If you and your kids love playing board games on cozy Friday nights or holiday weekends, it’s good to know that there are benefits beyond just having fun. Educational board games improve cognitive skills and help prepare children for school-related tasks.
For example, a game like chess helps develop critical thinking and logical reasoning. A simple game can encourage abstract thinking and strategic planning.
Develops Visual Perception
The visual-spatial skills developed through board games include spatial visualization and understanding spatial relationships. For example, children who play the Pop! Card game strengthens their ability to see a continuous line of colored dots.
Other games encourage students to use language by creating their definitions of words. This improves their reading skills, promotes vocabulary growth, and builds grammatical accuracy. In addition, when playing a board game, there are clear winners and losers, which helps students learn how to accept defeat with dignity.
Many educational board games like SimplyFun have hidden valuable learning components you need to notice. For example, a game requires players to find words in adjacent dice (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) and builds hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.
For more advanced thinking skills, try a strategy-building game with a new twist by attaching questions to each block for students to answer each time it falls. Studies have found that playing these games improves attention span and cognitive ability.
Often, winning at board games involves strategic thinking and planning. This teaches children how to think logically and methodically, developing a skill that will benefit them in almost every area of life.
Even simpler games can develop agility, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination, which is excellent for preparing kids for the demands of school. They’ll need good talent to handwrite and to use tools for experiments. It’s also essential for computer-based activities like typing. Playing board games will help them with their key math skills too.
Playing board games stimulates the parts of the brain responsible for memory formation and complex thought functions. Studies show that playing board games improves attention and concentration.
Kids who are good at gaming often develop superior math skills, especially if exposed to number-line games. They also tend to be more proficient in logical analysis.
A popular game challenges players to think of words and items that fit into the categories listed on their game cards. This game teaches children to think creatively under pressure.
Develops Problem-Solving Skills
Playing board games offers children regular practice processing sets of information simultaneously, a critical skill in academic performance. This involves remembering key facts, mentally comparing and contrasting options or propositions, and then organizing or prioritizing these key facts to produce a response, such as a decision or action.
Board games also help kids to learn vital social skills such as how to share and how to deal with losing. Studies show that learning how to lose gracefully is a crucial life lesson. Moreover, games that involve deductive reasoning build logical thinking skills.
Develops Social Skills
Many board games require players to communicate verbally, take turns, and respect each other. These skills translate well to group projects or presentations in the classroom and beyond.
Educational board games also teach kids to defer gratification and stick to a game until the end. This is a great lesson in life, especially when things aren’t going your way.
Playing board games can help improve math skills, too. Studies have shown that playing a game like numerical dominoes teaches children to compare numbers and understand their value.
In addition to developing strategic thinking, board games encourage kids to form abstract thoughts and think creatively. This is particularly true for games that require players to build a game plan and make decisions.
Creating a board game is a new learning task that requires students to have prerequisite skills and knowledge. Drain suggests providing teacher-scaffolding lessons and projects before allowing students to design their board games independently.
Develops Decision-Making Skills
Chess, scrabble, and even popular games challenge players to make decisions that require lateral thinking and strategic analysis. These skills are valuable in helping children develop problem-solving abilities and learn how to defer gratification.
Stirling (2013) notes that games provide an immersive experience that requires 100% player engagement and attention. He says students that dislike traditional classrooms may be the most receptive to learning through simulation via board games. This is because games remove the indifference and apathy that plagues some learners.
Develops Communication Skills
Many board games require players to interact with one another, either verbally or in writing. These skills are valuable in school, especially as students prepare for group projects and presentations.
Children also develop their ability to follow instructions when playing certain games where a team must cooperate and communicate to save the world from four disease outbreaks.
Similarly, guessing games (where students are given an obscure English word and asked to create a definition for it) can improve students’ speaking abilities.
Many board games require children to think outside the box and form abstract thoughts. This critical thinking skill will aid kids in later life as they take on more complicated tasks.
One study found that students who played educational board games displaying civic knowledge improved their civic competency tests and creativity scores. The students also designed their board games with civic content during the course.
This constructivist learning approach involved teacher-scaffolding lessons and project/inquiry-based activities. It also included a two-month vacation period for students to design board games freely.