The benefits of playing board games are immense! Why? Simply because children learn best when they're having fun.
All sorts of skills can be enhanced by playing board games. For example:
- maths skills - adding, subtraction, counting on, number recognition, etc.
- reading skills - as children read instructions, instruction cards
- knowledge - many games are designed to inform and expand on children's knowledge
- fine motor skills - as children manipulate small pieces within the game
- cognitive skills - involved in understand rules and the concepts behind the game, logical thinking, problem solving and strategizing.
The benefits of playing board games, however, is especially seen in the area of social skills.
Board games help children's social skills improve such as:
- taking turns. For young children, this is often a difficult social skill to learn. Offering children plenty of opportunities to take turns helps them to develop this vital life skill.
- engaging in acceptable social behaviour. Let's face it ... some behaviours are socially acceptable and others are absolutely not. Children need plenty of opportunities to learn how to control and expressive their emotions in socially acceptable ways. Board games are great for fostering this skills.
- dealing with winning and losing. While we all love to win, losing is part of life. We need to help equip our children with the life skills they need to deal with losing as they are definitely going to experience this in life.
Just as important is to teach children how to deal with winning.
One of the things I love doing after board games is get everyone to say something along the lines of 'congratulations' or 'thanks for playing' ... coupled with a handshake.
- patience. Yes, you do have to wait till it's your turn. Yes, you do need to allow someone else time to finish their play. Waiting isn't easy at the best of times. At least board games allow children to extend their patience while playing a fun game.
- following rules. Where would this world be without rules? They're part of every day life. Board games allow children to experience rules, learn rules and negotiate with others when rules need to be modified (if necessary).
- fair play. Fair play - sharing - preferring one another - all skills that are really hard to learn. Children need plenty of opportunity to exercise and experience opporunities where they need to play fairly so they can develop a sense of fairness.
What are you're favourite board games?
If you're looking for some board games which encourage reading skills, try our free printable games.
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Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.