Boost Summer Learning with Board Games

The summer months can be filled with plenty of fun activities for families before the beginning of a new school year. But they can also be filled with plenty of long days with lots of downtime. Parents often find themselves struggling to come up with constructive and fun ways to past the time, and watching TV or playing video games for 8 hours is not an option.  And while most children today are use to "tech-tainment", board games are seeing a resurgence in popularity among parents who realize that children learn by doing hands on activities in conjunction with their practice of reading and math skills. Not to mention the problem solving, strategy and critical thinking skills that board games help to develop. And even before children enter school, board games can teach pre-schoolers valuable skills to prep them for formal school training.

Here are a few fun board games that also serve as great learning tool:


You may have fond memories of Candyland from your own childhood. This classic board game helps younger children learn to take turns, cause-and-effect and colors. Candyland uses colorful cards to determine what the next move will be. Children must only be able to recognize basic colors in order to play.

Chutes and Ladders

Remember Chutes and Ladders? It's another great game for teaching counting and how to take turns. Also the pictures are great tools to introduce discussions about positive and negative consequences of certain actions.

Memory Match Games

Matching games consists of a group cards that will either have printed pairs of pictures, words, numbers or color on them.  By turning over each card at time and remembering where the match is, your child will immediately learn to build their memorization skills. Memory match games will also help your child recognize differences in images or patterns, which is a valuable skill for work they'll do in their early school years.


For older children, Monopoly will help build skills in a number of areas.  They will learn addition by adding dice to see how many places they should advance. They will also learn how to count money and make change. They'll also be able to practice their reading with the cards and property names.

Checkers & Chess

Checkers and chess teach children about strategy and help build critical thinking skills. Their thinking will also be challenged as they work to anticipate future moves.

Sorry, Ludo, Trouble

To build more counting and adding skills, try games like Sorry, Ludo, and Trouble. Older kids will also learn to use strategy to determine what their next or best move will be.


Scrabble helps children learn new vocabulary words and improve their spelling. There's also a "Junior" version where children build sentences out of world tiles, as opposed to building words from letter tiles.

 The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas offers a variety of summer activities for the entire family to help make good use of the time before school starts. Visit our site or contact us to learn more about the summer fun you can find at the Metroplex location nearest you. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates!

Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas