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(Mostly) Educational Games

January 25, 2011

After a long day, nothing is better than ten minutes to yourself. But you know you’re not going to get that ten minutes if you have a child (or two, or three, or four …) who is continuously approaching you with the “I’m bored” slogan. And let’s face it: there’s only so much housework he or she can do. If your child (or children) is pestering you for a new game, I have a few recommendations:

10 Days In … (Ages 10+)10 Days in Africa

Despite being geographically challenged (Iceland is green, and Greenland is ice – what?!), I challenge my parents to this game almost every time I visit. After every round, I feel a little bit better about my geographical knowledge. You can spend 10 days in Africa, Asia, Europe, or the USA (unfortunately a Canada version is not yet available).

BrainBox (Ages 7+)

Meant for two or more players, this game is great for testing your, uh … what’s the word? Ah, yes: memory. A ten minute memory recall game which can focus on subjects such as math, nature, your ABCs and more.

Settlers of Catan (Ages 10+)

A wonderful trading game that can be enjoyed by players younger than ten (but they may need to partner up with mom or dad). The original game itself is engaging and fun, but add the Seafarers or Cities and Knights expansion and you’ll have an explosion of extensive building and trading. I have heard of Catan-athons taking place in church groups and family functions, to which I give a hearty salute.

Things (Ages 8+)

Excellent for large groups. Similar to Apples to Apples: you’re given a topic, answers are written down, and guesses are made as to who wrote what! Played at our January staff meetings every year.

Art Game (Ages 7+)

Learn about Renaissance artists, Impressionists, or Van Gogh and Friends while playing “Go Fish”. Each kit comes with a deck of playing cards and a full-color art book that has fun facts for you and your children. If you don’t think the art book will come in handy, the deck of cards is available separately.

GeoPuzzle (Ages 4+)

Another hands-on geographical learning device: puzzle pieces shaped like individual countries, states and provinces. This gives anyone a chance to “visualize world piece”. You can put together a puzzle of the world, the USA and Canada, Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Pandemic (Ages 10+)

Pandemic is the new Settlers of Catan (or so I’m told). With intense co-0perative game playing, your children can save the world from an epidemic. If your family is prone to rambunctious vocalizations during game-play, you’ll love this: instead of yelling at each other, they’ll be yelling together at the board.


Here are a few more games and kits to help your child grasp the concept that you’ve been drilling for four days (don’t feel discouraged because it took his or her sibling only one day to learn the same lesson). These can add a dash of fun to your curriculum, and are perfect for kinesthetic learners:

Project Kit for Kids (Ages 8+)

Ein-O Kits (Ages 7+)

Professor Noggin’s (Ages 7+)

On-the-Go Science (Ages 8+)


I hope you enjoy your ten minutes to yourself. Or, if you end up sacrificing those ten minutes to play a quick round of Settlers – well, I hope you enjoy that too.

There are plenty more fun and educational games on the CHER website.

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