You may have heard this from me, but I love using games for school. I especially love games for history because they can do a great job of showing how events play out and put you in the moment. My one problem? History games can be expensive. One of my favorite history games is $60. Recently I found some amazing print and play history file folder games to use in our history lessons. You have to try them.
(Homeschool in the Woods gave me five free file folder games from their A La Carte shop for this post, opinions are my own, the other games I already owned, and there are lots of affiliate links in here when I get down to the tips.)
READ ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM FOR A GIVEAWAY!
Ten Reasons to Use History File Folder Games
1. History File Folder Games brings history to life. The Colonial Shopping game is a great day in the life of Colonial America. I tried to find pictures of my kids playing the game six years ago with their co-op, but I’ve switched my computer since then and I can’t find the picture, so you’re going to get a picture of it printed on pastel green card stock once I have more ink.
2. History File Folder Games are much shorter than war game simulations. We’ve run a few war games simulations, they take a long time to run, and require printing a whole lot of figures. We played a mini-round of the World War 1 file folder game in 15 minutes I think before we headed to the park. It gave a great simulation of a generic battle and we all enjoyed it. The boys played it later that night with their friends.
3. History File Folder Games are portable. Most of my history board games are big huge boxes with lots of pieces. Do you know how much space a history file folder game takes up? That right, not much.
4. History File Folder Games don’t take much time. Tomb Dash is a timed game. You’re going through the tomb in 10 or 15 minutes, and that’s it. Better get out fast. I love the soundtrack that goes with it. I can’t wait to use this after we study Ancient Egypt next year.
5. History File Folder Games are a great review. Mercenary Madness and Journey Through the Middle Ages do a great job reviewing the time periods. We will barely sneak into the time periods for these games next year, but I think everyone will enjoy being knights. I also like that the two board game halves don’t have to be taped together, so I could have one half for each side of the table, no more arguing about who the file folder game is closer to, it’s on your side child!
6. History File Folder Games give you an idea of the geography of the area. You can travel through Europe in the Middle Ages or across the United States in Route 66. Either way you’ll learn a little bit more about geography as you travel across the world.
7. History File Folder Games don’t take up a lot of space when storing. We don’t really have any more space for board games. This doesn’t seem to stop us buying them, but board games take up a lot of space. I can fit dozens of file folder games in the same amount of space one board game takes up.
8. History file folder games are easy on the budget. I mentioned it earlier, but most of the really cool board games are expensive. I think I could buy every single one of the file folder games on the Homeschool in the Woods site for the price of some of my board games.
9. History file folder games can review important battles or events. The World War 2 file folder game uses all of the major battles for the game as the “board spaces.” This was my boys’ favorite. The boys plan to play this with their Dad and see who wins in the trivia/winning battles.
10. History file folder games extend the learning for about the cost of a coffee at the local “Five Bucks.”
More about the A La Carte program from Homeschool in the Woods
While I picked out only the file folder games, there is a lot more you can get. They’ve got writing, lapbook elements, and more you can try. My kids are not big fans of lapbooks, but the newspapers they have for their Ancient history projects are pretty cool.
One caveat, look at what you’re interested in, and then see if instead you should just by the Time Traveler Unit. Those are also awesome projects and have all that’s included here and more. If you discover you are buying every Ancient Greece product, maybe it makes more sense for you to buy the Ancient Greece Project Passport unit and get all the other stuff that’s on there (see my review of Project Passport Greece which I’ll be using this year for Ancient History).
The A La Carte products are perfect for the eclectic homeschooler who wants to piece together lots of projects for their homeschool year (I have planned to use all of their Ancient history file folder games, AND the Ancient Greece time traveler because I already own it. I will be going back and purchasing the Passover Seder game to go with our Bible history unit for the summer.
Get the Medieval Times newspaper free when you sign up for their newsletter (I love this writing component they include in their units).
Preparing and storing your file folder games
- Buy a paper cutter, it will save your hands and make cutting out all those pieces SO much easier.
- Use the super awesome Fiskars spring scissors for detail cutting, your wrists will thank you. Mine did.
- If you don’t want to color the games OR print it in color, then buy colored cardstock, it immediately looks more interesting than plain white paper. This set has a nice parchment looking paper and some other pale colors that contrast well with what you print. DON’T USE DARK COLORS.
- For us, it’s easier to print on card stock and store in a manila envelope. I store everything in manila envelopes. Everything.
- Use packaging tape to connect the two halves of the file folder game together.
- If using a file folder, get colored file folders, they are much more interesting than plain manila colored.
- If you plan to use them with several years worth of children, consider laminating.
- (pretend it didn’t reset the numbers and it says 8) Get this file box, they’re great for holding all of your stuff for the week, or for unit studies, or for all sorts of stuff.
- Use paper clips to hold your figures together. This allows you to easily take them apart and put them in the envelope.
- Have a file folder game kit. Put in this some pawns (that way you don’t have to use the paper pieces if you don’t want to), a die, paper money, and a spinner. This can be scavenged from games you don’t have all the pieces to.
Win your own A La Carte product
Five winners will get to pick an A La Carte product of their own to get. Since this is downloadable, anyone can win!