Review | Back to School
Teacher's Aides Games - Games for the Classroom
Finishing up our Back to School board game coverage, we now turn our attention to those most in need during the back to school season… teachers!
We know that school prep isn’t all pencils and syllabuses. As you look forward into the year and begin stocking up your classroom, we’d like to highlight some of our favorite educational games!
Each of the games we’ve listed require low involvement from you the teacher and can be played between 20 minutes and an hour, easily filling in any extra class time! And these games are just a starting point - come in and talk to us, and we'll help you set up your classroom in style, all within your school's budget!
Once Upon a Time
Cultivate the imagination of your students with Once Upon a Time! One player acts as the storyteller, guiding up to five others through a story they are crafting using their story cards, trying to end on their Ending cards. The other players can interrupt with their own cards, becoming the storyteller. The winner is the first to use all of their cards and play their Ending Card.
Once Upon a Time features beautiful artwork and multiple expansions to keep the story going! Let students play it as is or use it as an example of cooperative storytelling - either way, your students will get a chance to explore their abilities to communicate and tell stories.
Challenge your students to expand their vocabulary! Unlike other word games, players can use letters even if they are not in their hand - they only get points, however, for the letters they do have. The longer the word and the more of their letters they use, the better they score! In this game, you aren’t limited by the letters you draw - your entire vocabulary is on the table!
Wordsy is wonderful because it encourages students to think outside the box. It can be played solo or with six players, so it’s a wonderful activity for groups or for that student who finishes tests early! Use it to round off vocab lessons or to brush up on SAT words - either way, your students will have a blast!
A quick, small history game, Timeline is a great way to help students to flex their history muscles! In Timeline, 2 to 6 players will place events and inventions in chronological order! Each card has the subject on one side and the date on the other, so players will have to use critical thinking to properly place their cards!
This game could easily be played solo, with a student challenging themselves to place cards in the same order. Or invite your students to make their own Timeline game for whichever portion of history you are studying!
Braintopia & Braintopia Beyond
If your brain is a muscle, Braintopia is a gym membership! Braintopia and it’s sequel Braintopia Beyond feature a plethora of puzzles and mental challenges! You’re never sure which you’ll pull - will it be a maze, a matching game, or a coordination challenge? Either way, the different challenges keep the game fun and dynamic!
Again, a game that can easily be converted into a solo format, Braintopia is a great game that doesn’t feel like schoolwork but keeps young minds sharp!
A word game with a monstrous twist. Make up words using the most valuable letters. The value of each letter is determined by the amount of angles on the letter. Once you’ve formed a word, roll a twenty-sided die and try to roll at least the same value as your word or else risk losing your sanity - not that our teacher friend’s would know anything about lost sanity.
Unspeakable Words not only exercises your student’s vocab skills, but touches on basic geometry while adding enough luck to make it a fair game for all!
Just for Fun Games
Games for rainy day recesses, holiday parties, free time activities, and end of exams celebrations!
The game of telephone pictionary, Telestrations has players alternating between drawing a prompt and guessing what the sketch is meant to be. Each turn alternates between players drawing the word they are handed or writing a word based on a drawing. Watch as the prompt “True Love” somehow morphs into “Piñata”.
A silly game more focused on silly outcomes than on points or victories, Telestrations is a perfect game to reward students for a semester well studied!
In the Mind, players need to play cards from their hand chronologically in coordination with the other players - the trick is, you don’t know what cards the other players have, and you can’t ask! Without communicating, players will need to lock eyes and form a mental link to play their cards in the correct order.
Especially great for teachers because it involves no verbal communication, so players will not distract other students still hard at work!
A small, fast-paced game that travels well, Spot It is simple and easy to play! The base game plays in less than five minutes, has a high replayability value, and is incredibly easy to learn. Students can challenge themselves with the other versions of the game included in the rules and play with as little as two people and as many as eight.
A great game to hand off to students to pass some time, Spot It is a staple for any classroom’s game collection!
Written by Johnni Medina