Our family loves to play games with interesting strategies. When my kids were younger, I was always looking for games that we could all enjoy together - even the adults (Because, honestly, how much fun is Battleship?). Here are three of our favorites. They came into our lives when my kids were in elementary school and we are still playing them today! All would make excellent editions to any classroom.
Everyone plays at once during SET. Players must find sets of three cards using the attributes on each card. The game is quite challenging, yet kids as young as six can learn it. My daughter was beating me regularly by the time she was eight. It is great to have the game but you can also play a daily puzzle on the SET website . There is also a great tutorial as well as lots of mathematical background on why SET is great for your brain. SET has won many awards and has been one of our favorites for years.
Hey! That's my Fish!
Just looking at the box, you'd think Hey! That's my Fish! was just some silly kid's game. Lucky for us, the nice man at the game store took the time to show us how to play. It is full of strategies and interesting possibilities. In this game, you control a small colony of penguins trying to round up more fish than your opponents. The tricky part is that as you move your penguins, you make parts of the board disappear, possibly trapping yourself or (hopefully) your opponents. We liked this game so much we glued tiny washers to each piece so that we could use magnets to pick them up so our fingers wouldn't mess up the board - makes the game easier to play and a little more fun too!
Personally, I find Blokus to be quite visually appealing. Something about fitting those transparent plastic shapes into just the right spot. The game is great for improving spatial skills, but it is also an excellent strategy game. Playing with four works best on this board (though there are ways to play with less). The rules suggest having each player use two colors when playing with two players, but we found that confusing. Instead, we used a permanent marker to draw a line around a 14x14 square in the center of the board, just the right size for two. Or you could buy the edition just for two players. One thing to be aware of, you can't lose any pieces! So be sure to be careful with this game!