Summer is the perfect time for outdoor fun, but sometimes it is just too hot or stormy! When you have to stay inside it is so easy for to let kids watch tv, play video games or go on the computer. But there are plenty of indoor activities that are just as fun, and can promote learning at the same time. My family loves to play games together, and here are my family’s five favorite that are perfect for a rainy summer day, because they encourage learning and thinking. These games are most appropriate for ages 8 and up.
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The game Clue has been popular for over 50 years, because it is both entertaining and educational. It is a classic game for learning reasoning and how to apply deductive logic. Travel around the Mansion and figure out the murderer through the process of elimination. There are many versions of the game available, including the Classic version I played as a kid.
We actually own the Harry Potter Clue version, although we have had other ones through the years. All the versions have similar game play, there are just a few changes to character names, weapons and things like that. Clue is a game that never gets old, and kids ages 8 and up will enjoy solving the mystery.
Chronology is a history game, in which you try to put cards with historical information on them in chronological order. When we first got this game my kids were not enthused, but it has become one of our favorite games and we play it all the time. Figuring out the dates is fun, and it is like a trivia game with a twist. Which do you think was invented first, ice cream cones or silver dollars? Answering questions like that will put you on the path to victory!
We have an older version of this game, which includes 480 cards, and we have found it is quite re-playable. Sometimes we know we have heard a card before, but we still don’t remember the date! The new version has 200 cards, so that might be more of an issue. This is one of our favorite games to play with all ages, and it is even more fun when grandparents play along.
Set is billed as The Family Game of Visual Perception, and it is a deceptively simple card game. It is all about finding patterns. Each card contains three symbols, in varying numbers, colors and shading. The object is to look at the cards and find sets of three cards which are either all the same or all different.
In the Set above each card has a different shape, a different number, a different color and the same shading pattern, so this is a set. It takes a little practice, but it is quite addictive! The cards are dealt out on the table and everyone plays simultaneously, so speed of recognizing sets becomes very important. Another nice thing about this game is it is easy to adapt to all ages and different numbers of players.
Blokus is a strategy board game that challenges spatial thinking. In this game each player has tiles of different shapes, and the object is to place as many tiles as possible on the board. Players take turns going and if you aren’t careful you can end up blocked out and not be able to play anymore. This game teaches spatial relationships and planning ahead, because it is important to think a few turns ahead.
Blokus is fast to play, and every time you play it is different.
Calling this one game one is kind of cheating, because we actually own four of these games, 10 Days in Africa, 10 Days in Europe, 10 Days in Asia and 10 Days in the USA, because we like them so much. The games all work the same way, you travel across the continent or country stringing together destination tiles and transportation tiles to get from one side of the continent to the other. This game is wonderful for teaching geography, my kids know the location of all the countries in Asia, Europe and Africa just from playing these games.
There is also strategy involved in what destinations you keep and which ones you throw out. This game is highly replayable, and it is one my kids play frequently. They like to string 2 or 3 of the games together and play 20 days in Europe and Asia, making up their own rules.
Let me know what your family’s favorite games are!