10 Educational Games for Grade School Kids

     Games can be such great fun!  Whether just your kids are playing one together, with their friends, or the whole family is having a game night, it’s time well spent together!  Most every game calls for everyone to bring their skills to the table, while having a good time, usually laughing a lot, getting competitive, and just enjoying the fun.

     But many, many games are actually a great way for our children to learn as well!  At the grade school ages, many of the classic games us adults grew up with, and others that have come out since, can really aid in building up our kids’ academic skills, and re-enforcing many as well. All while they think they are just playing!  I say it all of the time…..LEARNING SHOULD BE FUN!!  When learning is fun, kids want to learn more, and usually what they learned while having fun, tends to ‘stick’ better.

     There are more kids’ games on the market than can even be counted.  No doubt, most all of them can be educational on some level, when you really break it down. In this post, we’re taking a look at just 10 (mostly) classic games, that are known to be really fun games, but also offer valuable learning skills for our kids.  Whether you are a homeschooling family or not, none of us can ever learn too much, or have too much fun!!  So here’s 10 fun games we thought of suggesting for you, and why we think they are educational too:



“The anagram game that will drive you bananas!”

Ages: 7 and up   Players: 2-8

Bananas is similar to Scrabble, with the letter tiles. The concept of this game is to race your opponents to build your own crossword grids.  The first to use all of their letters shouts “Bananas!”

Teaches: Spelling, new Vocabulary, Math skills, and Sportsmanship Skills


scrabble game SCRABBLE

“Every word’s a WINNER!”

Ages: 8 and up     Players: 2-4

Scrabble is a word game in which players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles, on a game board marked with a grid. The words are formed across and down, crossword style, and must appear in a standard dictionary.

Teaches: Spelling, new Vocabulary words, Math skills, critical thinking, and sportsmanship skills 


boggle game


“The 3-minute word search game.”

Ages: 8 and up  Players: 2-4

The game is played using a plastic grid of lettered dice, in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters.

Teaches: basic Spelling, basic Math, critical thinking, and sportsmanship skills


yahtzee game YAHTZEE

“The Classic Shake & Score Dice Game.”

Ages: 8 and up   Players: 2+

This is a 5 dice game, where the object is to score the most points by rolling the dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make one of the many combinations.  Once a combination has been used in the game, it cannot be used again. Rolling 5 matching dice gives you a Yahtzee! Highest score wins.

Teaches: Operations of Math,critical thinking, and sportsmanship skills



Parker Brothers’ Classic “Where Does All The Money Go?” Game

Ages: 7 and up   Players: 2-4

In Payday kids learn to have a job, lend money, pay bills and interest, and deal with unexpected expenses.  (Dang, we need to get this one! lol)

Teaches: Math, Money Management, Personal Finances, Life skills, Responsibility



“The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game”

Ages: 8 and up   Players: 2-8

As the players move around the board, they buy and sell properties, build houses and collect rent. Monopoly is a great money game for kids learning how to count money and make decisions.

Teaches: Math, Money Management, Life skills


all around the usa ALL AROUND THE USA

“The Ten Minute Memory Recall Game.”

Ages: 8 and up      Players: 1 or more

This game gives players 10 seconds to study an illustrated card and memorize as many details as possible. The players then roll the dice to determine which question they’ll be asked what was on the card. This clever memory game teaches players little-known facts about the 50 states while boosting visual perception and recall skills.

Teaches:  Geography, State Facts, Reading, Visual Perception, Concentration, Memory




“The Game of Crazy Comparisons!”

Ages: 9 and up    Players: 4 or more

Players will delight in the crazy comparisons while expanding their vocabulary and thinking skills. The 576 cards provide hours and hours of fun! The kids and junior card sets contain no duplicate cards. The sets may be combined for thousands of new comparisons.

Teaches: Language, Reading, Vocabulary, Critical Thinking, Comparing, Convincing Skills



stare game


Ages: *10 and up   Players: 2-10

(*Our triplets have been playing it since they were age 6, no problem.)

From the box:

“Quickly – you have 20 seconds to stare at the image on the card. It might be a movie poster, an old advert, a comic, a funny photo, or maybe even a work of art. When the timer runs out, you’ll be asked a series of questions about the image – What color is the woman’s hat? How man teddy bears do you see? In which hand is the man holding the gun?

“How much can you recall? Don’t worry, wild guesses count. Answer correctly and you keep going – unless your luck runs out first! Will your powers of concentration hold, even as you burst out laughing?”

Teaches: Observation skills, Concentration, Visual Perception, Memory, Reading



“Mix, Match, Score, and Win!”

Qwirkle consists of 108 wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players attempt to score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color. The simple setup makes this an instant winner for younger kids, while adults will enjoy strategizing to win.

Ages: 6 and up    Players: 2-4

Teaches: Sequencing, Colors, Shapes, Strategy

* * * * * *

That’s our 10 for this post!!  So tell us…..Which games of these listed does your family have? Which ones do your kids love to play?  Are there any you’d like to get, now that you’ve read a little about them?  I’ll be chiming in the comments to give you our own answers, too. We’d love to hear what you have to say,  and we’d also really LOVE it if you added any educational games for this age group, that you think are great!  We know there are lots, so give us the scoop!



Last Minute May Day (Baskets & Delivery) Tips & Ideas!


May Day is less than a week away.  But if you really want to touch some hearts and make some older folks in your life feel so unforgotten, this is a wonderful thing to do with your children!  It not only has the potential to teach them a bit of History, but it teaches them about kindness and compassion, as well.  What’s more, it couldn’t be more fun and exciting!  



    Planning, putting together, and secretly delivering  May Day Baskets, is something we have done with our kids for the past 4 consecutive years, from 2008 – 2011.  Every year, the number of our recipients has grown. It can be done as simply or as involved as you choose, depending on the time or expense you’d like to put into it. While the traditional May baskets years ago were simply filled with wild flowers, picked special just for the recipient, we have really tended to get into the ideas for our basket contents! (Cheap affordable baskets can be found at any low budget department stores, such as Wal*Mart, as well as places like the Christmas Tree Shoppes.)  But you don’t need to.  The thought and fun behind it is not more or less, no matter what you give in the basket. It’s what you give from your heart, to their’s, that matters most.  

    So if just delivering a beautiful bunch of flowers is more the way you’d like to go, here are a couple of other simple container ideas I found on Pinterest: 


Most everyone has some cans in the house!  Wash them out, get rid of any sharp edges, punch some holes in the side and thread with some lovely ribbon or rope for a handle, and fill with flowers!  If you really want to dress it up, create a label of your own.  Consider having your kids make some drawings, and glue them on!


Another idea is the traditional way…..making a simply paper cone.  There are beautiful scrap booking papers in any craft store that you can use.  Add some pretty trim, a handle, and the flowers, and you have a beautiful May Day surprise!


    Today, as we share photos from our baskets over the years throughout this post, we’d also like to share some other tips and ideas, in the hopes that you will be inspired to really make some older folks day!  You must know how much the little things mean to them, and this big surprise they find on their doorstep or door handle will be something that talk about for a long time to come.


May Day baskets were typically delivered to older folks years ago (on May Day of course), so this is a tradition they will well remember and appreciate.  Think of what older folks are in your life, who your children might want to deliver to.   Once you determine how many recipients you’ll have, you’ll know how many baskets (or other forms of containers) you’ll need. Some people to consider:

  • Grandparents
  • Older Neighbors
  • Older Folks you know from Church
  • Other Friendly Aquaintences

Naturally, for doorstep delivery, you’ll need to know where these folks live! Normally, the idea is for the children to sneak up to the door, hang the basket on the doorknob (or place on the porch where the recipient will see it when they open the door), ring the doorbell, and run like the dickens!! With any luck, they’ll get away without being seen, and the recipient will only find a lovely basket of flowers and/or goodies.

     BUT, another very thoughtful idea is to deliver them in person, to random folks in a nursing home.  Many older folks feel quite forgotten at such homes, with few visitors.  Just seeing your children’s faces will feel like such a blessing to them.  Getting flowers and/or other goodies will do their hearts so good. (And yours too!).  This is a great alternative if May Day turns out to be rainy too.   Consider calling a home to let them know you are coming ahead of time, and ask them to put together (your number) of recipients who do not have loved ones to visit them.



If you’ve decided to fill your baskets with goodies beyond wild flowers, here are some content ideas we have used over the years:

  • A Tea Bag Variety
  • Hard Candy (Consider sugar-free for possible diabetics)
  • Baked Goods from your own kitchen (Mini loves, muffins, cookies, cupcakes)
  • Pocket Tissue Packets
  • Prayer Cards
  • Small Short & Uplifting Story Books
  • Cross Word Puzzle Books
  • Tea Biscuits
  • Flowers
  • A scroll explaining the tradition of May Day Basket Delivery (A great time to educate the kids about this tradition)

Basically, anything that fits in the basket!  What creative ideas can you and your kids come up with?

Lining your baskets before filling, is another option.  You can use tissue paper, an open napkin, a cloth napkin, or even a new kitchen dish towel, which is a gift in itself!



It’s nice to have a tag attached, that wishes them HAPPY MAY DAY!  That tends to remove any confusion of why the basket was left. They will realize it is May 1st soon enough, and put it all together. (And them SMILE, no doubt!)   Whether you sign your tag or not is up to you. Sometimes there is concern that the recipients will be frightened, or be afraid to eat the contents.  So if that is a real concern, you can sign them.  But the real fun is to let it be a mystery!  It’s also a wonderful lesson for your children, that we can do kind things for others, and not need to get credit.

    Here is a free printable tag I made one year, that I am happy to share with you:   MAY DAY BASKET TAGS




This year (2012), May Day falls on a (this) Tuesday.  Since we homeschool, we have always rearranged our school work for the day, and made our deliveries in the morning, usually between 9:00-11:00 a.m.  But if your kids are in school, evening delivery is just as acceptable!

    Before leaving home, plan out your delivery route, according to where your recipients live.  Knowing the order of stops ahead of time makes for smoother deliveries. 

   Also important is to plan ahead WHO will be running up to which doors, and running.  We have 4 kids.  So rather than they all go up to each door, risking injury and getting caught, by tripping over each other, they decided among themselves who would do which homes.  This saved any arguing about the matter in the vehicle too, which could really suck the fun out of it all!


I especially loved one idea we had last year:  Making little flowering window sill tea cup plants.  Along with some perfect size Chicken Soup for the Soul books!  The above photo is all of the basket contents, pre-assembly.  The photo below is them all together.

Naturally, every year around May Day, I have taken lots of photos, from basket assembling, to the secret deliveries themselves.  Going through those posts always make me smile.  Especially when the kids were so little! So if you care to, you are free to visit the previous years blog post links, and hopefully dig up some more inspiration, to deliver some love, yourselves.

  • 2011 – Did not blog deliveries, but last year’s basket photos are shown above.

     Following May Day last year, we decided it was likely our last year of planning and delivering May Day Baskets.  Reason being, 1) the kids are getting a little too old (and big! for this particular serving in secret, and 2) after 4 years, we’re not such a secret anymore! When you start getting thank you cards in the mail, you know they’ve finally figured you out! ; )  But, the lessons have been good for our children, and there is nothing better than the feel-good-feeling, of giving in secret! Our hearts are always open to new ideas and ways in which we can serve others, as God calls us all to do.  The possibilities are endless, and there are always daily opportunities in our lives, and yours.

  Acts 20:35
“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

Matthew 25:40
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’



Flat Stanley Comes For a Stay With Us, In Plymouth, MA, from Oregon!

Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley?  Or the Flat Stanley kid’s books his character is from?  Well I hadn’t.  Or I don’t recall, anyway.  Our oldest daughter does remember the books, but I have not been at all familiar with Flat Stanley, and neither had our fourth grade trio!  But we were about to get very familiar with him!  He was coming from Oregon, to stay at our house with our family, in Plymouth, MA, as an exchange student, of sorts.

This is the day Flat Stanley arrived, and I told the kids all about their new and exciting project!  (Please excuse the bad cell phone pic in this one shot!) Flat Stanley was not only going to be fun, but he was going to be a wonderful homeschooling project, loaded with excellent lessons.


This is our little friend Logan. Handsome guy, huh? He’s also so sweet, so smart, and the best big brother ever. He’s just all about love. His mother and I are good friends.  When she was looking for some hosts to send Logan’s Flat Stanley from his elementary school to where Flat Stanley could go and learn about a new area, and to take that info back to Logan’s first grade class, we were all over it!  What a great class project this would be for our younger ones! And what a great area for Flat Stanley to learn about! Plymouth, MA is a town filled with much American History!   We couldn’t wait to show Flat Stanley so many things, and see to it he enjoyed his trip. ; )

(Half the fun, was pretending Stanley was real.  And yet we learned even more about our area, right along with him.)

The following photos are just a few highlights of Flat Stanley’s trip here in Plymouth, Massachusetts:

Flat Stanley in front of the replica of the Mayflower. (Also knows as the Mayflower II.)

At Plymouth Rock!  He was very excited to see this rock he had heard and read so much about, in person.

Unfortunately, Flat Stanley came at a time that is a little off-season, in this tourist town. He really wanted to take a look around this gift shop we came upon, but this particular one was closed for the season. But that’s not a problem when you are Flat Stanley!  He slipped through the door crack. He was looking for souvenirs to take home to Logan, and his class!  But of course, there was no one to ring anything up for him.

Stanley read this whole sign, to learn more about our area, and the historical events that happened right here!  It was a lot of reading for a first grader, filled with important facts and dates.  But Stanley found it so interesting.

One sunny day, we took Stanley down to the Cape Cod Canal.  It was windy and cold, but he really wanted to see the two bridges, the Sagamore and the Bourne.  The Canal walk/bike trail, runs about 7-8 miles, between the two bridges.  It was too cold to walk the length, but he did get to see both bridges!

Of course Flat Stanley attended Mass with us on Sundays.  He also received his ashes on Ash Wednesday. (Were you wondering what was on his forehead, until now? ; )

He had a great time with us on Super Bowl Sunday!

He cheered on the Patriots with us, like a true New England fan!

Here, Stanley finds some great souvenirs to get for his friend Logan, his classmates, and also the teacher of his class.

He bought everything with his own spending money!

Stanley is so thoughtful.

Since Stanley arrived with just a t-shirt on, the kids made him some paper-doll clothes: a warm jacket, and a New England Patriot’s jersey. (As seen wearing on Superbowl Sunday.)

The kids also wrote a really great report, all about Stanley’s stay with us, in Plymouth, MA. 

As their teacher, I was SO pleased with their report!

We had gathered together many great mementos to send back with him, to share with Logan and his classmates.  There was a nice educational Plymouth, MA guide book as a gift for Logan, and bookmarks for all of his classmates too!

This was for the teacher and her classroom.   Do you see the contents list?  Check out what they look like….

How cool is that, for a classroom to have?

These are all of the printed photos of Stanley’s trip, in this post.

The kid’s made a photo album to send as well, using the photos, card stock, sticky photo tabs, a whole puncher, and silver twist ties. They wrote notes under each photo in the album.

That way Logan’s class could see all Stanley got to see while he was here, and Stanley could have the album as memories from his trip, and his stay with us.

In the end, we realized there were many lessons for the kids, in hosting Flat Stanley.  Here are some of the academic and social skill areas that were involved:

  • American History / Social Studies
  • Geography
  • Map Skills
  • Gathering Resources & Information
  • Organizing Information
  • Writing a Report
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling & Vocabulary
  • Addressing Packages / Post Office
  • and of course…..Being a Proper Host!

After a long good-bye with our new friend Stanley, we packed him and all of his belongings up in a box, and headed to the post office, to see him off!

It was a project we all enjoyed very much!  We hope Logan and his class, enjoy learning all about Plymouth, MA, from Stanley’s education here.

If you would like to read the actual report that the kids wrote, it is attached below. They did such a great job taking turns writing each paragraph, and sharing all of the details.  Michael scanned the report pages as copies, so it doesn’t look as nice as the actual report written in pencil on loose-leaf that the kid’s wrote (as seen in the photos), but if you zoom in, you can read it well enough. There are 3 pages load!  We think you’ll enjoy it.

The Kid’s Flat Stanley’s Trip Report

Have you ever heard of these Flat Stanley projects? Have you ever sent one to another state, or hosted one where you live? Share a link to your blog post if you have one, or just tell us a little about it!

Our School Year 2011-2012, Kicks Off!

Well, forgive me for the delay with any updates about our new school year we’re in the midst of here!  Once we kicked it off at the beginning of September, we’ve been very occupied finding our groove, with our new schedules.  Things are quite different for us this year! With the kid’s respective ages and levels, life has opened up new and exciting opportunities, of experiences and learning, for all of them.  Not to mention new territories for us parents!  We have a high schooler now, for example, and with it comes all kinds of things.  But the younger ones are also following their passions and gifts, more so than ever.

Some of you may know this, but for those of you who do not, we are year round home schoolers.  We keep a lighter (academic) schedule in the summer, and begin a whole new school year/grade levels, in September.  It’s always a very, very exciting time, as we love to plan out and begin a new school year!  We’re really blessed that our kids are enthusiastic students, who love school and learning.  This coming school year, was filled with more anticipation than ever, and it’s been as CrAzY and exciting of a ride, as we expected.

I always take the kid’s new school photos on the first day of school.  This year, it was almost a week later, but we got it done.  We have also ‘always’ taken their portraits in the school room, at the side of the cabinets.  But if you follow our blog, you may be aware that we drastically changed our school room set-up, and those cabinets are gone!  You can see the  old and new set up of our school room, as well as the style of school photos we were taking in all previous years, in this recent post.

So this year, I did all of the kid’s school photos outside.  These photos will be in the sidebar quite soon, so that new comers can see the kiddos who make up our home schooling world.  In this post, we wanted to share with you a little about their (book) subjects they are studying this year, as well as some other little interesting tidbits of information.  In coming posts, we’ll be sharing a lot more, including activities/learning experiences outside of their academics, some deeper thoughts and observations I have had as a home schooling parent, and lots of other fun and interesting home schooling related posts. We hope you’ll join us for it all, with discussion and sharing of your own!


This is our oldest daughter/student, Alexis (14). Also known as {A} around the blog here.   She has been home schooled (not necessarily at home…right? lol),  since 3rd grade, and just started 9th grade this year. We can’t believe we have a high schooler now!  That means I worked hard over the summer, researching, and piecing together a serious 4 year college prep plan for her. And maybe panicking, just a little. The girl scares me, and excites me, and makes us all proud, all at the same time!  She has huge aspirations, and her heart set on really big name colleges.  We cannot let her down, and we believe in her, because she is so unique in her focus of her life at her age.   She is so faith-filled, determined, intelligent, tough, independent, and firm on the path she is laying out for herself.  What fascinates me, is it’s all a far cry from anything her father or I ever dreamed for ourselves, or were interested in.  But that’s why each one of us has our own calling, and why it’s important as home schooling parents, to help shape our children’s character, and foster the calling they feel God has put in their heart, as the work He has meant for them to do, in their life.   It’s all about guiding and supporting them, to be the people they are meant to be.

Throughout this past summer, Alexis taught the 4th Grade Religious Education at our parish (2 weeks), and ran the games activity for the kids of Vacation Bible School (1 week.)  She also earned herself a Catholic High School scholarship, that has covered all of the expenses of her academic and extra-curricular school year. We’re proud of her, and grateful as well!

This school year, as a high school Freshman, Alexis’ courses are:  Language Arts (Alpha Omega /LifePac),  Algebra (Math-U-See), Biology (Apologia), History/Social Studies (Streams of Civilization-Volume 2 Cultures in Conflict Since the Reformation), Latin (Latina Christiana), Spanish (All Bilingual) , Art and Music (Piano – private lessons, and the Recorder – all kids at home.).

Alexis is also playing sports now, for our town’s public South High School! She is really involved there. That is a whole other exciting post. I could easily ramble, so I’ll save it, but suffice it to say it’s been really wonderful for her so far, and exciting for us.  It is extremely time-consuming on a daily weekday basis.  But I’d say we best get used to it and keep making it work.

In the light of sharing all of their subjects in this post, I feel it’s important to mention, that we live our personal faith, which is Roman Catholic. So it’s not a subject the kids study for school, but more something we are always teaching them, and they are always living and learning it as they grow. Just as we still are as adults, actually. That said, they do begin each day all together, with a Scripture, discussion, and prayer.  As a tool, we still really love Living Faith-Kids!!

JackMichael(9), the first-born of the triplets.  Also known as {JM} around here.  He and the other 2 have the same academic subjects of course, being in the same grade level and age.   As I said, I’ll be posting more about what they love to do outside of their academic studies, and I’m excited to do so, because they are all so unique, with their interests and personalities. And yet, the differences from within their unique selves, meld together so well with each other.  It’s fascinating to me, to observe, frankly.  But anyway, for today, here are the subjects all 3 of them have this year:

Language Arts (Alpha Omega / LifePac),  Math (Delta / Math-U-See),  Science (Exploring Creation with Astronomy-Apologia), History/Social Studies (Christian Liberty Press / Our Nation Under God, and, History Stories for Children), Writing Strands, Spanish (All Bilingual), Latin (Prima Latina), Art and Music ( Recorder – all kids at home).


Olivia Faith (9), the second triplet born. {O}, which we tend to call her 1/2 the time, ourselves. The boys especially, refer to her as “O”, a lot. And you know what she calls them, when she’s talking to the both of them? “Boys”. It always cracks me up, because there is such a motherly air about the way she says it. So….our own little baby boom is “O and the Boys”, I guess. It has a cool little ring to it, now that I think about it. : )   Oh, speaking of their names, and {name initials in brackets}, I know we’ve been a little all over the place with it.  The thing is, using initials for any sake of privacy or protection, is pretty irrelevant by now, considering they’ve been on TV a few times now, (related to our Catholic faith) as well as the newspaper, for different things. All times with full names.  On the flip side, I have found myself continuing to use their initials in brackets sometimes, for the sake of brevity.  As you can see, my posts tend to be perhaps a little lengthy, so I need to use all the brevity tricks I can.  : )   The kids are all well aware, lots of people know who we are by name, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true. (Especially around our town, and the people we meet and run into in person.)

Shane Jacob (9), the last born of the trio.

(Reaching for ‘brevity’ now………..).  Shoot. I forgot what I was going to say. Ummmm. Oh yeah.  You see that beautiful little school desk in the background?  That is Michael’s, from when he was a little boy!!  What a treasure, huh?  That sweet and sentimental little antique is going to be another blog post coming up, that I am planning, as well. There’s some story to tell, and some specific things that are part of the desk, that you will not believe!!  Michael’s antique school desk, is not the only one we have to show you, either. So if you’re interested, be on the look out for that post too!


I am glad I thought of doing a quick ‘class picture’ of sorts, while we were at it.  I sure love my class!!

Honestly, I’ve struggled a little with this Home Schooling section of the blog, right along. It’s a lifestyle to us for sure,  but one that is just so normal to us, I think…”What is there to blog about?”.  But I know there is LOTS.  Lately, my realization of that has really broadened, and in the process, I have realized why I am not as active in this section. Which is crazy, because I so passionately love home schooling my kids, and living this life I do with my family, that it hardly makes sense.  But I see now where it comes from, and I think I’ll be sharing those thoughts very soon too.

So stay tuned!!  This home schooling section should be picking up steam, real soon!   You should know, we love comments and hearing from all of you! But if you are a home schooling blogger as well, we especially encourage comments with your blog-linked names, so that we can visit your stories and shared, comment, and connect with you all as well. Our hope and goal is that we are all an inspiration and encouragement for each other, in raising and educating our children, as home schoolers or not. Home schooling happens to be the route we have happily taken, with a deep love and passion for it. So our posts will derive from that life we live, as a home schooling family.  But proving a great education, however any of us do, is the more common thread.  So thanks so much for stopping by, and please DO again!  God bless you all!

Gosh, I promise I’ll work harder on that brevity thing, too.