10 Kid-Friendly Games that Encourage STEM Skills

10 Kid-Friendly Games that Encourage STEM Skills

By: Meghan CookComments: 0

November 8th is National STEM/STEAM Day, a holiday that celebrates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and their place in a well-rounded education. These four academic disciplines are crucial for empowering children and setting them up for future success.

Here are 10 kid-friendly board games that encourage STEM and STEAM skills, all available at Cape Fear Games!

1. Robot Turtles

2-5 Players | 15 Minutes | Ages 4+

Perfect for kids ages 4 through 8, Robot Turtles is a light board game that quietly teaches children the fundamentals of programming and coding. Each player picks a unique turtle and their matching deck of cards as a maze develops in front of them. Moving their turtles in the maze towards a jewel token, kids build a miniature program as they go, and if they make a mistake they can always say, "Undo!" to debug their progress. 


2. Sequence

2-12 Players | 10-30 Minutes | Ages 7+

In this board and card based game, players compete to create rows, columns, and diagonals of connected checker pieces on standard playing cards. Special conditions allow wilds and remove opponents' checkers. This family game is an ideal strategy game for teaching children pattern recognition, simple math skills, and how to think ahead.

3. Code: Robot Repair

Single Player | 5-15 Minutes | Ages 8+

Code: Robot Repair is a colorful, engaging logic game that teaches early programming skills. With 40 book-bound challenges to choose from, the player picks from a variety of malfunctioning robots to repair. By connecting their wires to power cells, players use logical deduction and clues to solve each puzzle. 

4. Planet

2-4 Players | 30-45 Minutes | Ages 8+

In this delightful tile-placement game, players start with a clean slate as they each receive a planet core. At the start of a new turn, players choose from an array of continent tiles (mountains, forests, deserts, icy terrain) and add them to their planet. As planets form, players welcome animals to their planet by matching their terrain to the conditions on each animal card. With an emphasis on pattern building, addition, and strategy, Planet is an approachable, deceptively smart game that's fun for kids as well as adults.  

5. Dog Crimes/Cat Crimes

Single Player | 5-15 Minutes | Ages 8+

In these single-player logic games kids solve "crimes" committed by furry friends (i.e. "Who ate the homework?" or "Who knocked over the flower pot?") by using critical reasoning and deduction to find the culprit responsible. The two games, themed for cats and dogs respectively, each come with 40 multi-level challenges that will have your little detective reaching for another case to solve time and again. 

6. Rush Hour

Single Player | 5-15 Minutes | Ages 8+

A classic logic game, Rush Hour comes with a small square board and different colored cars. The object? Navigate your red car through the surrounding traffic and escape through the exit. With 40 challenge cards, Rush Hour offers up hours of fun in varying degrees of difficulty, from beginner to expert. This sliding block game is perfect for teaching patience and encouraging players to look at puzzles from every angle. 

7. Code Master

Single Player | 5-15 Minutes | Ages 8+

Code Master helps kids develop critical thinking skills and learn programming logic while completing video game-esque challenges in an offline board game. With spiral-bound maps that resemble Minecraft levels, Code Master puts future programmers to the test with 60 unique challenges. Using action tokens, kids create programs for their avatar to collect crystals and land on selected portals, all while learning about processes like coding loops. For many kids, Code Master bridges the gap between video game controllers and programming concepts like conditional branching in easy, accessible ways. 

8. Subatomic: An Atom Building Game

2-4 Players | 40-60 Minutes | Ages 10+

A deck-building game that's fun for the whole family, Subatomic introduces chemistry concepts in a light but highly accurate way. Throughout the game, players compete to build a number of available elements from proton, neutron, and electron cards. At the end of the game players use basic math skills to tally up their points and declare a winner! 

9. Science Ninjas: Super Valence

2-4 Players | 15-25 Minutes | Ages 8+

Sure to get a positive reaction at game night, Science Ninjas: Super Valence Plus challenges players to use real chemistry to break down their opponents' molecules! This card drafting game with an exciting "take-that" mechanic and fuses both with molecule formation, basics of acids and bases, chemical reactions, and even advanced concepts like secondary oxidation states. You don't need a strong science background to play, either! As long as you can add and subtract to 0, you're prepared to begin constructing your team of science ninjas!

10. Underwater Cities

1-4 Players | 80-150 Minutes | Ages 12+

Underwater Cities tasks players with establishing an underwater society built by the best and brightest minds. On each turn, players use card placement, actions, and upgrades to take in resources and construct their underwater cities. A multi-player game that can also be played solo, this hand management game is an approachable way to teach children about economy, manufacturing, and engineering in a fun, futuristic setting. 



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