We love a good family game night in our house! Board games and card games are wonderful ways to spend time as a family, but we of course love to incorporate Montessori aligned board games whenever possible.
What makes a game Montessori?
Just as we go over in many of our Montessori toy posts, Montessori board games are those that use realistic images and ideally encourage a child toward autonomy. Many of these games are cooperative games, shifting the focus from competition to working together as a family. That said, we’ve also included a few competitive games, as those offer a great opportunity to practice grace and courtesy.
Cooperative Montessori Games
I really enjoy these games as they (almost) never end in tears or frustration. Occasionally the board wins, but that then presents an opportunity to try again as a family and work together even more. As your children get a little older, you’ll find they’ll even choose to play these games without the adults around - having fun bonding and playing together independently!
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links below.
This is a great game for preschoolers. It allows players to develop social skills, such as taking turns and following directions, while reinforcing color recognition, quantities, and counting by ones.
Count Your Chickens
The baby chicks have flown the coop & Mama Hen needs help to bring them back! Spin and count numbers to travel and collect chicks while working together. Gather all the chicks & everyone wins!
Everyone knows squirrels like to store up extra food for the winter! And in this game, you’ll work together to help the squirrels make yummy soups by following recipe cards. This is a great one to play with toddlers.
Smoosh and Seek Treehouse
I love the sensory play included in this one! Kids practice memory, strategy and fine-motor skills as they work together to find woodland friends. The added kinesthetic fun of squishing each smoosher into dough to see who is under it is especially engaging for younger kids!
Speaking of kinesthetic learning, this one is sure to be a favorite! It’s a simple non-competitive game where you flip over cards and do the silly task on each card - from hugs to high fives to simple gross motor skills like balancing, hopping and marching. It’s a great game to work on gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, imitation, vocabulary and social-emotional skills.
Dinosaur Escape Game
If you have little ones who love dinosaurs, this Montessori-aligned board game is a must-have! Kids work together to rescue the dinosaurs before the volcano blows. It’s a great game to cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, and creative problem solving.
Friends and Neighbors
This is such a great game to encourage kids to consider others and learn about ways to be a helper. In playing the game and reading about the feelings and needs of the characters, parents can help their children recognize feelings in others - the first step to building empathy.
Competitive Montessori Games
There are many valuable lessons to be learned from competitive games - concentration, patience, taking turns, and critical thinking are all integral parts of growing up. Beyond that, there’s something to be said for learning to take a loss and to winning graciously.
Some of our favorite competitive Montessori-aligned board games include -
I really love this game because it truly works for a variety of ages and abilities. It’s a great language tool and helps with fine motor skills, as they use a pincer grasp to push pieces in when no one has the item called. It’s great for helping to learn numbers, grouping objects, addition using pictures, and number words.
This is great for those who are looking to learn and reinforce Spanish vocabulary! It does a great job utilizing auditory and visual learning styles, and is really fun for the whole family. It pairs well with our recommendations on Montessori bilingual books.
This game is super simple to learn, yet super fun to play! It works for all ages, so the entire family can enjoy. Pieces are placed like dominoes and scored by how many pieces in a row you create - six pieces of either the same shape or same color and you’ve got a Qwirkle!
Q-bitz Jr. is a fun challenge for younger kids to practice spatial reasoning, visual dexterity, pattern identification, and hand eye coordination. Given a set of 16 cubes, players use critical thinking to recreate the patterns on the game cards. It’s fun for the whole family!
Guess in 10
This card game is perfect anytime, anywhere! Players ask up to 10 questions to see if they can figure out what animal is on the game card. Whether you’re playing 1-on-1 or in teams, this game builds key skills such as communication, decision making, problem solving, and critical thinking.
Memory Match Summer Camp
A classic matching game, summer camp edition! The game features vibrant, colorful and artist-commissioned artwork, highlighted by polished double-sided gloss printing. High-quality and long-lasting build, with designs that will make your kids insist on more game time!
This one is a classic for a reason! Younger children can team up with their older counterparts and practice their pincer grasp, while more advanced players can practice strategy and turn taking.
My Feelings is a great board game to help children learn about emotions and how to manage them in socially appropriate ways. As they play, children will discover how to recognize feelings in themselves and others. A super fun game that also helps develop valuable life skills!
Montessori Language Games
This game is similar to classic Boggle, but built for kids. It teaches letter sounds, patterns, and positioning. It’s especially great for those looking to start teaching phonics!
This bingo game is a great teaching tool for fun learning! With it, kids can learn and practice letter recognition, develop letter and object association, and improve concentration skills. I also love that it provides an opportunity to break away from traditional bingo play as you can also use the game to do Letter Sound Bingo, Cooperative Bingo, and Picture Bingo.
Kids will have fun playing the great game of SEQUENCE while learning the letters of the alphabet! Players sound out the letter on their cards, match it to the beginning sound of a picture on the game board, and then place a chip there. Each card features a letter of the alphabet in upper and lower case. Colored squares on the cards and game board help with faster recognition. When you have 4 of your chips in a row, you’ve got a Sequence!
Montessori Math Games
The Ladybug Game
This game is based on luck, not strategy, so anyone can win! It introduces children to basic math concepts with both addition and subtraction. Plus it also offers up some cool facts about bugs!
Math Dice, Jr.
The goal of this game is to use addition and subtraction to sum up the numbers on the 5 colored dice to get to a target number. The trick? You have to be quick! Only the first person to yell “math dice!” gets to move their game piece forward. I would recommend this one for ages 6+, but it’s a fun one for younger kids to watch and learn!
This is a super fun way to practice math! From addition and subtraction to fractions, Base 10, and more, this board game introduces kids to the fundamentals of early math success.
With so many options to choose from, family game night is sure to become a regular routine (if it’s not already!) I’d love to know in the comments below - what’s your favorite game to play with your kids?