The Benefits of Board Games for Children
By Paul Rothbart
It's a classic family activity. Gathering around the dining room table for a spirited game of Monopoly, Parcheesi, or maybe Clue. Growing up, my family played a lot of the old "pop-a-matic" Trouble. Game nights are fun and great bonding experiences for parents and kids. But there are also a number of benefits for the learning and growth of children. Here are some of the ways that playing board games can aid your kids' development.
Basic Education for the Very Young
Board games teach young children how to learn and follow rules and patiently wait their turn. They also learn to count and identify colors and shapes. Children also develop dexterity by handling play pieces and cards.
Board games also are helpful to older children and even teens. The frontal lobes, which regulate executive function, are stimulated by the processes involved in playing and this helps them develop. Executive function includes planning, organizing, strategizing, and decision making. These are all very important skills to living a quality life.
Language and Reading Skills
Many games involve reading instructions on cards. This is very helpful in getting children to read. Their spelling skills can improve as well. Reading comprehension can also be helped in games in which children have to remember multiple pieces of information.
Board games are a great way to teach kids to focus on the task at hand until it's finished. Having everyone put their phones down and turning off the television until the game is complete will aid children with short attention spans. It also helps them learn to commit to a chore fully.
Some board games require players to work together. This is a great lesson for children. Many tasks in life require help. They learn to team up to accomplish a common goal. Creating teams of an older child with a young child really can spark the team spirit with the older one guiding the younger.
Nobody wins every time, no matter how good they are at something. Learning to accept defeat and, more importantly, to learn from it are essential life lessons. Especially for children who hate losing, teaching them that the goal is to play by the rules, have fun, and accept the outcome, will be of great value throughout their lives.
With today's technology, it's very easy to hand a tablet or phone to a child for entertainment or let them play video games. But the old school board has many valuable lessons to teach and is a great way to bond as a family. Set up a family game night and have some fun.
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