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Educational Board Games

Throughout the history of civilization, games and toys have been used for children’s education and development. They have also been important for adult social interaction and entertainment. Board games in particular have been played in most cultures; several examples have been found pictured in ancient Egyptian tomb frescoes, in early Aztec ruins, and in ancient China historical records. Board games use counters or pieces that are instrumental for movement across a board that has markings or designs on the surface, and each game usually has a starting point and ending point. Board games usually involve some level of skill, strategy, and critical thinking, and they often teach and reinforce basic learning concepts of language, mathematics, science, geography, history, and more.

In addition to rudimentary subject learning, educational board games enhance social and emotional development, help develop hand-eye coordination, and assist understanding of spatial relationships. They also encourage understanding of complex construction elements, cause-and-effect relationships, and basic world and life concepts. Most board games require focus, patience, sharing, social interaction, understanding limits, and taking turns. The most elemental board games teach early learning skills of number, shape, letter, and color recognition, as well as counting, grouping, and reading fundamentals. Educational board games have survived for centuries by virtue of their essence– learning by way of fun!

Many of these also have junior versions for younger learners.

Language Arts

For language arts development, several different board games are available that teach word and letter recognition, phonetics, rhyming, anagrams, synonyms, spelling and vocabulary building, and reading comprehension:

1. Scrabble

2. Boggle

3. Scattergories

4. Password

5. Anagramania

Mathematics

Many board games offer learning in number recognition, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, pre-algebra, geometry, and monetary value and denominations:

1. Yahtzee

2. Monopoly

3. Money Bags: A Coin Value Game

4. The Allowance Game

5. Head Full of Numbers

Geography

Several educational board games teach geography, directional, and distance skills by incorporating maps of states, nations, and continents. Many of these also teach cultural differences and social studies:

1. Great States

2. Risk

3. GeoSafari

4. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

5. Brain Quest: Know the States (also Brain Quest: Around the World)

Science

Many board games are available that involve science learning, including biology, anatomy, earth science, meteorology, environmental science, ecology, astronomy, physics, and chemistry:

1. Operation

2. Totally Gross

3. Science Lab: Earth Science (also Science Lab: Life Science)

4. Anatomy Academy

5. Professor Noggins Wonders of Science

Board games make excellent teaching tools for all ages!

*Image provided by Educational Insights.*

Celebrate the Earth with a little planet-friendly FUN with the entire family! The following educational books and green games make for a wonderful evening of home spun entertainment while learning about Mother Earth at the same time.

Woodsy Words

Remember pick-up sticks? Taking the original game and making it both eco-friendly and educational, Woodsy Words builds reading skills with simple game play. To play, simply hold all the sticks in one hand and let them fall onto a flat surface. Then, select one stick – if you can extract it without moving any of the others, read the word printed on it and select another stick. Continue play until you bump another stick or get stuck on a word. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins! This new game features 30 Earth-friendly vocabulary words. The sticks are printed with vegetable ink on recycled paper. For ages 5+. www.educationalinsights.com

Smens® Pens

Can pens that are made from recycled newspapers smell fruity and delicious? Yes! Check out Smens, the latest release from the best-selling manufacturers of Smencils. Perfect for drawing, writing, and keeping score, Smens are available in gourmet scents including, Red Licorice, Creamsicle, Aloha, Mystery Scent, Banana fo Fana, Mocha, Passion Fruit, Ninja Berry, Pink Lemonade, and Black Licorice. Each Smen is individually wrapped in a stay-fresh biodegradable plastic tube and is guaranteed to keep its scent for two years. For ages 6+. www.educationalinsights.com

World Repair Kit by Serena & Lily

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing…in Perfect Harmony…” Inspire kids to make the world a better place this Earth Day with the unique World Repair Kit by Serena & Lily! The kit contains a 205 page guidebook that is chock full of earth-friendly ideas that you and your family can do together to make a difference. Big or small, every action counts, and kids can stamp their passport once each activity is completed. Ages 8+. www.serenaandlily.com

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals; illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Compost Stew is a delightful alphabetical recipe that teaches youngsters how to create and use their very own home compost bin. With bouncy verses featuring items that will nourish Mother Earth and gorgeous illustrations that use recycled and found materials, this picture book furthers a timely message—to nurture and give back to the Earth.

Apple cores

Bananas, bruised

Coffee grounds with filters, used

Just add to the pot

and let it all rot

into Compost Stew!

Through Earth Day you can enter to win your very own copy of Compost Stew! Visit www.siddals.com.

Karaoke Fun with B. Okideoke

Sing along with the whole family while recording your voice with the B. Okideoke from B. Toys! Little ones can record a message or song, or sing along to 8 pre-recorded tunes. As B. Toys says, “Anything Worth Saying is Worth Saying Louder!” B eco-friendly too – the cool packaging is made from recycled paper and soy-based inks, and it wraps itself for an instant present, which Moms’ love! justb-byou.com

*Companies generously provided images and samples for this article.*