In this strange new world we find ourselves in many have been faced with having to get their kids learning in the face of ipads, disney + and childrens sheer bloody mindedness. Well there’s a better way. Board games.

In addition to teaching them about teamwork, patience, and how to win and lose gracefully, board games can actually aid kids’ brains and language development. And we’ll tell you how.

Board games offer opportunities for early learning.

Even simple games help young players identify colors, count spaces, and develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity in moving cards and pieces around the board. Plus, learning to wait your turn and follow the rules are important lessons that serve kids in the outside world.

Examples:  [ Snakes and Ladders, Ticket to Ride ]

Good for older kids

Strategy games are useful in helping the frontal lobes of the brain develop,” says Beatrice Tauber Prior, a clinical psychologist, “Those frontal lobes are responsible for executive function skills, which include planning, organizing, and making good decisions.

Even a quick round of snakes and ladders gets kids’ brains working in a way they are often not stimulated in the modern world.

Examples: [ Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan ]

Language skills

Board games can be a sneaky way of helping school-aged kids work on skills they’re struggling with. From reading instructions on cards to games deliberately full of word puzzles or sentence crafting there’s all sorts of ways to improve literacy skills with board games.

Meanwhile, games in which players have to remember several pieces of information at once (who did what, and where) might help a child who’s having trouble with reading comprehension while still having fun.

Examples: [ Scrabble, Apples to Apples ]

Numeracy

Games can help kids with a number of maths skills, from simple counting to addition and multiplication. Many games have more complex scoring system so getting kids to keep score means they’ll be using maths and never even realise.
Many games also deal with handling currency which gives kids grounding in everyday maths in a situation where it has meaning.

Examples: [ Monopoly, Sheriff of Nottingham ]  

Focus

Sitting to play a game to completion can give kids focus on completing a task or set of tasks which in a world where every square centimetre of a digital device is screaming for their attention can help them build focus.

Examples:  [ Tsuro, Fluxx ]

Teamwork

Board games often offer kids meta-messages about life: Your luck can change in an instant, for better or for worse. But in addition to teaching them that nothing is guaranteed, board games are a good way to encourage kids of different ages to team up and work together — something they’ll need to do throughout life.

Examples:  [ Pandemic, Forbidden Island ]

Anxiety

They may help anxious kids learn how to navigate friendships more easily. Due to their structure, board games can provide an easier way to build interpersonal relationships with peers, since the child knows what’s expected of them. For kids who struggle with striking up conversations with others, structured opportunities for chatter, such as guessing games are excellent.

Examples:  [Guess Who, Tokaido ]

How to be a good loser

Many kids have a low tolerance for frustration so many verses games may not be ideal, games that pit all participants against the board however may slowly lead to an understanding that losing isn’t always bad and you can have just as much fun losing sometimes.

Examples:  [ Forbidden Desert ]

Unplug

The lack of technology required to play board games makes them special. They are a simple way to get quality, screen-free time with the kids and you might be surprised by how much they love playing. There are hundreds of beautiful games that can grab kids attention just as well as a tablet and on a wide range of themes some even a little abstract that may give you a little more insight into how they’re thinking.

Examples:  [ Alhambra, 7 Wonders, Dixit  ]