I grew up in a game-playing family. A love for playing cards and board games seems to be embedded in our DNA. Lazy summer afternoons were spent laughing over a game of Scattergories or Balderdash with cousins. I learned the ins and outs of Hearts, Canasta, and the “Dice Game” from grandparents, aunts, and uncles. In my immediate family we have a years-long Euchre rivalry (kids currently besting parents, if memory serves). So, it is with quite a bit of joy and a nod to my game loving relatives that I’ve realized that my newly minted 3 year old really likes games.
As it turns out, games are good for him as well.
- Board games help kids learn skills like number, letter, and shape recognition, and counting in a way that is little more subtle (and a lot more fun) than flash cards.
- A family game night is a great way for parents to help kids learn social skills like taking turns, following rules, and being a good sport (win or lose).
- Games help kids learn to think strategically and plan ahead.
- Advocates of game-based learning say that one great benefit is that games allow a child to fail and start over without criticism. We know from Carol Dweck and others that it’s actually good for kids to experience some failure and learn to try again. Games are a great, innocuous way to help kids learn to think creatively and take risks without fear of failure.
- Finally, board games are a wonderful way for families spend some quality, intentional time talking and laughing together. Today’s electronic gadgets can be great in a lot of ways, but they are generally a pretty solitary activity. Whenever you can, turn them off and plan an old-school game night.
So far we’ve really enjoyed Zingo, Uno Moo, Memory-like matching games, and puzzles. What are your family’s favorite games?
**Disclosure: I have no financial relationship with any of the games or sites mentioned in the post.