colorful foam numbers all scattered about

Five Board Games We Play With Our 6-year-old to Learn Math

Worksheets aren't as fun as games
How do your kids learn math? The typical answer, even for 6-year-olds, involves matchbooks and worksheets. We're not doing those with our kids right now. Instead, we're learning new board games. Board games are great for learning math! Logical systems, reading numbers, counting, adding, subtracting, pattern matching… games have it all. Here are five games we've been playing with our kids, and what's useful about them for learning math skills: Dragonwood: You fight monsters and dragons using sets of cars from your hand. What's not to like for a 6-year-old boy? This game involves collecting sets of cards, reading numbers on the cards, ordering and matching numbers, rolling dice and adding up the results. There's an element of learning probability and chance from the dice in the game
Wreck Raiders: You collect treasure from shipwrecks to fill a vault in your museum, and you also build aquariums for your museum. This one is a basic worker placement and resource management game,with logical thinking and pattern matching. I also like it because it has lots of simpler versions of game mechanics that show up in the more complex games my husband and I like playing - good practice for joining in later!
King Domino: A straightforward tile placement game, you build territory in your kingdom. It includes tile matching, logical planning, and adding and multiplying to score at the end of the game. We've introduced a calculator to learn about multiplying bigger numbers, which also helps with memorizing early times tables.
Carcassonne: Build cities, roads, and monasteries in the French countryside! A tile placement game with scoring mid-game as well as at the end. Simple counting, addition, and multiplying to determine points.
Settlers of Catan: You're settling the island of Catan. A resource management and building game, where you get resources based on dice rolls and use them to expand your settlements and roads.across the island. This game helps instill an intuitive sense of probability when rolling two six-sided dice! Plenty of planning and logical thoughts. So far, the kids have only played the basic version with no expansions.
This is just a handful that we've played lately! We've actually introduced more complicated German-style games to our 6-year-old too—such as Feast For Odin and Hallertau (generally rated for ages 12+). Soon, I'm going to have to get the bananagrams back out as we get back into learning to read!

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We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

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