The benefits our children get from playing board games are amazing. This activity benefits their brain, enhances their language development and gives them small life lessons.
Board games offer opportunities for early learning.
Even the simplest games help young players spot colors, measure spaces, and develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity in moving cards and pieces around a board. In addition, they learn to wait their turn and follow specific rules, important lessons that teach children to behave properly outside the home .
They strengthen their language skills.
Board games can be a smart way to help school-aged children work on their coping skills.
Meanwhile, games in which players have to remember a lot of information at once (who did what and where) may help a child struggling with reading comprehension
They sharpen your child's focus.
"Board games, when played without interruption, can help stretch a child's attention span," says Prior. But to reap the benefits, everyone must commit to seeing the game through to the end.
"If your family sits down for a game of Chinese checkers, make sure you get through a full game without everyone checking their phone, asking Alexa to play a song, or turning on the TV for the latest football scores," adds Prior . "Completing a board game without interruption will help prolong children's diminishing attention spans in a world full of digital distractions."
They teach the value of teamwork.
Board games often offer children meta-messages about life: Your luck can change in an instant, for better or worse. But in addition to teaching them that nothing is guaranteed, board games are a good way to encourage children of different ages to work together, which they will need to do throughout their lives.
Board games are an alternative to time out.
The next time you find yourself hanging out with one of your kids, consider playing a board game together instead of sending them to their room. "I often use board games as a vehicle for parent-child bonding," explains Regine Galanti, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and professor at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University in New York. "They can also be used to increase frustration tolerance in a child."
In other words, taking turns and practicing patience during a game—even when things don't go their way—can help young children practice responses from slamming and closing their bedroom door.
They show kids how to be a good loser.
"If you're playing with a child who has a low frustration tolerance and losing is very difficult for them, allowing them to break the rules in the first place can make the game more tolerable and fun for them," says Galanti. "But my goal is often to intentionally play by the rules and encourage them to use coping skills and promote resilience when things don't go their way."
For example, you could 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!"
Board games are a great way to disconnect from technology for a bit.
The lack of technology required to play board games sets them apart. It's a simple way to spend quality screen-free time with the kids—and you might be surprised by how much they love to play. (Here are more screen-free activities to keep your kids entertained during the holidays this year.)
"Families struggle to find the balance between digital and real-world connections, but board games provide a tool for that emotional connection between them," says Prior. Order pizza and make your way to celebrate the start of the weekend together!