We didn’t all grow up having the best experiences with board games. Sometimes we played with the wrong people or with bad games. By the time we’re adults many of us think we’ve outgrown them, that their more hassle than they’re worth.
But board games offer unique benefits which online and other screen-based games can’t. With busier and more digital weeks, it’s more of a challenge to make the family time necessary to build and maintaining healthy relationships. Family game time is a great way of reconnecting and showing kids indoor fun without screens or the internet. Here are some of the many reasons that parents and their children should rediscover the joys of playing board games together.
The most immediate benefit of board games is that they’re social: they help build relationships in a fun and interactive way. Competition and collaboration in winning and outwitting opponents can be a great way of social learning, provided the games are age appropriate in terms of their difficulty. Children yearn for focused and undivided attention from their parents. Regularly playing games can build connections and keep lines of communication open as they grow older, establishing family rituals which keep everyone together.
Gaming is a safe environment in which kids can build crucial social skills such as teamwork, sharing, taking turns and being a good sport. Developing an understanding of rules – and strategy – can be especially important for later life, e.g. careers. Tabletop games can be used singularly like video games if kids want to master them when others are busy. Board games not only bring families together but can break down social barriers between groups of friends by bringing people together in a relaxed context to play and joke around with each other.
Board games teach children on multiple levels, introducing key social skills, spatial awareness, critical thinking, and focus. They’re even being considered for school curriculums! Kids are absorbed by their tactile, hands-on nature, and motivated by the intimacy of playing with or against a real person, face-to-face. Mental health benefits include retaining cognition, building self-esteem through social interaction, gaining the satisfaction that comes from mastering new concepts and game strategies and, of course, the fun of it all! Reasoning abilities developed in gaming can have broader applications. Specific games work for different things, whether it scrabbles to strengthen verbal skills or puzzles games to increase mathematical reasoning.
Board games are great for developing cognitive skills like problem-solving, critical thinking and memorization. Simple acts like adding up dice and tallying scores can reinforce maths skills from an early age. The determination required to win a board game increases attention span, and the reading, acting and roleplaying involved can help build communication skills. Board games reduce stress and the risk of cognitive decline, as well as strengthening coordination and dexterity.
A family that games together, stay together. Give family board game nights a go!