Are you homeschooling on the road? Maybe you want to road school with games. Gameschooling is our main focus at Adam & Michelle Gameschool but we also go by homeschoolers, non-accredited private educators, and now roadschoolers.
We have been living in our tiny travel trailer since mid May and are loving it. When we built it out we knew we wanted to keep a healthy game collection within. If you know us, you won't be surprised to hear that we built shelving specifically for games. The collection looks quite a bit different now with smaller box games as the focus.
I wanted to keep games a part of our children's educational experience. If you want to know more about why you should use games for learning, check out this post. The key is keeping the box small and the learning potential big.
A deck of cards is the one game you should bring if you are only willing or have space for one. Card games come in a wide variety of types and skill levels. They are great math practice both in play and in scoring. Be creative and change things up to teach what your kids need to learn. For instance, last night we played Liverpool with the kiddo. It is a family favorite and a rummy style game. The kiddo needed to practice adding decimals, so Adam came up with the idea to roll a 4 sided dice (d4) when we score and that is how many places we had to move the decimal point. It gave the game some real excitement and the scores looked crazy at the end.
Ecosystem is a card-drafting game in which players choose cards and place them into their play area turn by turn. The cards in a player's grid make up their own personal ecosystem, and at game's end, a player will have twenty cards in their ecosystem, with the game including eleven types of cards. Bears score by being placed next to bees and trout; trout score by being placed next to streams and dragonflies; and streams are compared at the end of the game, with the player who has the largest stream earning points. These are just a few examples of how scoring works in Ecosystem. Don't forget to diversify!
You can find my review of the game in this post. The box is small and plays differently each time since very few of the cards are used each game. It is a great addition to science and nature studies. You can find lots of ways to connect all these games to your studies with our gameschool tool kit in this post.
I fell in love with this series of nature themed memory games this spring. They are highly educational and have beautiful artwork. The fact that the matches are not identical cards gives the games a different feel as well. The boxes are small, quality is high, and you can pick the theme that best suits what you are studying. You can learn more about them in this post.
Similo is a co-operative deduction game. Your goal is to make the other players guess one secret character (out of the twelve characters on display in the middle of the table) by playing other character cards from your hand as clues, stating whether they are similar to or different from the secret character. After each turn, the other players must remove one or more characters from the table until only the right one remains and you win — or it is removed and you lose!
Our favorite edition of Similo is History. This game is the size of a deck of cards and has a very different feel in game play from the others on this list. It has sparked many conversations and studies.
Bananagrams is a fast and fun word game that requires no pencil, paper or board, and the tiles come in a fabric banana-shaped carrying pouch. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes.
It is similar to Scrabble but everyone is playing at the same time and on their own crossword. It is more forgiving by far and words can even be rearranged at any time. We use the tiles for spelling practice too. We have My First Bananagrams too and it is a great activity for little learners with many play options and learning activities inside.
You have 10 Days in the USA. Travel the country by jet, car, and on foot. Plan your trip from start to finish using destination and transportation tiles. With a little luck and clever planning, you just might outwit your fellow travelers.
Hear me out! I know this comes in the same size box as Trouble. It is the biggest game on the list. We do not keep it in the box. It is a foldable map, a small deck of micro cards, and the card holders. Since we are traveling the USA it was really important to me that the kids learn where the states are. The game plays in about 10 minutes and out of the box it doesn't take up much space. Give it a chance if you have the space.
Timeline is a card game where each card depicts a historical event, invention or discovery on both sides, with the year in which that event occurred, invention or discovery was made on only one side. Players take turns placing a card from their hand in a row on the table. After placing the card, the player reveals the date on it. If the card was placed correctly with the date in chronological order with all other cards on the table, the card stays in place; otherwise the card is removed from play and the player takes another card from the deck.
The Timeline games come in varying themes and tiny tins. The cards are micro cards, so untinned they would be far smaller than a deck of playing cards. Our most recent copy was about Quebec History. You can choose the theme that best suits your studies or go with the classic and get a wide range of subjects.
Möbi - The Numerical Tile Game in a Whale Pouch! Mobi is a fun, fast-paced tile game that helps kids (and grown-ups) learn and apply basic math skills. Play numbered tiles and symbols to create simple equations. Use all of your numbered tiles first, and you win!
Think Bananagrams with numbers. It covers addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It is a small tile game and can be versatile since you can use the tiles for other activities as well.
In Virtual Reef Diver, experience the beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef while learning about the dangers this national treasure currently faces, and the solutions data scientists are providing for its defence. Work as a team of citizen scientists on a quest to classify the corals, identify the organisms, and help protect the seventh wonder of the natural world.
This game is about the size of a deck of cards. It pairs well with a tablet or phone since the cards are QR code linked to additional information. If you are studying reefs or environmental issues, this is a must have. You can read more about it in my review here.
Spot it!, a.k.a. Dobble, is a simple pattern recognition game in which players try to find an image shown on two cards. Rules for different games – each an observation game with a speed element – are included with Spot it!, with the first player to find a match either gaining or getting rid of a card. Multiple versions of Spot it! have been published, with images in each version ranging from Halloween to hockey to baseball to San Francisco.
You can find a version of Spot It! for almost any topic. If you want to aim for learning, they have copies about numbers, alphabet, and foreign languages. We have had the original and French copies in the past. Right now we are just having fun with the camping edition.