9 Ways Board Games Help in Child Development
What if we told you that there is more to Board Games than just being a source of entertainment? Board games are great for child development as they help in instilling thinking abilities and life skills at an early age. Don’t believe us? Kids learn better when they are engaged in a game and this is proven by science.
Research says, our brains are wired to experience things, and the ability to retain or recall this experience increases, when the learning was acquired in a playful manner.
Board games can turn your kid into a great professional, a well-informed strategist, an all-round critical thinker or a problem solver with an ability to deal with multiple aspects of any real-world scenario.
Games are a fun way of promoting these important skills into the children during their primitive years. Child Development is not only comprehensive but also engaging when board games form the crux of the learning activities.
There are multiple ways of incorporating board games to enhance child development and skill based training. Here is a list of skills that board games can teach the kids:
1.Logic, Strategy, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving:
One of the important skills that a kid can learn from board games is strategic and logical thinking. Some games require strategy and planning like Monopoly and Luma World’s Galaxy Raiders. In board games like these, a player needs to calculate and make a decision about each move.
They need to take into consideration various factors like analysing their opponent’s next move, risks involved, gains accrued or forsaken, how to reallocate resources or wealth and then combine strategies to predict a solution to take them closer to victory.
If you’re looking to boost critical thinking skills, choose a board game where there is strategy and problem solving in each round and also a clear growth trajectory, preferably with increased application every time they play .
2.Focus & Attention:
Did you know that there is more to playing than just having fun? There are so many skills acquired during play knowingly and unknowingly! One of the main ways board games help in child development is by improving focus, attention and concentration.
Kids are easily distracted but once they find something to keep them occupied and intellectually stimulated it is very difficult to pry them away from that activity. Every game comes with a series of rules and directions to follow, as a player keeping a track of your moves and that of your opponent’s moves to plan strategies is crucial and this needs focus.
Not paying enough attention can have consequences like losing points, getting penalised or, worse, losing the game. As a player, one needs to be extra attentive to figure out his opponent player’s move. These games subconsciously teach the kid to be focused and alert to all possibilities.
3.Patience & Perseverance:
Kids are impatient and constantly need to have their energies channeled. The biggest challenge as a parent or a teacher is to teach kids to be patient and provide them with engaging activities that will not only keep them occupied but also teach them to be diligent. Board Games are an excellent mode of teaching patience and perseverance during the important years of child development.
The main aspect of board games is to play your turn and then patiently wait for your chance to return. During this period, players are forced to analyse what opponents are doing but also plot their own strategies towards victory. In fact patience starts even before the game is played while listening to the terms of the game, understanding various components and rules and finally absorbing the challenges and paths to victory.
Once the game has commenced then it is the question of persevering when things aren’t going according to plan or even while dealing with unforeseen circumstances or sudden twists. These are all actions that demand diligence, tolerance and calm.
Take for example the game of Chess; it takes time to play the game and master it, a player needs to concentrate and plan strategy. Patience is a virtue for dealing with life’s adversaries both personally and professionally.
4.Collaboration & Co-operation:
Some games call for more than one player or require players to collaborate to win the game, thus teaching the kids to bond and work together to achieve a common goal. When kids collaborate, they become better listeners and communicators as they start accepting thoughts and opinions different to their own in order to achieve victory.
It’s a great moment in a child’s development while playing a board game to be accepting of ideas that are different to one’s own and to learn and benefit from this variety of strategy and action. Every round of play soon becomes a well-thought, collective surge forward subliminally teaching children the nuances of teamwork.
Board Games are built around resources, which are often limited. Using these limited resources a player needs to manage to play as well as win. These resources often are in the form of coins, currencies or points, which needs to be thoughtfully planned and then invested during the play.
Through games, you can teach important business lessons and leadership skills like negotiations, handling teams, and working with limited resources. These valuable lessons stay with the kids forever.
We have seen how to develop thinking skills through board games. Often the focus when we say “thinking” moves to cognitive activities or strategy. An important intellectual thinking skill that is often on the back-burner is creative thinking. Games play a crucial role in developing creative thinking in kids.
Some games put players in a situation where they are forced to use their creativity, and think out of the box to find a solution. Many games also come with a time limit, because adding a time limit allows our creative juices to flow in abundance. Even the themes, storylines and overall design aesthetic of the game help in improving their creativity and allowing them to imagine endless possibilities.
7.Negotiation & Communication:
Some board games are about negotiation and making deals. Some games like Payday make the players negotiate with other players. Having clear negotiation talks with other players is a great way of networking. It teaches the kids to effectively communicate with their peers and make deals and alliances, thus preparing them for their future roles at the workplace.
8.Social Skills & Interaction :
The social benefits of board games might be the most subtle but probably the most relevant in today’s age. With the world in turmoil because of the pandemic, most of our communication has shifted from the physical world to the virtual one. Technology has taken the centre stage when connecting, interacting and bonding with people.
There hasn’t been a more appropriate time than now to incorporate board games in our lives, as they are great activities that promote bonhomie and help to liven the mood. Board games help create a relaxed environment and help in developing and strengthening social bonds. The kids learn to communicate, interact and even negotiate better through games. And what more, it can be an ideal leisure activity for the family to unwind in these stressful times.
Often there are strategies to be made as a team, where communication is a key aspect. Only when the player can communicate his thoughts and opinions clearly with the team, will they be able to come on to a solution.
This enhances the kid’s social interaction by making him open for a face-to-face conversation. Having an ability to communicate freely and clearly is a crucial skill especially at the workplace.
9.Games help in reading people:
Reading people is an essential skill both for personal as well as professional life. The ability to see and analyse people’s body language, eye movements and tone of voice is important for having an ideal communication and for making decisions.
When kids play board games they are reading their opponent’s body language, expression and analysing their next move. Based on these observations they often decide their own moves and begin to predict their opponents reactions or counter-reactions.
The ability to identify people’s expression, body language and tone of the voice is an important life skill. It helps in dealing with people and situations both in personal and professional life. The skill is a precursor to negotiation that will be a crucial human skill of the future.
To summarise, you will notice how a lot of the skills veer away from technical or academic knowledge provided by games but rather focus on important interpersonal skills. These will be the skills necessary in the future as artificial intelligence and machine learning takes over many human jobs, it is our interpersonal skills that will be valuable on our resume and help us to perform functions across different domains and verticals.
Introduce your kid to the world of board games and prepare them for the world of tomorrow. As a famous game designer once said: Roll the dice, pick the card, place the tile and wait for the magic to happen.
This blog was written by Rekha Shetty.