Have fun (and learn) with board games!

Have fun (and learn) with board games!


By Andrew Katen


Who doesn’t remember hours of fun playing board games with parents or friends when we were kids? 

Monopoly®, chess, checkers, Trivial Pursuit®, Scrabble® and countless other games kept us busy in the evenings, on rainy days or during visits to the grandparents. 

Although video games seem to have edged out this “old school” tradition, board games continue to be popular among adults and kids. And in today’s busy world of email, cell phones and Facebook, board games are still a perfect way to bring together and reconnect family members.

Beyond relationship building and just plain old fun, board games also deliver many educational and developmental benefits for kids and adults, as described here, here and here. For example, board games:

  • Teach important social skills (communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns and enjoying interaction with others), as well as self-control and sportsmanship.
  • Improve focus and attention span.
  • Encourage persistence.
  • Exercise literacy skills (number, letter and word knowledge).
  • Strengthen cognitive skills:
    • Number and shape recognition, grouping and counting.
    • Letter recognition and reading.
    • Visual perception and color recognition.
    • Eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity.
  • Scaffold planning, strategy development and critical thinking.
  • Increase subject matter knowledge related to geography, history, political science, natural science, literature, current affairs, etc.

So tonight or this weekend, consider turning off the TV, putting away the video games and dusting off an old favorite from the box in the back of the closet. You may be surprised how much you enjoy “kinging” a checker piece, building a hotel on Park Place or moving your army to conquer Europe!

No doubt the flood of memories from your childhood will mix with the pleasure of seeing your children experience the same enjoyment. Moreover, you’ll likely have so much fun that you actually forget about all the new “tracks” your brain is laying as it flexes to learn (or remember) new challenges. 

Have fun! 

Challenge: Play a board game this week with your partner, kids or friends!

Andrew and Dr. Katrina Katen are a husband and wife team whose love for learning, education and life enrichment inspired the founding of Inner Compass, a place in Grand Junction for self-discovery, education and successful living. Visit them at: www.myinnercompass.org.

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