Like all other parents of school-aged children I received a list of required items for the school year. Most items were fairly common: indoor shoes, a change of clothes for the younger kids, binders. The usual.
Then something on both their list got me all excited!
The school officially requested that each student bring a board or card game to play with their friends on those rainy school days.
As a lover of board games (and card games)
this made me super stoked! I’m all about getting more kids to play board games to help them develop key social skills as well as practicing their reading and counting skills. This school’s new initiative was a sure sign that educators are recognizing the importance and the value of social analog games in the vast digital world that surrounds us.
If you received social games as an item on your kids’ school list or if you’re looking for a fun and easy educational game for the home, here’s a personal list of some of my favourite board or card games for rainy school days. I’ve ranked them out of 5 stars based on a few factors that would make it easier for kids to play these at school with their friends:
- portability (is the game small enough to fit in a crowded backpack or locker?),
- easy to learn (and easy for your child to teach the rules to new friends),
- educational (what, and how much do kids get out of it),
- and replayability (can this game entertain kids over and over?)
Easy to Learn: 4/5
Play Time: 15 mins
Set Up Time: 1 min
Recommended Age: 5+
Number of Players: 2-8
Cardline: Animals published by Asmodee is one of those miraculous games that everyone enjoys. Test it out on your grandma or your grumpy uncle at your next family gathering and you’ll see what I mean. It takes less than a minute to explain the simple rules, which makes it easy for kids to teach their friends how to play at school.
It also helps that the cards are absolutely GORGEOUS. On each of the 110 unique card is a beautiful hand-painted animal illustration by Gael Lannurien. The same image is printed on both sides of the card, but one side also features the animal’s average height, weight, and lifespan. Before starting the game all players must choose which one of the three units of measurement they will use for that game. One by one the players must try to place their cards in the right order on the cardline. If they guessed correctly, they have one less card in their hand and one step closer to winning the game. If they’re wrong, they must draw another random card from the facedown pile of cards. It’s amazing how much you’ll learn about animal species with this game no matter your age.
Oh, and by the way, when I asked my kids which game they wanted to bring to school they both decided to bring a copy of the French version of Cardline: Animals since they go to a French school (and this game is awesome.)
Click here for more information about Cardline: Animals or to get a copy of this game:
Easy to Learn: 3/5
Play Time: 30 mins
Set Up Time: 2 mins
Recommended Age: 8+
Number of Players: 2
At first glance you might think Patchwork by Mayfair Games is a game for tea-loving old ladies with its quilted box cover and traditional name, but it’s actually a very entertaining 2-player strategy game for all ages. It’s sort of like Tetris, but in this version the pieces stay still and you have to purchase them with buttons.
The rules are simple and well explained with loads of illustrations, so even though there’s no reading involved in the game itself, some younger kids might need help to get started. Players must try to cover as many squares on their board with odd-shaped patches that they can purchase with buttons. How do you get buttons? You earn them from collecting patches with buttons on them. The person who finishes the game with the most buttons and the least amount of empty squares on their board wins!
Click here for more information about Patchwork or to get a copy of this game:
Easy to Learn: 5/5
Play Time: 10 mins
Set Up Time: 1 min
Recommended Age: 5+
Number of Players: 2 to 8
The name of the game says it all! Spot it first and you win. This is a fast-paced card game that can get loud with excitement so it’s best to play when being active in class is okay. All 55 cards contain a unique combination of symbols, but there is ALWAYS one and only one matching symbol between any two cards. It’s up to you to spot yours first. The rulebook offers five variants for this game (which can keep it fresh even after a few plays), but the standard way is distribute one card face up to all the players and place the rest in a pile face down in the centre.
The game starts when someone flips over the centre card and if you can spot the matching symbol between your card and the middle card first you add that card on top of your pile. The person with the most cards when the centre pile runs out wins! This game is great for students learning a new language or developing early language skills, as you have to say the matching symbol out loud before you’re allowed to take the card. There’s even a few different themes available, like Spot It! Gone Camping for those kids who love to camp.
Click here for more information about Spot It! or to get your copy of this game:
I hope more schools will integrate social games in their learning strategy as it will benefit the students in so many ways. Does your school encourage playing board games on rainy days as well? If so, what games does your child like to play at school? Please share in the comments below!
For more great game ideas for kids and adult alike or for game tutorials, visit our website at www.meepleandsheep.ca. Plus, sign up for our e-newsletter Meepmail on our landing page and receive 10% off your first order.
Keep on playing!