Educational Activities | Family Fun

Board Games Benefits: How Playing Board Games Helps Kids Grow Up Well

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There are so many benefits of playing board games as a family! Check out some of the reasons to play games with your kids and appreciate the benefits that this kind of play provides.

It’s always nice when a yummy meal is also a healthy one. Or when playing a sport you enjoy helps strengthen your muscles. Really, whenever you can have fun or enjoy an experience AND benefit from it, it’s a win/win.

And as parents, we want our kids to win. That’s one reason we play board games. Because – even when they lose (keep reading!) – they win every time we play.

That’s one of the many reasons you’ll love playing board games in your home!

There are so many benefits to playing boards games that we just had to take a moment to share them with you so you, too, can appreciate them.

As a homeschooling mom, are all over our home. We want to promote the idea of joy and learning together, so that they want to learn more on their own. Take a peek here at our list of the best educational board games to have in your home.

11 benefits of board games and a photo of a family playing for title image for article

Playing Board Games As A Family Promotes a Strong Family Culture

Even beyond education, there are so many benefits of playing board games…especially as a family. We’ve made board games (and card games and scavenger hunts and movie nights and outdoor games and adventures, too!) a part of our strong family culture.

We often spend Christmas evening and New Year’s Eve playing tabletop games; in fact, it’s become somewhat of a family tradition.

Seriously, when we play board games we not only spend quality time together, but we ENJOY doing it. We’ve loved watching how game night strengthens relationships in our home.

Here are some ways that playing board games as a family can strengthen your connection, your interactions, and your overall family unit.

Board games teach communication skills

One of the first things we noticed when our kids started playing board games was how they had to up their communication game.

Whether it was asking a sibling to pass a card they couldn’t reach, place a domino on the right Mexican Train, or making sure they knew whose turn it was, communication became an inescapable benefit of playing board games together.

Games like Monopoly and Catan also taught them how to communicate in ways beyond demanding or asking; they had to learn the art of persuasion when they wanted a trade.

And as they soon learned, the better they communicated, the more fun they could have!

Playing board games together increases family time

Clearly, playing board games as a family will make family time happen.

When you have fun together, you want to be together more. This is probably my favorite reason for board game marathons. I love seeing my kids enjoy each other and enjoy their parents!

Playing board games as a family helps appreciate others

Another benefit of playing board games together in our family has been the kids seeing other family member’s strengths and appreciating them.

They marvel and admire when one sibling has a skill they are still working to develop and often compliment it. Board games have helped us celebrate strengths and differences.

board game being played by a mom and two kids; family have fun playing board games

The Character Growth Benefits of Board Games

Another reason game playing is important for young kids (and lets be real – adults, too!) is how it helps develop character.

Today’s culture often promotes competition to the point of being cutthroat and all the focus on “me” and “self love” can eclipse the messages of togetherness, team work, celebrating differences, and not being threatened by another person’s success.

But pull out a board game? Well, you’ve created an opportunity to help your children learn many important life lessons.

Board games teach kids how to fail (and that it’s okay)

This is hands down my favorite benefit, if we’re being honest. When kids learn how to fail and lose WELL, they have gained an invaluable life skill.

Learning how to fail isn’t something parents naturally teach their kids; they spend most of their time protecting them from failure.

But failure is a part of life. So is losing – you can’t always come out ahead, on top, or as #1.

One of the most beautiful board games benefits we have seen over the years is losing graciously and celebrating with the person (or people) who did better than you did.

Teaching your kids to high-five the winner and even compliment their strategy and skills after a round is a great way to teach them the important life lesson that it doesn’t diminish their self worth or detract from their identity just because someone else won.

Learning how to enjoy what others do (and not just your own “I want”s)

“What do you want to play?” he asked his little brother.

“Oooh, let’s play Qwirkle Rummy!”

“I don’t want to play that. I want to play .”

They stared at each other, as if they had just walked ten paces at high noon. It was clearly a stand-off.

The only thing they wanted more than to play a game was to play the game they preferred at that moment.

So we had a great talk about give and take, meeting in the middle, and compromise for the sake of relationship. We also talked about how fun is sometimes a choice.

Eventually they decided to play both! One today and the other tomorrow.

A valuable lesson we see played out often with board games is how to enjoy someone else’s choices because you are choosing to enjoy time with that person even more than focusing on how you’re spending that time.

Social Board Games Benefits

Board game playing is a great way to help outgoing kids enjoy other human beings of all ages (talk about great socialization – board games close age gaps!) and help shy children (and timid adults) spend time with peers, friends, and family members.

It’s a nice company activity and strengthen bonds between friends as they learn to overcome competition, communicate better, and work together. In social settings, having a focus such as playing a board game can help diminish anxiety and allow for stress free fun.

child winning a board game

Playing board games teaches healthy competition

It’s great for kids to learn to play games where there are winners and losers…and to have fun no matter which one you end up as in that particular game.

Healthy competition is excellent for character growth!

Playing board games encourages cooperation

Working together, compromising, and supporting one another (even in a competitive situation) is also helpful.

Board games have the potential to encourage cooperation and this is a great skill. Team games provide this, but it’s great for friends and siblings to be able to practice it at home, too.

Playing board games teaches taking turns

“Your turn!” my little one shouted gleefully.

She takes just as much delight in her own turn as she does in passing the spinner to the next person when we play Hi Ho Cherry-O together.

Taking turns might seem obvious on the surface, but kids more naturally gravitate to “I wanna go next!” than “Here, it’s your turn.” Board games help with that!

Educational Board Games Benefits

For more than a decade, educators have been studying the impact of games on kids and learning. The results have always been overwhelmingly positive!

Board games can provide students with opportunities to apply concepts they have learned. Board games promote collaboration, inquiry, and critical thinking. 

Annalisa Crews, Sep-Oct 2011, American Association of School Librarians

This is why many public libraries also have games available; don’t be afraid to head to yours and see what’s there before purchasing them for your own home.

Educational games show kids how to use what they’ve learned

“When will I ever use that?” is probably the most asked question a teacher hears in their career.

Admittedly, as a homeschooling mom, I hear it less because we look for ways to use what our kids are learning so they can see the immediate benefit.

Board games are a GREAT place for them to celebrate the skills and trivia they are picking up!

Learning board games promotes remembering and following instructions

Sometimes the benefits of a board game are as simple as your child learning to listen to the instructions, remember them, and then put them into play.

While that seems quite basic, it’s foundational to much of learning. And foundations should be laid with laughter whenever possible!

Playing games increases recall speed

Another fantastic academic skill that kids learn while playing games without even realizing it is the ability to recall. From a simple game of Memory to Slamwich to Zingo and beyond, recall is a part of many games.

board games benefits article featured image: board game pieces

Developmental Benefits of Board Games

There’s also a lot child learns when they are board game playing that you can’t see. Many board games will help with these developmental areas, not just obviously educational games.

Your kids work on problem skills, hone fine motor skills and hand eye coordination, develop cognitive skills, work on social skills, and the enjoyable learning experience is a great stress relief tool as well.

Even while they are practicing essential cognitive skills, they are learning skills for problem solving, working on memory formation, and even developing coping skills.

Laughter and fun are great at reducing stress and and amazing tool in everyday life to reduce stress in your kids. Creating a happy environment in your home filled with laughter and security may also help with that – and as simple as it seems, board game playing can be a big part of that.

Playing board games require focus and will help increase your child’s attention span, too. Even a simple board game can help with problem solving skills, cognitive function, brain development, decrease stress, give kids greater self esteem, and so on (sources: Your Therapy Source, Kinderpedia).

Enjoy the Benefits of Board Games in your home

With so many fantastic benefits when you play board games as a family, there’s no reason to hold off one more day! If you don’t already have a board game stash, go ahead and grab one of these top ten favorite board games

And then set aside time each day (we like to spend part of our homeschool day playing learning games – usually a math game, these days, to strengthen skills) or set up a family game night in the near future.

What are some of your favorite benefits to playing board games?

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