How to plan an educational game night

Sep 12, 2011 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Who says game night can't combine both family fun and an educational opportunity? There are many family board games that your children will love playing that teach them valuable skills. Here are some fun game night ideas you can try tonight!

50 Days of family fun

Keep teaching moments in mind

Games teach life skills like cooperation and teamwork, and kids will learn responsibility playing by the rules and cleaning up when the game is over. There are lessons of perseverance and patience: waiting for your turn and trying again if you don't win the first time. It's also important to learn to be a good winner and a gracious loser. They will practice being honest by playing fair and being able to admit mistakes. This reminds them that we make choices and accept the consequences.

Skill sets

Payday board game

Different games teach various skills so try a new one weekly. Payday is a money-management game best for kids eight and up. Children getting allowances will like this game and learn aspects of managing their own money. They will learn to plan ahead for bills, sometimes get an unexpected windfall of cash, and just like in real life, discover that unexpected expenses come up. It teaches them that if they take out a loan they are required to pay it back with interest. It's an easy game to play that can really help kids understand basic money lessons they will need later in life.

Scrabble helps with vocabulary and word skills. Clue helps to sharpen kids' memories, learn deductive reasoning and practice record keeping. Yahtzee is great for building math skills.

Choose age-appropriate games

When planning your game night, find age-appropriate games. Younger children can partner with parents on some games, but look for games that will appeal to older children first. You want them to be engaged in the activity. The little ones will often be content to help hand out game pieces and assist in keeping score or passing out snacks.

Offer the kids some game choices. If you're trying to get them involved in games that will build certain skills (language, spelling, math, etc.) check the internet for suggestions and offer them a choice of games to add to the family collection. They will be more enthusiastic if the decision is theirs!

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