Board games can help connect family and friends in ways that video games can’
Playing board games gets everyone in the same room and helps family members across generations connect, compete, and have a great time together. Board games are easy, inexpensive, and have benefits well beyond the activity itself. Games are an entertaining and painless way to help kids build essential learning skills on the sly or by accidental learning, which means there’s no anxiety or resistance.
The book “Family Treasures: Creating Strong Families” by John DeFrain, covers six qualities that strong, successful families around the world exhibit: enjoyable time together; appreciation and affection for each other; positive communication; spiritual well-being (values, beliefs, life skills); successful management of stress and crisis; and commitment to each other.
If we don’t carve out time as a family, none of those traits will be achieved. Those traits are built in a scaffolding manner – one brings the other. Board games foster that face-to-face time interaction needed to connect deeply with each other and to develop the other traits of strong families.
Social and emotional health – Research shows the link between social and emotional skills and school success is so strong that it is a greater predictor of children’s academic performance than their family background and cognitive abilities. Learning is a social process. Children cannot learn if they struggle with following directions, getting along with their peers and controlling their emotions in any setting.
Every face-to-face game provides a ‘social experiment’ where players learn self-regulation and social skills to play successfully with others, a lot goes on under the surface, even when playing the simplest of games. Children identify and regulate their emotions and behavior, learn to calm down when upset without hurting others, and learn how to win – or lose – with grace and good manners.
Playing games fosters persistence, a willingness to try new things, conversation, cooperative play and thinking of appropriate solutions to conflict. Games also help children learn to interpret others’ behavior and emotions, and can reinforce children’s feeling good about themselves and others.
Basic math concepts – Even some of the simplest board games give children a sense of numbers. For example, the numeral 4 represents four objects, which is greater than 3 and less than 5. Some games introduce geometry concepts with shapes and patterns, how to classify items