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How You and Your Family Can Have Fun and Learn Too!

How You and Your Family Can Have Fun and Learn Too!

educational board games

Are you looking for a fun way to entertain and educate the kids? Look no further, board games are the perfect way for you and your family have fun and learn too! Scholastic has published 9 incredible benefits of board games! Check out some of those benefits below, for all the benefits check out Scholastic here!

1. Board Games offer opportunities for early learning.

Even simple games help young players identify colors, count spaces, and develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity in moving cards and pieces around the board.

2. They get older kids’ brains buzzing, too.

Board games are an easy way to encourage healthy brain development in older kids and teens. “Strategy games are useful in helping the frontal lobes of the brain develop,” says Beatrice Tauber Prior, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, author, and owner of the private practice Harborside Wellbeing.

3. They boost language skills.

Board games can be a sneaky way of helping school-aged kids work on skills they’re struggling with.
Games in which players have to remember several pieces of information at once (who did what, and where) might help a child who’s having trouble with reading comprehension — all while still having fun.

4. They can sharpen your child’s focus.

Board games, when played without interruptions, can help lengthen a child’s attention span, but to reap the benefits, everyone needs to commit to seeing the game through to the end. We know that can be difficult sometimes!

5. They teach the value of teamwork.

Board games often offer kids meta-messages about life: Your luck can change in an instant, for better or for worse. But in addition to teaching them that nothing is guaranteed, board games are a good way to encourage kids of different ages to team up and work together — something they’ll need to do throughout life.

6. Board games soothe anxiety.

They may help anxious kids learn how to navigate friendships more easily. “Because they’re structured, board games can provide an easier way to build interpersonal relationships with peers, since the child knows what’s expected of them,” says Galanti. For kids who struggle with striking up conversations with others, Galanti recommends games that promote structured opportunities for chatter, such as guessing games.

7. They show kids how to be a good loser.

“If you’re playing with a child who has low frustration tolerance, and losing is really difficult for them, allowing them to break the rules at first can make the game more tolerable and fun for them,” says Galanti. “But my goal is often to purposely play by the rules and encourage them to use coping skills and promote resilience when things don’t go their way.”

For instance, you might say: “I’m so proud of you for staying calm even though you picked a card you didn’t like. I hope next time you pick a good one!”

A family playing a board game smiling and celebrating!
A family enjoying a board game and the kiddos learning lessons without even realizing it!

 

Playing table-top games is one of the most creative ways to get your kids to learn and engage in higher-order functions without an obvious “educational” aspect. Games also great for nurturing social and inter-personal skills.We have dropped below some of our family favorite games and how they can be educational!

Our list below doesn’t even scratch the surface of games that offer an educational element. In reality, most every game requires a set of skills to be successfully played and won. It’s just a matter of figuring out what educational element you’re looking to strengthen and what games fits.

Clue

A classic “whodunnit” and the current favorite at our house, Clue tests a player’s deductive reasoning skills, demands good record-keeping, and teaches the all-important skill of The Bluff. Cards with the murderer, weapon, and the room in which the deed was done are placed in an envelope at the beginning of the game. Players are then dealt the remaining cards. Through deductive reasoning each player must figure out what cards are in the envelope by making accusations (it was Ms. Peacock in the kitchen with the knife) to figure out the cards other players hold (and ultimately what’s missing). The winner uses logic to solve the murder.

There are a lot of different versions of this board game, but we play the classic version with all the original suspects, murder weapons, and rooms in the mansion.

Skills: Memory, deductive reasoning, strategy, record-keeping
Number of players: 3 – 6
Suggested Ages: 8+ (although our 7 year old plays it)

Yahtzee!

Yahtzee! is another a another classic we love, this time offering a heavy dose of math with counting, addition, and pattern recognition along with basic strategy skills. It’s a game played with 5 dice, rolled up to 3 times a turn to make a “hand” (much like in poker) in 1 of 13 categories. Players try to fill their score card for each category (sometimes that’s not possible, so players have to enter zero). This is where strategy and risk-taking comes into play. Players must decide when to take the numbers they roll or go for a different “hand.” The game is over when everyone has entered a score for every category. The scores are tallied (addition) to determine the winner.

Skills: Counting, addition, pattern recognition, strategy, probability
Number of players: 2 – 10
Suggested Ages: 6+

A mother and two daughters playing Clue and smiling!
Mom and two kiddos playing clue!

 

Monopoly

No list of board games would be complete without Monopoly, the real estate game that has players purchasing and developing land in order to dominate the board. It requires a lot of different skill sets to win (or even stay in the game). Monopoly not only requires math and reading skills to play, but also advanced management skills (like the ability to manage money, debt, and properties). However, the most used skills in Monopoly, once those other skills are mastered, are negotiating and strategy. Players must be able to negotiate with other players to get the properties they may need for winning the game and must work together even though they are at odds with each other. The one who wins is usually the most adept at both strategy and making deals.

Of the three classic games mentioned here, Monopoly is probably the one with the most to offer and most flexible game play. You can change the rules to suit the age of your child and can focus on any of the skills you want as the child gets more adept at playing the game. Plus, it’s always educational when you’re the banker. Now there are even favorite character-themed versions of the game to pique your kid’s interest, like Adventure Time, Doctor Who, Disney, and more.

Skills: Counting, addition, reading, strategy, reasoning, social skills, money management, probability, decision-making, negotiating, goal-setting
Number of players: 2 – 8
Suggested Ages: 8+ (although we’ve played as young as 6 with help)

Apples to Apples

Currently in heavy rotation with Clue at our house, Apples to Apples (we play the Junior version) is a great game for developing creative writing skills. The game is comprised of two decks of cards: red adjective and green noun cards. Players are dealt a hand of red noun cards they play against a green adjective card that’s shown by a judge each round. Players pick the best fit from their hand (or sometimes most outrageous if the player is a skilled story-teller) for the the adjective card that’s in play and the judge gets to listen to each player’s explanation for why their card is the best. The winner is awarded the adjective card.

Skills: Creativity, storying-telling, reading, vocabulary
Number of players: 4 – 10
Suggested Ages: Junior edition is for 9+ (although our 7 year old plays), Standard edition is 12+

 

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