Family time, fun, laughter and learning, these are some of the reasons why board games are so important in our children’s lives.

It’s game time. Board games are an entertaining way for the whole family to spend some time together; everyone can get involved, relax and have a fantastic time. Get ready for hours of fun, competitions and learning for the kids. To an adult’s mind, board games are a fun and entertaining way to pass the time, but what other functions do they fulfil when we consider our children’s growing and developing minds?

We all know that learning isn’t always enjoyable; this is especially true if you are a kid between the ages of 8 and 11. You would rather spend your day playing with friends, going on secret adventures or enjoying all that the outdoors has to offer. Children are learning all the time and more often than not, they are unaware of it and the fact that they are strengthening and building their characters. Learning and educational activities don’t always have to be academic. Here is how using board games as a tool for education and development can help your child.

Being the best and developing new skills is a trait or desire that we develop from a young age. Board games allow our children to embrace their desire to be the best and develop and use the new skills they have learnt. These skills can be learnt or further perfected by playing board games. With thousands of board games to choose from, with a number of different and interesting lesson/skills to learn, this can only spell out one thing: FUN, FUN, FUN.

Today’s Playful Lesson
Toys, games and fun seem to be antonyms for anything that is education and stimulating for our children. However, most board games have been designed to fulfil an educational role. According to Alvin Rosenfeld, board games will teach our children some of the following skills:

  • Numbers and counting
  • Shapes, objects and colours
  • Reading and spelling
  • Visual perception
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Manual dexterity

Character Lessons

  • Taking turns and patience
  • Listening
  • Waiting and sitting still and being quiet
  • Perceiving the situation
  • Understanding
  • Considering others feelings
  • Communication skills
  • Social skills
  • Paying attention and focusing
  • Analysing situations
  • Premeditated movements
  • Persistence
  • Understanding boundaries and limits
  • Honesty
  • Deal with losing
  • Strategic planning and logical thinking
  • The concept of time

The Rules are as Follows
Be fair but don’t let your children win by making it too easy. Set a standard where your child can also gain something and grow as an individual. There is no sweeter feeling than that of success and accomplishment. The standard also shouldn’t be ridiculously high.

Bear in mind that these games are meant to be easy enough for your child to understand and participate in. So ensure that the games are age appropriate and attainable. If the game is too easy or for a younger age group, your child will get bored and lose interest easily. If the game is too difficult for your child to play, then he/she will get frustrated and will want to do something else.

Set an example, nobody wants to play with a sore loser, who throws their toys out their cot when a game doesn’t go their way. Teach your children how to lose gracefully and that it is not all about winning, but rather how they played the game. Remember, that your child is an inadequate opponent so be fair and let your guard down a little.

Keep this game time fun, entertaining and interesting. The worst thing is going to the trouble of setting up the game; only to have your child become bored, frustrated and uninterested.

Read the rules of the game to your child, it is important that they know what is expected of them and so that they are not at an unfair disadvantage when the timer is switched on. Children learn through watching you, so play a pretend round, explaining how the game works.

Games, Games and More Games

  1. Toy stores have rows and rows of board games and they have something for everyone, no matter what skills you have, your age or interests. Listed are some of the more popular games that are appropriate for children.
  2. Scrabble will help your child to improve his/her spelling ability. This game will also teach your child to make due with what he/she has been given.
  3. Chess is the thinking person’s game. With this game, your child will develop the ability to think logically and plan ahead. Your child will also learn how to interpret and read his opponent’s way of thinking.
  4. Monopoly is very popular for people of all ages. It improves your maths ability, decision making skills and how to manage money
  5. Snakes and ladders will teach your child how to count and set goals for finishing the game. It will also teach your child how to deal with disappointments and setbacks
  6. Twister is a fun game, it will keep the family moving, giggling and having a fantastic time. It will teach your children about balance, colours, strategies as well as the difference between right and left
  7. Pictionary is a great game to get the creative juices flowing and the imaginations soaring
  8. 30 Seconds will teach your child about managing their time as well as improve their general knowledge about the world and other important information
  9. Uno will improve your child’s concentration
  10. Cluedo is an exciting and thrilling game for children and adults alike. It teaches your to pay attention and analyse the situation
  11. Battleships, is an exciting game that will get the adrenaline pumping. It will ensure that your child is paying attention, sets out a game plan/strategy and strives to reach a certain goal

Hours of Fun, Laughter and Learning
Make learning fun. Board games are a wonderful and entertaining way to pass the time and spend time with the family. Ensure that your children understand how to play the game as well as what is expected of them. It will teach your child the importance of following the rules and winning fairly. Board games will teach your child about numbers, letters, shapes and colours, it will also teach your child about all important life lessons such as taking turns, fair play, time management and logical thinking.

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