What are some of the best board games for first graders? You need games that can be learned quickly, that can be completed in a reasonable short time period, games that encourage learning and games that are fun. The time factor knocks out Risk and Monopoly, and Parcheesi isn’t really that educational. There are some board games that meet these qualifications.
Try Scrabble! It is quick and can be stopped at any time. It teaches basic spelling skills which every first grader needs. It lends itself to variable numbers of players, anywhere from two to ten can play, and by pairing students the whole class can get involved! It also gives the teacher a chance to teach by showing other words or asking if the child knows what the word means. There is also the teaching of basic math skills in adding up word values. Play can be stopped after any round. Scrabble is by far one of the best board games for any age ever devised!
Clue is another good board game for first grade. It involves learning place names, item names and deductive reasoning. The characters all have funny names such as Mr. White and Mrs. Peacock (and lets not talk about Miss Scarlet), the children can have great fun with those names. The game itself can be done in about 30 minutes, which fits just right into a break period between classes.
Then there is the old game “Mouse Trap”, where you build a mouse trap with all sorts of things. It is fun, teaches mechanical skills, and keeps the players entertained. If the game starts to get boring, students can always put the parts together and have fun anyway.
New board games include Pokemon and the Harry Potter. The Pokemon is simple, but not very educational and is teaching the students to catch little creatures and get them to fight each other really what first graders should be taught? The Harry Potter game was a bit better, but to complex for being learned in the time available.
The first grade class is usually only around 20 students, so you only need 2 or three games. Remember time is limited and you want the games to be both fun and educational. Forget the more advanced games such as Monopoly. Check out Scrabble, Clue, and Mouse Trap, but be careful not to get trapped playing them too much!