There are many benefits of playing board games, particularly with children, but also for everyone involved. Personally, I have found it a fantastic way to connect with my own children and they never pass up the opportunity to play a board game with me.
'What your child wants and needs is to be with you with no goal in mind beyond they joy of spending time together. They want you to take pleasure in them, play and listen. Nothing bolsters their self esteem more. Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. As an added bonus, board games are also rich in learning opportunities. They satisfy your child's competitive urges and the desire to master new skills and concepts, such as:
- Number and shape recognition, grouping and counting.
- Letter recognition and reading
- Visual perception and colour recognition
- Eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity.
Games don't need to be overtly academic to be educational. Just by virtue of playing them, board games can teach important social skills, such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns and enjoying interaction with others. Board Games can foster the ability to focus, lengthening your child's attention span by encouraging the completion of an exciting and enjoyable game. Board games can help your child weave their wild side into a more organised, mature and socially acceptable personality. After all, staying within the boundaries is crucial to leading a successful social and academic life.
At the age of 3, 4 or even 5, winning is critical to a feeling of mastery, so its OK to help them win. At age 5, they have more sophisticated thinking skills and can begin to incorporate and exercise their number, letter and word knowledge and by age 6, children may prefer more cognitively challenging games which require and help develop planning, strategy, persistence and critical thinking skills' (www.scholistic.com)
There are many games available, but these are just a few of our favourites. Zingo from Thinkfun is a bingo-style matching game which encourages matching skills and quick thinking. Labyrinth from Ravensburger are games that allow the child to cope with change and they teach spatial relations and rely on some manual dexterity. Make and Break also from Ravensburger is a game of manual dexterity, spatial awareness and matching. There are many more games available from ages 2-3 and up which can help with child development all the while having fun with the family.