5 Educational Games to Play With Your Kids

playing gamesWe all want to give our children every possible advantage when it comes to learning and paving their way to a successful school year and professional career in the future. But none of us wants to be that crazy mom with flash cards drilling her kid every chance she gets (okay, someone wants to be her, because there are plenty of them out there).

But for the rest of us ... as cliche as it sounds, there are learning opportunities to be had everywhere -- especially when it comes to playtime. Teaching your children while they're playing is one of the most effective and fun ways to do so, and they'll be none the wiser that they're actually learning. Here are five educational games you can play with your children that you'll both enjoy:

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1. I Spy An oldie but a goodie for children of all ages, this is one you can play in the car, in line at the grocery, or anywhere you happen to be. Children learn to think strategically and use descriptive words and you can adjust how tricky you are according to their ability.

2. Puzzles From the simplest block puzzles to the more complicated ones that take hours, putting together puzzles with my children is one of my favorite activities. From teaching fine motor to cognitive skills, they are some of the best teaching toys there are.

3. Memory Game You can buy a pre-packaged version, use playing cards, or make your own. Getting children to try and make matches based on what they recall is a great way for them to practice paying attention to details and placement. Start with just a couple matches for younger children, and use many to challenge the older ones.

4. Board Games Whether it's the Dora the Explorer version of Chutes and Ladders or Hi Ho! Cherry-O, from a young age, toddlers can play and learn counting skills, colors, and how to take turns. Older children can learn things like spelling (Boggle Junior) and strategy (Battleship), and how to be a good sport.

5. Online Games There are a host of educational games out there to be had that you and your children can play together. From PBS to Starfall, there are some great ones to learn everything from ABCs and colors and shapes to how to read.

What are your favorite educational games to play with your children?


Image via Gracie and Viv/Flickr

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