As you begin learning with your Kindergarten and First Grade child, using games in your homeschool can make a big difference. I have seen so many awesome benefits during the kindergarten and first-grade years with my daughter. Games teach important skills like sharing, taking turns, and how to be a good sport. (Plus if you add a book you have a lazy unit study!)
Have you tried gameschooling in your homeschool? Gameschooling uses board games and card games to teach kids. There are tons of fun things you can learn from card games, trivia games, cooperative games, and more. Today, I’m sharing my favorite games for kindergarten and first grade to encourage reading, math, logic, and more.
Why Games Work So Well In Homeschooling Kindergarten and First Grade
Have you tried play-based learning with your kindergartners or first graders? It’s all about learning through play. Parents facilitate learning by providing games and activities. Then, let kids decide what to play and for how long.
The benefits of play-based learning and gameschooling are huge! Check out the skills you can expect your kids to develop from this approach in kindergarten and first grade:
- Literacy and language skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Build focus and concentration
- Build confidence and self-esteem
- Fine Motor Skills
- Gross Motor Skills
Strewing has become an especially important part of play-based learning in our homeschool. How do I do it? I set up learning opportunities throughout our home for my daughter to discover and interact with independently throughout the day. Choosing which games to strew and which play-based activities to use can sometimes be tricky.
I use grade level skills checklists for kindergarten and first-grade skills to determine what kinds of activities and games will work best for us. These checklists help me stay on track when it comes to making sure we are getting in all the things I want us to learn throughout the year while still practicing interest-led and play-based learning.
Educational Games Perfect for Kindergarten and First Grade
We love games! Family game night, games my daughter can play independently, trivia games, and so many more are big favorites at the Waldock house. Every year I put together a list of our favorite games. We discover new favorites and resurrect old favorites too.
Along the way we are all learning a lot as we play. Want to see some of our favorite games for kindergarten and first grade? These games will help you get started building important early learning skills, establishing a play-based learning style for your homeschool, and be lots of fun for your family too.
- Pop for Sight Words
- Zingo! Sight Words
- Happy Hats
- Cheese Dip
- Silly Sentences
- Tall Tales
- My First Bananagrams
- Pop for Addition and Subtraction
- Sum Swamp
- Clumsy Thief Junior
- Dino Math Tracks
- Tiny Polka Dot
- Even Stevens Odd
- Race to Planet X
- Sums in Space
- Ocean Raiders
- Cloud Hoppers
Logic & Strategy Building Games
- Race to the Treasure
- Sleeping Queens
- Lion In My Way
- Ticket to Ride First Journey
- Moose in the House
- Spot It!
My Top 5 Favorite Games For Homeschooling Kindergarten and First Grade
I just shared a huge list of games for kindergarten and first grade. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. These are games we have collected over time and it’s a big list. Starting out with play-based learning and gameschooling, choose just a few awesome games to start with that you think your kids will enjoy.
To help you get started, here are my top 5 favorite games for homeschooling during kindergarten and first grade. These are the must-have games for play-based learning in the early years:
These 5 games offer variations to keep the game new and exciting. There are multiple ways to use these games in your homeschooling adventures throughout kindergarten, first grade, and beyond. I just know your family will love them as much as mine does.
A Bonus Must Have Game For Your Kindergartner And First Grader
And if you can stretch your budget a bit. My daughter highly recommends having Spot It! In your collection too. It is probably one of her favorite and most played games to date. It is small and easy to throw in your purse for those times when you need to entertain a kiddo.
The Value Of Adding Games To Your Homeschool
I want to leave you with a story to help encourage you to play more in your homeschool. During my daughter’s kindergarten year, she was struggling to learn and retain her math facts. Even the simpler ones like 1+1 just didn’t seem to stick. I was frustrated and overwhelmed. So, when my husband suggested we just take the holidays off I agreed.
We spent the next month enjoying time together as a family. We spent the holiday season reading books, playing games, and baking together. Something we would later call Christmas School. When we returned to school after the new year my daughter suddenly knew all of her math facts.
We had spent weeks playing Yahtzee because it is my husband’s favorite game. Simply rolling the dice and counting/adding them up had taught her more math facts in four weeks than the curriculum or I had in months.
That was the moment when I knew that gameschooling would be an integral part of our homeschool!
Looking For More Ideas For Each Grade Level?
A Note From Cait…
Jessica was kind enough to share her favorites with us today and I could not agree more with her choices!
If you are looking for more resources for planning by grade level in your homeschool, you have to check out her new, totally free, skills checklists by grade level.
You can find more from Jessica, including more tips and encouragement specific to homeschooling an only on her site, The Waldock Way.
Jessica Waldock is a writer, photographer, and homeschool mom of one living in sunny Florida. She founded The Waldock Way as a way to give back to the homeschool community that she loves so much. At The Waldock Way Jessica shares tips, tricks, inspiration, and unique resources that help ignite a love of learning in children that will last a lifetime. She inspires families to engage in homeschooling as a lifestyle where relationships come first and interest-led learning prevails. Jessica also has a fabulous collection of unit studies on her website and shares generously on her YouTube channel.