This post is part of the 2018 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
Gameschooling Through the Holidays
The holidays are a busy time, and as much as I love Christmastime, it can seem like it’s over before we’ve even settled down to enjoy it. It’s also the time of year when our schooling seems to take a back seat, and boy is it hard to get back into the swing of things. It doesn’t have to be that way though, you can make the most of the season this year by gameschooling through the holidays!
What is Gameschooling?
Gameschooling is the epitome of learning through play! Gameschooling is learning and reinforcing educational topics and developmental skills through playing games. Game offer so much more educationally than just the topic, especially games that were designed for families. Games are great for motor skills, critical thinking, patience, manners, and so much more! It can be hard to pick great games though, so here’s a quick list to get you started.
Family Games to Play this Holiday Season
Apples to Apples – You may be familiar with the adults-only game, Cards Against Humanity. Well, Apples to Apples is a family-friendly game that plays the same. An open-ended game, Apples to Apples is a safe game for all eyes and must be played with a sense of humor. There are lots of versions available, including a junior version and several Disney-themed versions. With allowance for 4-8 players, Apples to Apples is a great family game option! (Adaptability note: this game is great for introducing abstract thought to literal thinkers!)
Jurassic Park Danger! – Who doesn’t love dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park franchise? Made by one of the best game publishers out there, Ravensberger, Jurassic Park is a Target-exclusive game this holiday season. Families love this game because it’s a cooperative game with a twist. Up to four players can play as dinosaur keepers at Jurassic Park, the fifth player is THE DINOSAUR! How much fun is that??? I love cooperative games for family bonding, and this one is a winner!
Bears Vs. Babies – This game is just silly, and you and your kids will love it. For ages 10+, Bears Vs Babies pits your animal creation (a bear in a bikini with crab claw arms?) against some of the worst villians to exist, alien babies. For 2-5 players, giggles will abound when playing Bears Vs. Babies.
Prime Climb – Because math doesn’t stop for the holidays, Prime Climb is a solid game that even younger players can participate in with a little help. The best part about Prime Climb is that it was designed to activate parts of the brain that sometimes lay dormant during math, making it perfect for math-reluctant households. Color-coded spaces help kids memorize multiplication and division facts, and they’ll be having too much fun to notice. This is a seriously wonderful game that plays differently each and every time.
Captain Sonar – Another of my favorite game publishers, Asmodee, has created a unique team-play game. Captain Sonar is basically Battleship, but…more. Each team features four spots; you will play as Captain, First Mate, Radio Operator, and Engineer. There are five different maps and two modes of gameplay, meaning this game will be different every single time you play. This game is recommended for ages 14+ due to the nature of simulated warfare.
Scrambled States of America – Whimsical geography? I know it’s hard to believe, but that’s what you get when you play this delightful game. What do YOU know about your state? Well, it’ll be a whole lot more after you play Scrambled States of America! Learning geography doesn’t have to be dull.
Games For the Little Ones
There is no need for a kids table when it comes to gaming! There are lots of games designed for children that are still entertaining for adults. If you have or will be hosting little ones this holiday season, here are some great games you can play together!
Enchanted Forest – Another amazing Ravensberger game, Enchanted Forest is the perfect game for children who love fairy tales and stories. Race around the forest to find Cinderella’s slipper, Rapunzel’s tower, a cobbler’s shoe, and other classic fairy tale items. No reading is required and up to 6 people can play, making this a great choice for everyone to enjoy.
The Magic Labyrinth – Another great game for fairy tale lovers, The Magic Labyrinth is a 3D puzzle game that is really a memory game in disguise. No reading is required and the game is recommended for ages 6 and up.
Tiny Polka Dot – The little sibling of Prime Climb, Tiny Polka Dot is a math game for ages 3+, and no math skills are needed! Tiny Polka Dot is actually a collection of 16 mini games to play with your child, and it can accommodate up to 6 players! Gather up the grandkids and have fun with math!
Animal Snacks – An exclusive game from Simply Fun, Animal Snacks is a quick-play game that reinforces pattern matching skills, gameplay manners, and motor skills. You can read my full review of Animals Snacks over on Homeschool Gameschool.
Trouble – Sometimes classic games are exactly what you need, and Trouble is one of our favorites. To play Trouble all you need are some counting skills, and let’s face it, what kid doesn’t love to press the die popper?
Gameschooling through the holidays is a great way to reinforce skills, practice the lessons they’re learning in homeschooling, but also to bond as a family. Your child may not remember what they learned in second grade history, but they will remember the evening you sat down to play a game with them.
About the Author
Meg Grooms is a two-decade homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next