Do you love educational apps, but worry about the amount of screen time your child spends on them each day? Are you looking for a fun, interactive, and memorable way to reinforce your child’s learning and bond as a family?
Throw open the closet and dust off the board games.
Few technological devices offer the same interactive learning opportunities. Board games offer a host of benefits:
- Color and shape recognition
- Pattern recognition
- Letter and word recognition
- Following directions
- Hand-eye coordination
- Manual dexterity
- Verbal communication
- Taking turns
Moreover, almost all board games require more than one person to play, making them perfect for family time. Online versions of the most popular games like Monopoly, Connect Four, and Life exist, but they are no substitute for a little family competition.
First and foremost, board games are meant to be fun—even when you’re learning the rules. Don’t allow anyone (yourself included) to get overly competitive and ruin it for everyone. Also be mindful of the impulse to cheat—especially if you’re getting beat by an overly confident preteen. You need to set a positive example. That being said, you may want to adjust or adapt the rules so younger kids can feel successful. Part of board games is learning to win and lose, but it’s also important to give everyone a fair shot.
Need some inspiration for your own family board game night? Try one of the following classics:
- Candyland – Candyland is usually one of the first board games a child plays because it only involves drawing a card, identifying colors, matching, and moving. It’s a great game to teach the importance of rules, taking turns, and perseverance.
- Chutes and Ladders – The original Chutes and Ladders was actually meant teach morality. Good deeds move you up, bad deeds bring you down. Chutes and Ladders remains a classic game to teach counting, and some research indicates it helps students understand number lines.
- Clue – While we all know that it was undoubtedly Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick, Clue is sometimes used in college courses to teach computer programming. Why? Because it’s the perfect game to boost the use of logic, deduction, and inference.
- Scrabble – Hardcore Scrabble players are renowned for their tremendous vocabulary skills. Besides promoting literacy and language skills, Scrabble also assists in vocabulary development, spelling, and pattern recognition. Scrabble Junior provides the right mix of fun and education for younger kids, too.
- Boggle – Like Scrabble, Boggle also comes in a junior edition and helps build literacy skills. Unlike Scrabble, though, Boggle focuses more on letter and word recognition and matching skills.
- Life – Some of the conversations overheard during a game of Life are entertaining in and of themselves. Beyond that, the game not only promotes reading and money management, but also decision making, planning ahead, and cause and effect.
- Monopoly – Is there any better game to teach math skills than Monopoly? Whether playing the shorter and easier junior edition or the original marathon version, Monopoly rewards color recognition, reading, and reasoning.
- Chess – Chess is the ultimate board game. Study after study shows how playing chess promotes memory development, problem-solving skills, concentration, and foresight. Chess players tend to have better math and reading skills than non-chess players, too, and there are documented incidences of IQ boosts after learning the game.