Battleship, scrabble and monopoly were the board games in my closet as a child. They were so much fun to play; however, as parents, we take a closer look at these games to see how they build skills such as critical thinking, deductive reasoning, a strong vocabulary and an understanding of finance. It is not just academic skills being developed over time by playing board games. Social skills are also enhanced as children improve communication and practice good sportsmanship traits.
Structuring a scheduled game night serves many roles to families which has positive outcomes. Gathering around the dining room table or living room floor transforms that space creating a warmth that will be recreated as children pull out games during the holidays, snow days or even moments they are “bored.” The best part is that most board games are reasonably priced while their value increases the more they are used. Set aside time on a weekly basis where cell phones and television are turned off to roll the dice on a board game. We are highlighting how this family time benefits your children.
Mommy University Presents
Benefits of Family Game Night
Develops Strong Character
Children take games seriously. They all want to be winners but don’t always know how to handle losing. By hosting family game nights, children begin to learn how to lose gracefully, how to joke around and how to celebrate wins. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn good sportsmanship skills.
Promotes Problem Solving
In most games, you are invited to solve a problem. Whether the riddle is verbal or visual, it requires children to think about their next move and actions to take in order to have a positive outcome. Playing helps kids think critically to solve problems which is a useful skill in school and in life!
Crowded around the board game, your family begins to develop their own unique interactions and strategies. Most importantly, they laugh. We have laughed so much when we play games that I feel like a kid again. Laughing and having fun is a great way to reduce stress and forget about your worries (even if it’s just for an hour or two).
Focuses Energy in a Positive Outlet
Children look for activities to keep them engaged. The diversity of games hits every age in the timeline from toddlers to children to teenagers to college students and adults. Getting together to play keeps everyone interacting in a positive manner. Also, playing games that provide movement and action offers a fun and educational way to focus energy.
Creates Family Traditions
Our Winter Break was filled with board games. It is a tradition that since this week slows down and there is less pressure to be constantly active, we leisurely explore new games and return to old ones. There is a game that is always in our suitcase when we travel, and there is one at the grandparents’ house. Whether it is a specific game for a particular event or just a special snack, family game nights create their own family traditions.
Enhances Academic Skills
Playing board games is fun but what children don’t know is that their academic skills are being enhanced in strategic ways. When my children were learning the alphabet, I pulled out a few board games to help reinforce letter identification. Since they focus on winning, they are invested in learning the skills needed to receive high scores and not on the academic skill. Board games also offer hands-on learning which is a way to increase understanding.
Encourages Positive Social Skills
Different than strong character, family game night encourages children to mimic positive social skills. Passing cards, negotiating exchange of pieces or tokens, children are watching how you handle games and learning. Don’t take the games seriously because it’s not really about who wins, it’s that they are watching you and acquiring skills on how to joke around, how to diffuse a stressful situation, how to make a poker face, etc. It is amazing what children absorb by playing with their families.
Enhances Communication Skills
Children are encouraged to express their wants in games, and, in some cases, cannot win without saying the words needed. BINGO! Depending on the game, they may need to call out a phrase or words to garner an outcome. However, it is not just the language needed to play but the interaction between players that also enhances their communication skills. Watch what you say as you might hear a mini version of yourself after a family game night!
Promotes Family Bonding
The strongest reason I believe in family game nights is that it promotes family bonding. Children are more likely to share with their parents in environments where they feel comfortable thus the importance of family bonding. You will be surprised how much you learn about your children in just playing together.
Check out some of these games on your next game night:
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