If you’ve been following this site for any length of time, you already know that I am an advocate of play-based learning. I was a fan of play-based learning before I was a homeschooler. Over the past three years of homeschooling, I’ve witnessed amazing growth and learning occur during play. We play games daily in our homeschool; games are both fun and educational. I frequently share our family’s favorite games both here, on the site, and over on Instagram. Recently, I’ve received several requests to write a post with our favorite science games and this post in my answer. I hope you enjoy it. When you are finished reading, I’d love for you to share your family’s favorite science games. (If you are a gameschooler, be sure to check out our free 31-day Gameschool Challenge to add more play to your day!)
10+ Science Games for Your Homeschool
Balance Beans is a new logic and reasoning game from the fine folks at ThinkFun. In this one-player game for ages 5 and up, young children will dabble in early algebra and physics as they attempt to balance their beans!
This handy little game is from the makers of Timeline. Similar to Timeline, the goal of Cardline Animals is to arrange cards in the proper order. You can choose to play the game based on one of three categories: lifespan, size, or weight. These options keep the game fresh. We often play this game during meals and have even taken it on vacation- it’s so portable!
Just as in Laser Maze and Gravity Maze, Circuit Maze is a one-player logic game designed for ages 8 and up. The game is played on a grid and includes 60 challenge cards of increasing difficulty. Challenges are outlined on one side and the reverse side has the answers. The goal is to place tokens on the grid, according to challenge card criteria and create a working circuit. When you complete the challenge correctly, the tokens light up.
This is a challenging one-player logic game that incorporates a marble run. The player must construct a marble run that meets the criteria on each challenge card. Challenge cards increase in complexity, providing endless fun. If you love this game, be sure to check out these one-player games that kids love.
My kids love this one and I have to admit that I learn something every single time we play. In this game, players travel along a spiral rock path through the earth’s various habitats. As they journey, they acquire habitat cards and answer knowledge questions. Children will learn about habitats, environmental concerns, and animals. The player with the most habitat cards at the end of the game is the winner.
After playing this game for years at our local nature center, we finally decided to invest in our own copy. It can be played in several ways, but we enjoy playing it like the old “war” card game. The best part? Children quickly learn about the forest, food chain, and life cycle!
In this one-player game, players must use logic and planning abilities, in combination with lights and mirrors, to get the laser from point A to point B, according to each challenge card. Like Gravity Maze, cards increase in difficulty so your family won’t outgrow this game anytime soon! If you love Laser Maze, be sure to check out our favorite educational ThinkFun games.
My entire family can play Robot Turtles, and even the youngest kids are learning computer programming concepts, but Leo and T have graduated to Code Master, too. Both games offer coding fun, but in two different ways. With Robot Turtles, you get to act goofy and make kooky Turtle sound-effects, resulting in belly laughter and fun. Code Master offers a similar challenge for an older audience. Robot Turtles is like the goofy little sibling and Code Master the cool older sibling! If your kids love coding, be sure to check out these resources.
My little guys love this game. And the best part is that it is more than a game: it’s a rock collection, too! This little kit includes a rock guide, playing cards, and tons of fun facts. Learn about geology, play bingo, and study gemstones in this hands-on, fun-filled game.
This game is new to us, and we’ve been enjoying it. It’s actually two games in one, depending on which side of the board you use. If your children love Magic School Bus, they are sure to love this game. Best part according to my kids? Exploding the volcano!
This is one of those rare games that you can learn in minutes and yet it teaches higher-level concepts to young children in a way that they can grasp. My oldest is obsessed with it at the moment, but my other two love it as well. If you can add to zero, you can play- it’s that simple. And yet, your children will learn to make molecules, and begin to understand acids, bases, and chemical reactions. This game was created by two chemical engineers and a NY Times cartoonist- so it is educational and beautiful!
This is actually a math game with a space twist and my youngest loves it! Sums in Space can be played competitively or cooperatively. Your children will work on addition and subtraction from zero to nine and also the concept of greater than, less than, equal to, and how to identify odd and even numbers.
This game is hilarious! Your children will belly laugh as they learn about biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, zoology, and physics. They will delight in playing with slime, answering goofy questions, and acting out “Gross Out” challenges.
This is the latest nature game addition to our homeschool and the kids adore it! I do, too. This cooperative game teaches children about herbs and medicinal plants through play and stories. Together, you’ll work to hike from granny’s house to a mountain top where there is a huckleberry patch. Along the way, you’ll encounter obstacles: insects, injuries, and allergies. Learn which plants can help each situation and have fun in the process!
Of all the games listed above, Xtronaut is the most recent addition. We recently received it as a gift for the littlest guy’s 5th birthday. He is a space lover (see Sums in Space above) and this is a perfect fit for our family. Created by a leader of NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex Mission, Xtronaut teaches children about building a space craft, various missions, the solar system, challenges to space missions, physics, and space exploration. This game involves strategy and trading (our family is working on the latter!) and promises to provide hours of education!
More science and STEM games for gameschooling
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Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: What is your family’s favorite science game or activity? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram