There is a growing emphasis on STEM programs in schools these days. And that’s a great thing! Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are all incredibly important subjects, and they’re the ticket to our future.
But a lot of STEM games and activities still rely on using a screen. And if you’re trying to incorporate educational activities while limiting screen time, that’s a dilemma. So set down the screen and exercise those brains in a fun, interactive way!
🏆 Our Top Picks for Best STEM Board Games
In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.
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Robot Turtles [Computer Programming]
Playing time: 15mins
Give your child a head start in the world of coding with Robot Turtles. Consider this game Intro to Fundamentals of Programming 101 for kids, which sneakily teaches them the building blocks of computer coding.
Each player starts with their turtle card in the corner and their prize jewel in the middle of the board. Turn by turn, players use their coding cards to move forward, rotate right, or rotate left in an attempt to reach their jewel. If they make a mistake, simply use the “bug” card to fix the issue.
Kids work like the programmer — creating the code — and parents listen to the instructions — like the computer — moving the turtle towards the prize using their best robot turtle sounds along the way.
When children master the initial level of coding, add in some obstacles and up the challenge. In this game, you’ll find endless learning opportunities and tons of robotic fun!
STEM Family Battle
Playing time: 30-60mins
Let’s get ready to rumble! Fire up those neurons and gather the family around the table to get stumped by this STEM trivia game. With over 800 questions, 2 difficulty levels, and questions created for multiple generations, it’s a balanced playing field for everyone.
Roll the die, move your pawn, and answer questions from science, technology, engineering, and math categories. If you get the answer correct, advance an additional space. Watch out for the traps and shortcuts placed on the video game-like game board.
Whether you play it on family game nights or bring it to school to use in the classroom as an educational tool, players will end the game having learned something new and truly fascinating.
For a truly hands-on activity, that’s completely different from the other games, give Gravitrax a try. It’s a marble run game where users will create and build tracks and let gravity, magnetism, and kinetic energy take over.
The game comes with 9 ready-to-use tracks and 24 challenges with increasing difficulty levels. Once you’ve mastered all these, create your own customized tracks for endless hours of fun! As players learn from trial and error, they will increase their confidence and problem-solving abilities.
For even more of a challenge, add the expansion tracks to your set. This game is a win-win. Kids will be excited to play it, and you’ll be thrilled they want to do something other than watch TV or play video games.
Playing time: 60-90mins
If you’re looking for a fun way to teach your kids or students about biology, Cytosis is a must-have. Dive into the human cell in this worker placement game, as players take turns moving their flasks to organelles to collect resources like DNA, mRNA, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Use these resources to build enzymes, hormones, and hormone receptors. Complete various goals to build your cell and collect the most health points.
The game serves as a functioning educational tool, yet is also complex and unique enough to entertain serious gamers.
The theme may be microscopic, but the fun is not!
Prime Climb [Math & Logic]
Playing time: 20-45mins
Developed by mathematicians, Prime Climb is an award-winning game that sharpens math skills in an intriguingly fun way.
Roll the 10-sided dice and add, subtract, multiply, and divide your way from zero to 101. Watch out for your opponents. They’ll be trying to bump you back to zero as you inch your way closer to victory.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the original version, check out one of the many different variations — like playing backward — for a new challenge.
The vibrant board also creates a less intimidating method for teaching multiplication and division to younger players. By combining the fundamental theorem of arithmetic and the game’s color scheme, players can more easily visualize the mental math needed to progress in the game.
This game will transform the way math is learned and can introduce challenging concepts in a simpler, fun, visual way.
The Genius Square
Playing time: 5-30mins
Unleash your inner genius.
The Genius Square is easy to learn and takes just minutes to play. It’s as simple as rolling the seven dice, placing the blockers into the matching coordinates, and rapidly filling the rest of the grid with the colorful polyomino pieces. There are countless ways to solve the puzzle, with over 60,000 possible solutions. Some rounds will be easy, while others will certainly rack your brain. Face off against another player, form teams, or even play in solo mode.
This brain teaser is small enough to travel with so you can take it on a road trip over summer break, or transport it between home and the classroom during the school year.
Gravity Maze [Logic & Engineering]
Playing time: self-paced
When you combine a maze, marbles, and gravity, you get Gravity Maze. It’s a game that will test your logic and problem-solving skills as you engineer your way through the activity.
Using the design shown on the challenge cards, players build towers that lead the marble from the top to its target endpoint. Experiment with the pieces by stacking them and laying them sideways until the path is just right and the goal is achieved.
With 60 challenges, all varying in difficulty, there’s a project for everyone. Once you’ve mastered all the given challenges, build your own maze and let those engineering skills shine through.
Teachers, parents, and kids will all love this game!
Playing time: 30-45mins
You’ve got the whole world in your hands.
In Planet, every player has the power to create. And every player will begin the game with their own 3D magnetic dodecagon, which will serve as their planet’s core.
In each round, players will strategically place forest, mountain, glacier, ocean, and desert tiles to create the perfect world with optimal ecosystems for wildlife to flourish on their planet. As you create a hospitable environment for animals, you will earn animal cards that bring diversity (and points) to your new planet.
This is a beautiful, puzzle-like game that combines science and nature with simplicity and fun.
Playing time: 15mins
Grab your lab coat and safety goggles for this one. You’ll be helping Dr. Eureka conduct his latest science experiments.
Start by choosing a challenge card and preparing your test tubes. Using your fine-tuned dexterity abilities, you will need to move the “molecules” between the tubes without touching or dropping them to successfully solve the formula. Be faster than your opponents and prove that you are the smartest scientist in the lab!
This hands-on brain teaser is great for enhancing problem-solving skills, visual perception, and processing speed. It’s a fantastic addition to any STEM classroom.
Playing time: 20-45mins
Ahoy there! If you’ve come in search of the booty that is potatoes, programming, and piracy, you’ve come to the right place! Arrrrrr!
Prepare your crew of trusty sea spuds to navigate the treacherous waters, ready to roast, mash, and fry any rival potato pirates who stand in your way. Send ‘em straight to Davy Jones’ locker!
Everyone’s searching the high seas for the treasure of the potato king cards, but only one can ship can fly the Jolly Roger flag. You may need to loot, highjack, or call upon the Kraken for protection against enemies.
The coding concepts such as loops, functions, if-else conditionals, and algorithms are brought in as you program your ship to take action. By taking away the screen and making these concepts a game, they are less intimidating to children and create a fun learning experience.
Potato Pirates has been proven to help kids understand basic coding concepts while increasing their confidence and interest in the subject. Plus, it teaches important programming concepts in a uniquely hilarious way!
Everything about this game is great, from the nautical theme to the ship names to the little sack of potato pirates.
For the parents, teachers, and curious children out there, check out our list of best STEM board games & activities to enhance imagination, creativity, and critical thinking. They’re a great addition to any classroom, tabletop, or board game shelf.
Liz has no objections to being referred to as “nerdy.” Maybe it’s the educator in her — or her maturity level— but when it comes to board games, those best suited for children are the ones that spark her interest. When she’s not looking for the next game to incorporate into the classroom or play with her niece and nephew, you can find her trying out nature-themed games like Wildcraft or Trekking the National Parks.