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Best educational games

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KittyMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Mar-20 16:40:55

With social isolation now in full force, the time to dust off the trusty old game board is now.

Speaking of boards, we've done a deep dive into the Talk boards to find recommendations for games (both physical and screen-based) which have the added bonus of being educational.

Here are Mumsnet users' favourite educational games:

Board games

1. Yahtzee

Great for building on your child's numerical skills, you'll take turns to roll the dice and try to score the best combos. At the end of the game, the winning player will decide whether they risk it all for a Yahtzee roll.

"Try playing Yahtzee. The children don't even realise they're being educated as they tot up their scores."

"Yahtzee is great for times tables up to x6, and for adding up."

Suitable for: Ages 8+

Buy Yahtzee here

2. Insey Winsey Spider

Based on the nursery rhyme, this game will teach your child about counting and shapes. The aim is to be the first to move your 3D spider up the drainpipe before it starts to rain, and a spinner (spun on every turn) will dictate whether the sun will shine or whether you're washed back down the drain.

"I'd recommend Orchard Toys games. There are some great and very simple games for children, even the ones that don't seem educational as such. I'd recommend Incy Wincy Spider for learning numbers and shapes."

Suitable for: Ages 3-6

Buy Incey Winsey Spider here

3. Monopoly

A polarizing game? Maybe. But it's surprisingly educational as well as fun - teaching your child maths skills, bargaining skills, and the basics of money management and investment.

"Monopoly is fab (teaching maths, negotiation, property investment, return on investment etc), and they won't even realise they're learning!"

Suitable for: Ages 8 +

Buy Monopoly here

Related: the best games to play indoors with children

4. Bananagrams

A fast-paced, frantic word game, the aim is to use up all of your letter tiles first. Your child will be learning brand new questionable words before they know it.

"Bananagrams is great for learning wordplay."

“If you're looking for wordy games, Bananagrams is excellent. It's similar to Scrabble, but with no board, so it creates less mess."

"Another vote for Bananagrams!"

Suitable for: Ages 7+

Buy Bananagrams here

5. Shopping List

An absolute classic, this shopping-themed matching game is quick, simple, and excellent at building on your child's memory skills. It also hones their visual recognition skills, and teaches older children about strategy.

"Shopping List is brilliant for memory and matching skills."

"Shopping List is my family's favourite by a long way. Even though they’re much older now, my children won't let me give it away."

Suitable for: Ages 3-7

Buy Shopping List here

6. Scrabble

We're all familiar with this classic word game, but you might not have considered how handy it can be in widening your child's vocabulary, as well as teaching spelling and helping to foster communication and turn-taking skills.

"I found an old set in the loft and the kids haven't stopped playing it."

Suitable for: Ages 10+

Buy Scrabble here

Related: the best children's books ever, according to Mumsnet users

7. Brainbox Games

Specialising in fun, educational games, Brainbox is a favourite among Mumsnet users. There really is a game for every interest - be that sports, space exploration, or mythological figures.

"Have a look at the Brainbox games. My seven year old son has asked for the maths one after playing a friend's."

Suitable for: Ages 3+

Buy Brainbox Games here

Online games

8. Maths-Whizz

Recommended by parents and teachers alike, Maths-Whizz 'provides educational maths games for kids that are designed to excite and engage'. They've been tested by teachers to make sure they're in line with the curriculum, too.

"For maths, Maths-Whizz is good. The teaching of the concepts is solid."

Go to the Maths-Whizz website

9. Dragonbox

These colourful maths apps teach everything from algebra to geometric shapes, and have been praised by Forbes, the New York Times, and many a Mumsnet user, of course.

"We've enjoyed the Dragonbox apps. I've found Dragonbox Numbers particularly great for my little one's development of number sense and a 'feel' for basic addition. My Year 1 daughter also still enjoys it, and my eight year old son picks it up from time to time, too."

"Try Dragonbox - it's fantastic for developing algebra thinking. It's not free, but it's worth it."

Go to the Dragonbox website

10. Starfall

A free-to-use website teaching children literacy and maths, its games emphasize exploration, play, and positive reinforcement. The games are multisensory, colourful, and will build your child's confidence.

"Starfall.com is great for reading if you can ignore the American pronunciation!"

Go to the Starfall website

Related: the best wireless headphones, according to Mumsnet

11. Squeebles

Another bright, colourful, engaging set of educational apps, Squeebles teaches everything from times tables to telling the time; spelling to punctuation. They're aimed at children aged 5-11, but 'can be used by anyone who wants to brush up on their key numeracy, literacy and time-telling skills in a fun, interactive way'.

"Squeebles maths apps are fabulous, as is the spelling one. My younger children love them. One of my children (in Y3) used it to learn all the times tables (up to 15!) over Christmas."

Go to the Squeebles website

12. Mathletics

Lauded by both parents and teachers, this game lets your child create and design their own avatar - winning new designs and styles for every activity completed. It's continually updated with fun, new learning content, which works well to keep your child engaged.

"In my child's school they use Mathletics. It's great as it works with your child's abilities - becoming more complicated as they grow in confidence. My children love the fact that you can have live maths challenges with other children from all over the world. It's also fun because you collect points and can use them to 'buy' virtual things (like clothes) for your very own Mathletics character."

Go to the Mathletics website

Related: the best children's tablets 2020

13. UpToTen

Available on desktop, tablet and smartphone, these vibrant educational games come recommended by the BBC and ToysRUs, and have won numerous awards. Designed for ages zero to 10, your child can learn everything from subtraction to geometry, as well as basic memory skills, time-telling skills, and spelling.

"It's been mentioned previously but worth another recommendation! I have two boys aged two and five and they both love it - there are loads of games and songs. Educational and fun."

Go to the UpToTen website

Did we miss anything out? If so, let us know below, and we'll add your suggestions to the list.

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