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Board games are an excellent way to supplement learning in many school subjects. So far in this Board Games for Kids series, we’ve covered…
- US History Board Games for Kids
- US Geography Board Games for Kids
- World History Board Games for Kids
- World Geography Board Games for Kids
In this post, you’ll find board game ideas that can help you teach government and civics concepts to K-8th grade students. In this age range, civics covers everything from community roles and citizenship to countries/cultures, voting, elections, government types, and founding documents like the US Constitution.
Check out the list below (arranged loosely in order of player age, youngest to oldest) for all kinds of different games to try with elementary and junior high kids in your next social studies, government, or civics lesson!
Government & Civics Board Games for Kids
Top Trumps US Presidents (and others)
If you’ve been following this series, you’re probably sick of hearing about Top Trumps since I’ve mentioned it in every post! But there are just so many themes available – they have a version for practically anything you’re studying.
This two player game for ages 6+ is great because players don’t need to know any trivia to get started. Even young players have a chance at winning since it’s played like War and card stats are compared to see who wins the cards. The versions best for a government or civics study include:
As kids play, they’re picking up useful information about each card feature. In the Washington DC version, some of the stats are more useful than others. For example, there’s a category for “must see” rating which is kind of arbitrary and subjective. But then there’s more educational information like the year established or the number of visitors per year. The Presidents version has categories that are all educational (including categories like year of birth, year they took office, etc).
These card games are inexpensive, engaging, and accessible to anyone who can read and compare number values. They’re super easy to toss in a backpack or purse to play anytime. We have several versions and my kids love them all!
This aptly-named flag trivia card game (for 2-6 players, ages 8+) is an excellent supplement for teaching about… the Flags of the World. It actually comes with rules for four different games with multiple levels of difficulty.
The games are simple to learn so you can get started playing quickly. There are options for team games, a game for younger/inexperienced players, and more challenging versions for all the flag buffs out there. Even within games, there are options to raise or decrease difficulty (for example, by starting with the most recognizable cards or only the cards from one continent) which makes this game very versatile. In all versions, the winner is the one who collects the most flag cards/points.
I love that this trivia game isn’t one where you have to already know everything to succeed. A reference map plus country/continent reference lists are included, and geographic hints are given if players are stuck.
This is a game where you learn more every time, getting noticeably better at the game each time you play. Even after just a game or two, players will gain an awareness of names of countries, capitals, and especially flag designs. And even if players are just guessing, they can still use the geographic clues to win some cards, and will be learning as they check their opponents’ guesses.
This game will help students learn flags. Flags of the World is a great supplement for use as intended, or even just to use as flash cards in your own government studies/activities or for solo practice.
This is such a unique game and I love its multi-subject approach. Election Night is great for teaching kids addition or multiplication facts (more about that in a minute), US geography, and also the electoral voting system. This cross-disciplinary method is much more realistic and interesting than teaching isolated subjects.
Two players or teams (ages 8+) are battling for the electoral votes needed to become the next President of the USA. Special 12-sided dice are rolled and players choose the dice combinations to use to make the numbers needed to win certain states. The rolls are random, but there is opportunity for strategy, too (like whether to prioritize a quick win in a smaller state or aim for longer-term goals to win the bigger states). This luck-plus-strategy combination evens out the gameplay when mixed ages/abilities are playing together.
The dry-erase, color-coded game board has two sides which makes this two games in one. Using the addition side, students will add the dice and be practicing addition facts in doing so. The multiplication side for older students has players multiplying dice values together. On both sides, the game designers purposely used math facts that are the hardest to learn, helping students memorize those trickiest ones (that confounded 9 x 6 still gets me every time)!
Thankfully, this game isn’t at all political – just “red” vs “blue”. Election Night is an excellent game for learning the mechanics of the electoral college voting process and brushing up on US geography and math facts at the same time.
Although Buy the Vote doesn’t teach any specific trivia, it’s a fun supplement for generating conversation about the role of campaigning, campaign funding, and advertisement in the election process.
In this short (15 minutes to play) card game for 2-5 players, ages 9+, players use their campaign dollars to bid on various states. Whoever bids highest wins the state and gets the electoral votes in an attempt to get the 270 needed to win the election. Swing state cards (which allow you to steal another player’s card) add an element of uncertainty to the game.
While it is a card game, there are small player mats, little “voting booths” to block other players’ views, and many money pieces, so it’s great for classroom or home use but not ideal for use in the car or on the go.
Overall, Buy the Vote is a fast-paced, competitive, strategy bidding game. It’s perfect to use as a hook to generate interest when starting a lesson on campaigning, elections, or politics in general. Or, it would be great as a fun end-of-unit celebration game.
Community is a now-vintage board game for 2-6 players. It’s hard to find, but I’m including it here in case you’re able to grab a copy at a garage sale or on eBay. It’s a fairly easy-to-learn roll-and-move game for ages 9+.
In this unique, homemade-looking, cooperative game, players work together to gain resources and build/support the various aspects of their shared community (like recreation, industry, education, etc). My favorite aspect of the game are the event cards that include things like unity, love, work, and bad feelings. The players have to navigate the various difficulties and opportunities to make their town run smoothly.
The quaint, hand-drawn illustrations on the game board include a variety of typical town destinations like picnic area, playfield, meeting hall, offices, school, apartments, warehouse, and more. Community is a fun way to introduce concepts of communal living and generate discussion about the various aspects that need to be balanced in order for neighborhoods to be successful.
Constitution Quest is such a fun way to learn about the Constitution! This trivia game is for 2-4 players (or teams) and works for about 5th/6th graders and up (it’s listed for ages 10+). There is also a variant where novice cards, which are marked with a star, can be separated and used first. This way younger/inexperienced players can easily join the game.
In addition to the game contents, each box includes a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence which are great resources to have on hand. The questions in the game cover all of the articles and amendments plus concepts like the three branches of government, the separation of powers, and checks and balances, among other things.
I appreciate that this game is not political. It focuses on the actual content of the US Constitution, and it helps students memorize the important information in this founding document in an engaging way.
The board itself is a beautiful, unique-looking game board; it’s not boring and “educational” looking. Gameplay takes under an hour, so Constitution Quest could work in a classroom or homeschool co-op setting if an entire class period can be dedicated to the game.
The Presidential is a game of Republicans vs Democrats (two individuals or teams) vying for the presidency. Each player or team strategically fundraises and campaigns in order to win votes in an attempt to gain the 270 electoral votes they need.
Politics cards are drawn throughout the game which add excitement and uncertainty to the gameplay. These cards include rewards and penalties. For example: “You receive a 100% approval rating from the NRA. Win 5 votes in Texas.” and “You own two rescue dogs. Animal rights people love you. Pick up 5 votes to be used any way you like.”
I love that this game includes real scenarios (you’ll recognize many from real history) so kids can start to understand all the facets that play into the public opinion of candidates. The politics cards are excellent classroom or homeschool discussion generators.
Another great feature of this game is their interactive Webmap app for keeping score! There are also scorecard sheets included for those who prefer paper, but the Webmap definitely adds an element of “real election” excitement to the game!
The Presidential is ideal for 5th or 6th grade and up (listed for ages 11+) and is a great option for teaching about the electoral college, brushing up on US states, and introducing political topics in a gentle, easy way.
In Race to the White House, two players (ages 10+) each have eight turns which represent eight weeks of campaigning before the election night phase of the game. Players use energy points to travel the country and gain influence points in order to gain the votes needed to become the next US President.
I love that the game incorporates interesting details of the campaign and election process. For example, as they’re campaigning, players gain more influence points if the state they’re in is the candidate’s home state (they can also buy influence points through advertising or drawing certain cards). In the election night phase, each round of dice rolling represents the actual election results rolling in each hour across the country during real elections.
This game is best for kids who are interested in politics and government and would appreciate the nuances added to the game to represent reality. There is a steeper learning curve than average, so be sure to allow extra time to explain it to new players.
WARNING: This one might not be the best choice for a classroom or homeschool co-op setting. The game uses sarcastic/ironic humor and touches on some topics that might not be appreciated by everyone or understood by younger kids. For example, the “Solidarity Forever” card gives you an edge because you “make a pro-union statement…” and “The Race Card” can be used by a candidate during a debate. This game gets into actual political topics, so be sure to preview the game before using with a class!
Despite the politics and humor, I do think Race to the White House has a lot of value since it covers so many aspects of the campaigning and election process that other games don’t mention. Cards include everything from campaign fatigue to hecklers, and outcomes on election night are gradually determined and sometimes even “too close to call”, just like in reality.
In Founding Fathers, 3-5 players are each one of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention. Their goal is to exert the most influence throughout the committee process in order to impact the creation of the Constitution.
This realistic, historical game really immerses the players in the theme. The board is very unique and includes a top down view of the actual Assembly Room and Committee Room where the delegates met to debate and discuss the real US Constitution.
There are quite a few different aspects to keep track of, and it’s definitely best-suited for middle school students and older (it’s rated for ages 13+, though I think slightly younger history buffs who like strategy games would enjoy it, too). It’s a long game, typically taking at least one if not two hours. And, be sure to allow extra time when playing the first time as the rules do take some explanation.
While not a trivia game, players will learn a lot about historical delegates, the Articles, and the topics of that time period, as well as the convention process. The Rule Book is a great teaching tool even by itself – it’s full of historical details you can use to add to your lesson or discussion.
On their turn, players can vote on Articles, play events (like moving spaces, stealing from opponents, etc.), move along the debate track, or discard and redraw cards. Players accumulate tokens and points throughout the game and, at the end, the player with the most points wins.
I’ve not seen any other game like Founding Fathers. It’s an excellent themed game to supplement any study on the Constitutional Convention or the people and processes involved in the development of the US Constitution.
Citizen: 117th Congress Edition is a reality-based game for 2-4 players, ages 13 and up. And when I say “reality-based” I mean that literally. The House and Senate cards include all the actual members of the 117th Congress!
The game includes a whopping 878 cards (including Cause Cards, Citizen Cards, Congress Cards, and Circumstance Cards). Players move their tokens through congress on the board, trying to get the required votes to pass their Cause in both the Senate and the House.
It’s not difficult once the rules are understood, but the initial learning curve combined with the complexity of the content make this game best for junior high kids and older. Because it’s based on reality (real issues, real congresspeople, etc.), this would ideally be played in a setting where significant time can be dedicated to discussing the issues and questions that come up.
The developers of this game intend to make a new edition after every election, keeping this game up to date. Playing Citizen: 117th Congress Edition is a great way to familiarize kids with the causes and issues of our day and introduce them to the real leaders who are influencing our democracy right now.
I hope this list has given you some ideas for your next government or civics lesson!
I’d also like to give a shout out to the games Zoocracy and The Republic of Carthage, which I haven’t reviewed here due to their difficulty level for the K-8th grade age group (even though they’re rated for ages 12+ and 10+ respectively). While they might not work for an average classroom situation, they may still be a great option for family game night or for students who are very interested in strategy games and/or government topics.
And, if you’re looking for US government-related board game suggestions for the high school age range, check out the following video by gaming dad and high school educator, Lakeside Gamer!
Stay tuned for the next post when I’ll share Economics Board Games for Kids! In the meantime, check out the other posts in the Games for Kids series:
- US History Board Games for Kids
- US Geography Board Games for Kids
- World History Board Games for Kids
- World Geography Board Games for Kids
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