6 Reasons to Play Board Games with Your Child

September 7, 2017

Stella and I love game night. We do at least one game night a week, maybe two. Ever since I bought Stella her first game when she was 3, time playing games has been a favorite activity to enjoy together. There are lots of reasons to incorporate a regular game night into your weekly family schedule, but today I’ve outlined six reasons to play board games with your child.

1. Spending quality time together… for free!

It’s important for our children to enjoy unhurried and unscheduled time with us, time in which the sole purpose of activity is to have fun and bond. Games give us an excellent opportunity to engage face-to-face with our children without distractions. Board games help children develop their skills in active listening, and offer a time to simply laugh and make memories with one another.

Togetherness tips for playing:
  • Turn off devices and put them away when playing games with your kids. Game time is an excellent way to build in fun screen-free time into your day.
  • Game time is about innocent play and fun. Let your child pick their favorite games, even if you’ve played them a hundred times already.
Stella loves Peaceable Kingdom’s Alphabet Go Fish! Notice how her iPad has been discarded for now…

2. Gaining social skills

Children learn all sorts of social skills when playing board games. They learn how to interact with  family and friends, adults and children alike. They get a chance to use their verbal communication skills while practicing sharing, waiting, and taking turns. And don’t forget one of the most important social lessons when playing games–the essential element of friendly competition.

3. Understanding game play

Learning the essentials of basic game play is crucial for small children. Through playing games, they can learn to understand instructions and and explain them to others. Children love to feel safe through clearly defined boundaries and guidelines, and games offer a perfect example of that. Children learn to use tools such as dice and spinners, and they develop manual dexterity by learning to shuffle and deal cards, move pieces around the board, and other hands-on skills.

Learning opportunities while playing:
  • When playing with someone new, encourage your child to explain the rules to the new player.
  • Let them experiment with using tools of the game–for example, if they spin a spinner in and it barely moves, let them have another turn and teach them to spin it more effectively.
  • A note on rule breaking: pick age-appropriate games and clearly communicate what the rules are. Don’t deviate from the rules or encourage breaking them while they’re learning, and don’t dismiss rule-breaking as something kids do because they are young. With an age-appropriate game, they will be able to stick to the rules. It’s vital that we teach our children how to work within the boundaries they’re given.

4. Developing logic and reasoning

Game play is excellent to teach children logic and reasoning skills such as strategy and thinking ahead. The older I get, the more I realize that critical thinkers and decision makers are not common in adults. These are skills we can teach our children while they’re young, through game play. When playing, children also learn that their actions have consequences in a safe environment.

5. Cultivating skills for the classroom

Skills learnt when playing games are transferrable skills–meaning they can use what theyre learning in a variety of environments. Games can help children foster an ability to focus, build memorization skills, and lengthen their attention span, all of which are excellent for learning in a classroom. Lots of games incorporate letter recognition, spelling, and reading, as well as math skills like using dice and counting scores. Not to mention gaining manual dexterity skills, which is great for building on skills like learning to hold a pencil and use scissors.

6. Learning to lose

One of the most crucial learning outcomes from game play is losing. Do not underestimate the value of teaching your children how to lose with grace. Game play is a great way to help children understand grit, persistence even when things might not be going well, and the idea of never giving up. When others lose, they learn to win gracefully, and they get to practice showing empathy and kindness to others.


Additional Reading:
Check out these great game brands!
  1. Peaceable Kingdom
  2. eeBoo
  3. Silly Street by Wanaple
  4. Educational Insights

By Kellie

Kellie is a redeemed woman pursuing vulnerability, color, and hygge. She loves to write, take photographs, play, and learn. She's a marketing specialist by day, a blogger at night... and a mom all the time. Kellie lives in Denton, Texas with her husband, Clay, and their young daughters.

7 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kristin

    My kids LOVE playing board games and cards together. We’ve been playing outside on the patio all summer. So fun!

    1. Reply

      Kellie

      We’ve played outdoors a lot, too! What are some of your kids’ favorites?

  2. Reply

    Meagan

    We love to play board games on Friday nights! Our faves are Candy Land and Monopoly.

  3. Reply

    Ashley Owens

    We LOVE playing board games there are so many new games plus we love playing some of the classics too

  4. Reply

    Jenny

    Love this. We love playing board games in our house. My parents saved our old board games and it’s so fun to play them with our own children

  5. Reply

    Kristen

    Playing board games is probably my favorite thing to do with my girls. We will play games for hours. It is such a great way to teach social skills and the art of graceful losing!

  6. Reply

    Barbara Alfeo

    Feed the Woozle is beloved in our house! Great post!

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