Board Games for the Primary Classroom

5:00 AM

Growing up, we would always have a family game night and would spend the evening playing boards games together as a family. These are memories that I love looking back on playing Guess Who, buying hotels in Monopoly, yelling UNO, and hearing the buzzer on Operation! These board games taught me so many life skills such as sharing, taking turns, and how to be a good sport no matter if you win or lose. These games also taught me so many foundational education skills and social skills too that I did not even realize at the time. Unfortunately, many of our students do not experience these same opportunities at home now with all of the technology that they have available. Here are a few games that you can bring into your classroom to help teach these life skills along with some educational skills and have fun while playing!

1. Chutes and Ladders
 This is a classic, but fun game! Students will spin the spinner and move that number of spaces. They may also have the chance to climb up ladders and go down slides. Great way to also introduce students to bigger numbers. This game helps teach number recognition, counting, one to one correspondence, and a great introduction to counting on a number line!

2. Candy Land

This is another classic board game that I love to play with my students and it is great for Preschool and Kindergarten! Students will draw a card and look at the color then move to that space. This game is great for teaching visual discrimination, colors and matching skills.

3. Zingo

Who doesn't love playing Bingo! Well, this is just like Bingo but with a Zing! Students will grab a game card and use a counter to mark the pictures that are called and try to fill up the card. This is a great game to help with vocabulary skills, memory, and matching.

4. Count Your Chickens
 Ok, I can not say enough great things about this game. It is a must in Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms! This game takes away the feeling of competition and encourages students to work together and problem solve to help collect all of the chickens. This is a great counting game that teaches students how to cooperate with others.

5. Hi Ho Cherry-O
Here's another classic game that is a must have in your classroom for math centers! Students will spin the spinner and look at the number to see how many fruit they get to pick or get rid of. Such a fun game to teach number recognition and counting skills. It's also a great introduction to addition and subtraction skills.

6. The Ladybug Game
In this game, students will lead their ladybugs home to the rose garden while collecting aphids and avoiding praying mantis. Look at those science skills that we are teaching with this game! And did I mention that this game was invented by a 1st grader! Great game to help teach students counting forward and backwards, one to one correspondence, and how to count on a number line.

7. Snug as a Bug in a Rug
 This is another great game that teaches students how to work together and build team working skills. Students have to help the bugs get safe and snug before the stinkbug comes. This game reinforces skills such as colors, numbers, shapes, counting, and visual discrimination.

8. Hoot Owl Hoot
This is another great cooperative board game that teaches students to work together to finish the game. Students will even begin to learn how to strategize as they try to get all of the owls home before the sun comes up. This game helps reinforce colors!

9. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
 This game is a must to help students with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Students will spin the spinner, and then use the squirrel ‘tweezers’ to pick up the matching acorn and place it on the log. Great game to help reinforce skills such as counting and colors.

10. Friends and Neighbors

This is such an important game to play with your students. It helps teach students about feelings, emotions, and helping others. Great way to teach empathy! Such great life skills that everyone needs! Students will draw a token out of the helping bag and see how they can help others with the token they picked. Great way to help students recognize the needs and feelings of others.

These games help teach your students so many math and literacy skills along with social emotional skills. They would make a great addition to your classroom and are so important for children to play! 
What are your favorite board games to play in your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

by Julie Davis

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