Why Should You Play Board Games with Your Kids?

Learn what games you should play and why.

Cherylyn Feierabend
3-minute read
Episode #133

Why Should You Play Board Games with Your Kids?

When I was young my favorite game to play was Chess. Mostly I played against my older brother. He dominated that game, but that never seemed to shake me. I always knew I could out-word him in Scrabble. We were very lucky to have each other because playing board games was one of our favorite pastimes. I look forward to teaching my children how to play these games and I’m hopeful that they will want to play too.

Who am I kidding? My kids already love playing board games of all kinds! This is a wonderful thing because board games can bring people closer together, help children learn, and of course, they are fun!

Why Should You Play Board Games with Your Kids?

Board games are great for teaching kids of all ages many different types of things. I mentioned Scrabble earlier which happens to be my favorite game of all time. Scrabble, Boggle, and other word games are great for challenging the minds of kids and adults. Spelling words and using strategy are both factors when playing these types of games and can help strengthen brain skills in those areas. For younger children, games such as Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are still classics and great for learning colors and directional skills. Another game we have is Hi Ho Cherry-O and it’s great for counting. We recently found Hungry Hungry Hippos on sale. That is another great counting game, but it sure is noisy! Now, I’m not advertising these games, I’m simply using them as examples of what is out there. I could list hundreds of games and tell you what types of skills can be learned from them, but I’m sure you get the idea. The most important things I feel my children are learning from playing these games are taking turns, patience, and teamwork.

Family Game Nights

If you have more than one child, I absolutely recommend that you encourage them to play board games together-- but playing as a family is even better. Similarly, if you have an only child, you can certainly encourage him to play games with his friends, but again, family game time is special. This is a great time for families to bond and enjoy each other’s company. I mentioned playing some games with my older brother, but I also remember game nights where my mom and dad would get involved too. We’d often play Clue or Rummy Tile. We’d play games at home or on camping trips. I’m sure I was learning things and having fun, but I most remember how much I enjoyed just hanging out with my parents.

I highly recommend arranging family game nights with your kids, no matter what ages they are. It’s a great time to check in with each other and just have some fun. While I do admit that my husband and I often play video games with our kids, we still strive to make the time for board games as well. A lot can be said about the face-to-face time you have with your children. I know video games are fun, but we aren’t looking at each other or even talking to each other most of the time because we are focusing on the TV or computer screen. With board games you are almost always sitting in a circle, facing one another. That is much better for family togetherness time.

Have Fun!

So, now we get to the most important part of game playing. Have fun! Remember, this is a time for everyone to chill out, relax, and enjoy themselves and each other’s company. Try to avoid going all competitive on one another, unless that’s what you all enjoy. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to win at least sometimes. If that means playing different games so that everyone has a chance to excel, then make it so.

It’s definitely OK to lose once in a while, but if one person never gets to be the winner, that person may not enjoy playing after a while. So, if you aren’t already playing board games with your kids, now is the time. Dig them out of the closet and dust them off. Set up some family game time and have some fun! You’ll be creating wonderful memories, challenging minds both young and old (well maybe not THAT old), and most importantly, having a great time with your loved ones.

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Family Game Night image from Shutterstock