30-minute playtime

In this game players look to successfully make their way through a maze to get to the treasure! The twist is that the pathway in the maze is constantly changing with each turn. Players place board pieces during their turn that shift the rows/columns of the existing layout to close pathways and open new ones. Each turn requires a bit of planning to think ahead toward how your decisions will affect future plays—a fun, engaging game for the whole family!

Ages 5+, 20- to 30-minute playtime

This deck of cards contains varying shape, number, pattern and color combinations that you'll start by laying out in a three-by-four grid. Once the cards are turned over on the table, the goal is to claim "set" and point out three cards that fulfill one of the games outlined requirements to obtain a "set." The challenge in this game really comes with figuring what makes a set and what doesn't—definitely play some practice rounds before you start keeping score. The thinking and observing required to succeed in this game helps develop visualization, focus and reasoning skills!

Ages 5+, 20- to 30-minute playtime

In the game of Quiddler, players are dealt hands of single and double letter cards that you must use to make words. Each round of play increases the number of cards in your hand, and after the final round of play, points are awarded to the player who made both the longest word and the player that made the most words. This is a fun game to help develop language arts, early reading and spelling skills. The fact that points are awarded for the most words makes it possible for even the youngest players to take the lead–because even short words like "of" and "it" count! 

Continent Race 
Ages 7+, 30- to 40-minute playtime

This game was designed by a kid for kids, and it's an easy way for the entire family to learn and brush up on their geography knowledge! Rounds of play include drawing from a deck of country cards in an effort to get enough cards to play in front of you for single continents. The rules outline two methods of play with increasing difficulty, so as players become more confident in their geographic knowledge you can add additional challenges to stay engaged and competitive.

Ravensburger Make 'N' Break 
Ages 7+, 30- to 40-minute playtime

This is a game with a number of variations to increase or decrease the challenge involved for the players, but the bottom line is that players work to build the structure using the blocks to match the image on the card. This requires kids to match the color and placement of the blocks, so this a great game to help little ones develop matching, visualizing and working on their fine motor skills. As soon as you add the timer it becomes a fun, competitive game for all ages at the table!

Catan Jr 
Ages 5+, 30- to 45-minute playtime or Catan Ages 8+, 60- to 90-minute playtime

This classic game is a favorite among all age groups and is likely to be a lasting game around your family table for years to come (if it isn't already!). This is a game that demands a significant amount of prep time to learn the rules, but as soon as you have the basics you're ready to start building roads, settlements and cities with your resource cards. The layout of the board is different with each game, and it requires a combination of luck (with the roll of the dice) and strategy to win! 

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