I started my children playing board games when they were really young. Some of their favorites when they were little were Uno Moo, Zingo, Candyland and Richard Scary’s Busytown. I grew up playing games and wanted the same for my kids. As a teacher, I was often amazed at how many kindergartners entered my class and had never played a board game or made a puzzle. Both of these fun activities for kids encourage logical mathematical thinking. They also work on being a good winner and a good loser, these are skills that children need in life, that are so often not taught.
As my children got older, we started playing games every night before they go to bed. When we were packing to move, we had over 2 LARGE moving boxes just full of games, and we play them all. I’m always looking for different games that will be fun for all four of us. We are all competitive, and enjoy winning, but the children have learned to be both gracious winners and losers.
When the children were young we taught them it was ok to lose. There were a few times when we would lose on purpose, but not very often. This is not because I wanted to “beat my children in every game we play!” I’m not that competitive, but they needed to learn fair play. They needed to see that there is strategy to winning. They needed to see how games are really played. So yes, most of the times they lost, and often still lose, but they lost with grace. They learned to say good game after playing when they were very young (2 and 3). They don’t have to say it now, but there is still that implied reaction to playing. They learn to say good move when someone does something that is impressive.
When the children were younger, and even now when learning to play a new game, Richard and I will talk through the strategies used to play. There is a lot of thinking involved in game playing and if you don’t teach the strategies, they will not get better at playing games. They need to see that you have to often think a few steps ahead and not just move by move. They have to see that sometimes you have to sacrifice one play to set up for another one.
All these skills are ones we as adults use in every day life. We have to use the planning ahead when looking at schedules, budgets and other day to day items. We have to sacrifice one thing for another. We have to see that others can make good moves that might not be helpful to use, but we should still acknowledge the good move.
So get out a deck of cards, your old monopoly boards and any other games you like and play with your kids. It’s never too early or too late to start a love of board games.
Need a board game suggestion? Ask, I have just a few!