Board Games For Kids: Do They Have Educational Benefits?
‘Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their mind, heart and souls meet.’ - Virgina Axline (Psychologist)
Monopoly, Guess Who? , Sequence, Game of Life, Business, etc. are some of the board game names that instantly take us on a nostalgic trip to our childhood. They were, and some still are, an important part of every child’s growing up years. Board games are packed with educational benefits and fun. Often, the inclusion of board games during the early years of development leads to a lifelong benefit.
So, what makes board games so important? Is it the engagement while playing these games? Or is it that board games provide a holistic package of educational benefits, learning and family recreational time? We are going to find out about all these and more.
We are in conversation with Mrs. Bhuvaneshwari Raman, Master Teacher Trainer and Academic Strategy Consultant to find out the importance of board games and their educational benefit.
Are board games important?
Absolutely! They are important for many reasons. Board games are both fun and educational. Firstly, it is a great way of teaching educational, motor and social skills to the kids.
Secondly, board games provide entertainment for the entire family. They make family time, fun time. Kids and parents or kids and their peers spend quality time, thus building a great bond.
Board games for kids. Do they have educational benefits?
Definitely. There are a lot of board games that help children learn various concepts like operations, numbers, and mental math. Board games like Monopoly that have been around since the 1900’s teach children money transactions while games like Battleship teach logic and Galaxy Raiders by Luma World teaches numbers, mathematical operations and arithmetic ways of calculation. They are excellent brain games for kids to explore.
Do board games also help in social skills?
In today's world, there is an increasing level of isolation among the children due to the longer screen-time. Therefore, they need to develop the socio-emotional connect. Board games help the kids in collaboration and build the social bond with their peer group. Children can communicate better with their peer group or an adult in a stress-free environment and develop a sense of team spirit.
According to the studies, introducing kids to board games at a young age develops career / real-life problem-solving skills. Is this true?
There are no two ways about it. As an adult, some of the important skills that you would need are logical and critical thinking and problem solving. Board games are designed to bring out these skills. Inculcating the habit of playing board games since childhood develops an attitude of looking at a problem with intent of finding a solution through using logical and critical ways of analyzing the problem.
Through these games kids understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy competition. It also teaches the kids to take failure/losing to someone in a positive way.
While buying a board game, what are the features that parents should look for in the game?
Parents have to look at what skills the child will pick up on playing the board game, academically as well as values. The board game should be such that it cultivates an interest in the child to want to play it again and again. It must necessarily be age-appropriate with components being child-friendly and non-toxic.
As an educator, do you think including board games in the classroom can increase the learning efficiency of the kids?
I strongly believe that using board games will help in the teaching-learning process. Through board games, the children can understand the concepts with greater clarity. They will also be able to apply their learning not only in the game but also in real-life situations. As educators, this is exactly what we aim for.
Which board games would you recommend for kids to play?
I have quite a few favorite games, but if I have to choose then I would select Battleship and Maths Games by Luma World. They have games like Galaxy Raiders and Guess The Fence. These are activity boxes for kids with a special focus on maths that promotes holistic development of children through experiential learning and makes academics easy to learn and understand.
One parenting tip that you would like to give to parents.
Your child is precious. Spend quality time with your child; inculcate qualities like integrity, humility and empathy in him/her as this lays a strong foundation in developing his/ her character and value system.
Can you put some light on play-based learning? What is play-based learning?
Play is important to healthy brain learning. It has a positive influence on the children's social, physical, cognitive and emotional development. Children can develop a lot of skills through play- social skills, communication skills, logic, creativity, problem solving and others.
A kid’s brain works best in a non-threatened environment and while children are engaged in playing, they feel a sense of security. They are happy and absolutely non-threatened.
How much do Board Games help in family-bonding time?
Children grow into healthy and happy individuals when they feel loved and have an environment that is safe and stimulating. Family time is an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with the children to bond.
A close bond makes the kid comfortable in sharing everything with their parents, be it a good deed that they did or a bad day in school or bullying or a favourite meal at school. Playing board games with the children brings in an element of fun, healthy competition, develops critical thinking and creative skills. They also understand that winning and losing are part of the game.
In today’s world where more and more kids are glued to screens, can board games be a good alternative for the screen time? And how?
Technology is good when it is used in the right dosage. The right amount of screen time differs as per the child's age. So, an alternate to the screen time that is engaging and highly beneficial for children is the board game. Board Games are fun, interactive and full of learning. There are excellent board games that teach children various aspects of planning, creating and strategising. A few board games in the market are also aligned to the curriculum. These become hands-on tools for learning and at the same time keep the curious minds engaged and glued.