Board games for kids are all about having fun. Science is all about school duty – often boring, tedious, and quite demanding.
Board games based on science? Well, that’s something intriguing. Let’s look at them closely.
We used to separate a learning process from having fun, but science board games are here to change it. Forget about science being old dusty books and school programs. Board games provide a new exciting way to learn more about how the world works. And, well, explore it like never before.
The science on the dining table on Saturday night? We bet from now on everyone in the family will love it.
What Exactly Makes a Good Science Board Game?
Edutainment. Science board games are not here to bombard you with the facts, numbers, and tough-to-read articles. The best board games work elegantly – they provide you with information through the gameplay, mechanics, and rulebooks. They won’t make you stop the game to google some terms (well, okay, maybe one or two times).
A good science game provokes questions, encourages you to try various scenarios and decisions. It allows players to make predictions, keep the balance between risky and steady strategies, lose or win, and understand why. It asks you to test the real world’s rules instead of just learning them.
The List of 5 Best Science Board Games
What in the Wild
What in the Wild, made by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, has five different games just in one box.
The game consists of 120 cards of plants and animal species, combined with “survival” cards of food, water, shelter, and space. The game is mostly about cooperation and side-by-side competition for a better place to live, instead of direct conflicts.
The game setup could be played in 5 versions:
- Match it! – a memory game, easy-to-start-with, where players can explore different species and habitat elements. It’s also a game to play with the youngest in the family.
- Connect it! – this game requires team efforts, as it is needed to build a strong ecosystem under time pressure.
- Slap it! – it is a fast race, where you need to put as many species as possible into your environment.
- Group it! – in this game, you aimed to collect the set quickly.
- Build it! – here, collaboration with other players helps to create a nice habitat for the species.
The game is perfect for learning more about the ecosystems and hidden links between different species in nature and is a perfect choice for a household. Its various gameplays could be interesting for everyone in the family, from preschoolers to adults. The rules, setups, strategies, and tricky challenges are developing as the children get older.
Studying Earth feels too boring? Then why not to handle the whole new planet instead?
If you are ready for such a challenge, this game is for you.
Made for 1-5 players aged 12+, the game challenges you to transform the cold, red, inhospitable planet Mars into a lovely new human’s kingdom. Each person plays for a 24th-century corporation, willing to change the planet and fill it with plants, oceans, modern cities, and breathable air. The tiles on the board and the cards could synergize in many different and rewarding ways. But still, earning points is not the main goal here. The mission to give a new lovely home for humanity to live in always seems way more important.
Player uses innovative technologies to raise the temperature, add oxygen into the atmosphere, create oceans. The choices made, the mistakes or successes found are all marking the unique way of changing the world. The game may seem to be non-realistic, but it is built on a strong science base and definitely makes you think more about how the whole system works on our planet.
It is almost impossible to talk about science games and not mention the one about evolution.
Designed for 2-6 players (age 12+), this award-winning game is all about surviving. The challenging and not that hospitable world is going to destroy everyone who doesn’t fit in it. Adjust or extinct – that is the motto of Mother Nature.
The card deck consists of 129 cards, each providing a unique trait. Hard Shell or sharp Horn will perfectly work for protection, while a Long Neck will provide you with the food no one else can get. Collecting and combining different traits, players could create over 12000 unique species, which makes the gameplay fun and gripping no matter how many times you play.
The quality and the strong science base behind both make the game so good that it was even used by the University of Oxford’s evolutionary department.
What looks like a fun card game, suitable for anyone from the age of 8, is serious from the scientific perspective. The game was made by the American Museum of Natural History. While been played, it provides participants with important health information.
The game allows players to explore the giant yet the hidden world of microbes inside, known as the gut microbiome. The aim is to build a healthy gut using the collection of cards of microbes and pathogens. The weapon – food, drinks, medicines, and the actions similar to how we treat our guts each day. The first player collected 6 different types of gut microbes wins. But others? Not a single loser, as each person learned more about one’s health.
It is an elegant, perfectly illustrated game, which lets you dive into the bird’s world diversity.
The game idea is simple yet catching. As a keen bird enthusiast, you maintain and develop your aviary by attracting new bird species and providing them whatever they need. 170 bird’s species each has its own card, which gives you deeply-researched information about its appearance, diet, fun facts, wingspans, and so on.
A personal board is divided into three sections – wetland, woodland, and grassland, where you can play the related species’ cards. The birds themselves have points, especially the rare ones, and additional points can be earned when birds are laying eggs or storing food on your land.
The game is perfect for all sorts of nature lovers, biologists, ecologists, or simply keen bird watchers and could be played alone or with up to 5 people.
Whatever type of science board games you’ll choose, they are all great at gathering the whole family together. Not only providing fun, they also are good at illustrating a critical idea – exploring the world around is not a duty but an exciting journey for everyone. Science board games just showing it’s another dimension.