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If you’re looking to add some learning fun to your homeschool, here some of the best board games for second grade.
Learning with board games is so much fun! Kids don’t even realize they’re learning as they enthusiastically play game after game. And while they play, they’re practicing:
- Math Skills
- Language and Communication
- Following the Rules
- Being a Good Winner (or Loser)
Additionally, board games can target specific skills that students are learning. But, instead of asking students to solve problem after problem in a boring worksheet, games make it enjoyable to practice. Most kids want to win, so they eagerly practice the skills to help them get better at the game.
Like my post on the best games for fourth graders, these games hit on a variety of skills that are typically taught and practiced in second grade.
Are you ready to integrate more game based learning for your second grader? Give these games a try:
1. Fun Family Chess
I know – Chess typically isn’t a game that you associate with younger kids. But, brain blox created an amazing Chess set for kids that helps them learn to play. My second grader LOVES using the Fun Family Chess set. (You can expect a review on this game coming soon!)
Fun Family Chess lets her:
- Look for mathematical patterns
- Understand that different pieces have different rules
- Learn basic strategy
- Practice her reading skills (as she reads the directions for each piece)
- Improve memory
And more! It’s a low-key way to introduce kids to Chess!
Did you know there’s a card version of the popular game Sorry? My kids really enjoy playing this one.
In it, you try to get all four of your pawn cards flipped to home. But, you can only do this when the play pile gets to 21. If the pile goes over, you’re bust and everyone else flips a card. It plays fairly quickly (about 15-20 minutes for a game) and is compact enough we can take it on the road.
I love that it helps my second grader practice:
- Adding to 21
- Reading (to read the directions on action cards)
- Strategy (knowing when to play each card and how to avoid going over 21)
3. Tell Tale
These Disney inspired photo cards are the perfect way to help kids practice their storytelling. While there are several “official” ways to play, here’s what we do.
I have everyone randomly select ten cards. Then, they have a couple of minutes to figure out how to use them all in a story. When the time is up, each player has a chance to tell their story.
After everyone has gone, we switch up the cards and play again. Typically everyone has one or two cards they *really* want at this point.
This game helps second graders with:
- Creative writing
- Understanding plot points
- Using familiar characters in new stories
- Identifying the setting of a story
- Creating a conclusion
- Taking turns
- Listening skills
- Building literary connections
There are other versions besides Disney Princess – that’s just one of the ones we have (and my second grade daughter’s favorite!)
No matter which set you get, here are some other random ways to use these cards:
- Hold up a card – the first person to identify the movie its from gets to keep it. Person with the most at the end wins.
- Hold up a card – the first person to sing a song from that movie gets to keep it. The person with the most cards at the end wins.
- Shuffle the cards and set them in one large pile. The first person flips over a card and tells one line of a story. The next person flips a card and adds the next line.
- Hold up a card to one player. That person says the first word that comes to mind. The next person says the word that words makes them think of. Continue around the table until everyone has had a turn to share their associations.
4. Don’t Say It!
A fun “don’t say” game, the object is to get your teammates to think of a word. But, you can’t say certain words that would easily give it away. Instead, you have to creatively use your vocabulary to think of words that aren’t forbidden to describe the card.
While many similar games are too hard for most second graders, this one is the perfect level. It’s designed for multi-age use (there are three levels of play!) and the words are mostly easy to read.
The card holder is ingenious. It allows players to easily switch between levels. For easy play, only two words are forbidden for each card. In the medium level, you can’t say three words, and in the hard level you can’t say four. This rule keeps the game accessible for younger readers.
Here’s my second grader with a card set on the “easy” setting. The word is suitcase, and she can’t say “bag” or “pack.”
Older players would set the card to the hard setting like this. Players on this setting couldn’t say:
If one of the forbidden words is said during game play, a member of the opposite team buzzes the buzzer. You can guess what a favorite job in my family is! 😀
This game lets kids practice their:
- Reading skills
- Creative thinking
- Listening (both to get the clues from teammates and to ensure the other team doesn’t say a forbidden word)
- Adding (to keep score)
Cranium games are always a blast! They definitely have students practice their creativity! I wrote an entire post on how to encourage learning with Cadoo. But, those activities don’t follow the rules of the game.
Second graders are the perfect age to start playing this game “for reals.”
There are solo cards that players do on their own. And there are combo cards where other players guess what you’re doing. Your goal is to get four tokens in a row (any direction).
After drawing a card, you read it aloud. Then you do what you are asked to do. If you do it in the allotted time, you get to place a token on the board. Because of the variety, this is definitely one of my favorite board games for second graders!
Cards ask players to:
- Act out words
- Sculpt a word from clay
- Draw a word
- Answer a question correctly
- Find objects around the house
- Look closely at images to answer questions
- Solve puzzles
While they’re playing, students are practicing:
- Subject specific skills (ie there are science and art related questions)
- Following directions
- Using tools (3D glasses!)
- Strategy (where to place the tokens to ensure victory!)
It’s definitely a favorite!
6. Doodle Dice
Doodle Dice is a super simple game, but it requires some definite mathematical skills. Especially in the spatial sense department.
On your turn, you roll six dice. You can save any of them that you want. Then you roll the others. You can roll three times on your turn.
Your goal is to use the shapes on the dice to create a doodle. There are six shapes – a face, a dot, a slash, an arch, a squiggly line, and a straight line. When you combine those, you can create all sorts of things, like:
- An elephant
- A volcano
- A mooose
While playing, students practice:
- Spatial sense
- Seeing the parts in a whole
- Comparing shapes
- Flipping shapes
- Critical thinking (Which dice should I keep?)
To win, you must get one card of each color. So, there’s definitely some strategy involved. But, it’s not too much for most second graders!
7. Wits & Wagers Family Edition
I first heard about the Wits & Wagers game while listening to Dave Ramsey a couple years ago. It’s been one of our favorites ever since. The Family Edition is the one I recommend for second graders. It doesn’t have the same level of competitiveness as the regular version, and the topics are all very family friendly.
Here’s how we play:
One person is the reader. This person’s job is to read the cards. Everyone else gets to guess.
The reader reads a card. It will always be a question. like:
- On average, how many aunts and termites does a giant anteater swallow each day?
- In the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar how many days does the caterpillar spend eating?
- How many hours per day does a lion sleep?
The other players all use their dry erase answer board to write a number. They write the number they think is the right answer to the question.
The answers are spread out in numerical order. Now, everyone votes with their Meeples (little shaped tokens). They place their Meeples on the answer(s) they think are correct.
Then the correct answer is read. Players get points for guessing correctly, writing the closest answer, and correctly writing an answer that matches the official one.
The first player to earn 15 points is the winner.
This game is quick to play, and really reinforces numeracy. Students practice:
- Ordering numbers from smallest to largest
- Using logic to throw out outrageous answers
- Using subject specific knowledge to answer questions
And in case you’re wondering…here are the answers to the three questions above:
- On average, how many aunts and termites does a giant anteater swallow each day? (35,000)
- In the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar how many days does the caterpillar spend eating? (7 days)
- How many hours per day does a lion sleep? (20 hours)
Will a second grader be familiar with all the subjects covered in this game?
But since all they need to do is write a number and guess, it’s very accessible. They can get points for guessing correctly and having people vote for theirs, so it usually ends up being a pretty close game. Which makes it a enjoyable for players of all ages.
7 of the Best Board Games for Second Graders
There you have it – seven of the board games we frequently use in our homeschool for second grade. Do you have any favorites you’d add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
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