Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
Have you finished your holiday shopping? When looking for gifts for my three little ones, I always try to ensure that what we buy is not only a gift, but is also something that fits with our family culture and educational goals.
Games are therefore a perfect choice–they’re fun, kids love them, and they make for around-the-clock learning as well. I’m always on the lookout for new game recommendations for my 8-, 7-, and 6-year-olds.
Our family has had an Amazon prime membership for years, which means we get free two day shipping year-round (on top of other benefits like instant videos). We use it often for books, grocery items in bulk, and more.
There’s still plenty of time to order before Christmas, and if you need some ideas–here are my top picks this holiday season for games your children will love.
1. Leapfrog ABC’s Write-on Floor Puzzle
For those looking to encourage handwriting in young writers, this puzzle, once put together, provides plenty of space to do just that. It’s ideal for the 5-7 age range, but my eight-year-old daughter still loves it.
2. Sum Swamp
I bought this game when I was looking for a way to playfully introduce my kiddos to addition and subtraction. It is a frequently requested game in our home!
For 2-4 players, it gives practice in adding and subtracting up to quantities of twelve.
3. The Uncle Wiggly Game
My older two can read the rhyme cards themselves, and I read them aloud for my youngest.
Wildcraft is a cooperative game for ages 5-8 (yay! no fighting or meltdowns about who wins), which means that all players work together for a common goal–in this case getting back to Grandma’s before sundown. Along the way, they learn about herbs and medicinal plants.
A side note: You will have noticed that winning or losing is a big deal in the minds of children in the 5-8 age range. This is developmentally normal and not to be worried over. In my house we reduce the number of upsets by making all games cooperative as much as possible–not emphasizing the “winner,” but letting everyone have a chance to make it to the finish line.
More of a puzzle than traditional game, MightyMind contains design cards and plastic tiles that encourage kids to create specialized patterns.
Good for ages four and up, these increase in complexity as they help kids develop visual and spatial understanding.
6. I Never Forget a Face Memory Game
This takeoff from the traditional memory game combines both recognition and geography.
It has 24 pairs of children’s faces from different countries for players to match and remember.
7. Rory’s Story Cubes
A great choice for slightly older kids (ages eight and up), Rory’s Story Cubes brings out the creative storytelling ability in your child.
Roll the dice and create a story based on the pictures you see.
No list of early board games would be complete without Candyland!
This game, based on colors and requiring no reading, is perfect as a child’s first game for ages 4-6.
9. A Little Golden Book Go Fish Card Game
If you’ve read many little golden books with your young children, you’ll love this go fish card game.
One of our family’s favorites, it is a good first game choice for preschoolers.
10. Money Bags
Looking for a way to teach your children money value and how to make change? Throughout this game players collect, count and exchange money on their way to the finish line.
Happy holidays and happy gaming!
Tell us which learning games are favorites in your home!
This post originally published on December 12, 2011.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.