Do you remember the hours of fun you enjoyed playing board games with your friends or family when you were young? It was a big deal and you didn’t even know it. While you were having fun, you were also learning important skills. By playing games with your children and grandchildren, you have a chance to relive your childhood and also help your children. Some families, and schools too, hold weekly Fun Friday Pizza and Game Nights. Not only do these Fun Friday nights provide quality time for families, but they also help children improve their learning and social skills. It’s the best deal in town.
According to a 2008 study published in the journal Child Development, board games can be effective tools for learning. Learning can be emphasized without the children realizing they are actually practicing skills they learned in school! After you’ve played the games, point out the skills your children used. They’ll be excited and very pleased with themselves, too!
Not only popular children’s board games such as Candy Land, Scrabble, Clue and others found on toy store shelves, but also non-board games (Simon Says, Red Light-Green Light, Musical Chairs, and Mother May I) help children learn impulse control according to a 2007 study in Science.
When choosing children’s games as gifts this Holiday Season, look beyond the “fun” factor – does the game allow for children to make decisions, learn cause and effect, and practice social skills. For some children, just having to wait their turn or learning they can’t “change the rules” to win can provide a valuable lesson in social skills. You can’t find a better deal than that anywhere.
- Shop wisely, search for the best game deals (and you’ll probably find many this holiday season).
- Compare the skills used.
- Check the developmental level…if the game is too challenging, the child may become frustrated. Start with the child’s comfort level and build from there.
- Simplify the game rules and directions if needed, changing them as the child becomes more proficient at playing the game successfully.
Promote the game’s fun while providing your children with the foundation for creative, critical, intellectual, and personal skills needed to be successful in whatever they choose to pursue in their ever-changing future.