By Ryan Gutowski of One Board Family
As a kid, I loved learning new games from my grandmother. Most of the time they were simple card games, but it didn’t change the fact that I was actually learning some pretty important life lessons around that dining room table. Taking time to play games with family has some tremendous benefits that can make more of an impression than we realize.
Here are some benefits of gaming with our kids that we’ve seen over the past decade:
Math, Science & Reading Skills
Board and card games are excellent at reinforcing some of the skills that our kids are learning in the classroom or in the home school setting. Companies such as Genius Games have made it their mission to educate players while simultaneously creating fun interactions playing modern board games. They have built games around areas of Science and History that are not only fun to play but also have educational value.
Taking time to play word games with kids can be a huge benefit to expanding their vocabulary. Classics like Scrabble and Upwords, along with modern games like Bananagrams, Paperback and Composition, are fun and encourage kids to broaden their ELA skills.
We’ve regularly encouraged our kids over the years to calculate scores while playing games to help them with their basic math skills. Nowadays there are many resources available for parents who are looking to incorporate board games into homeschool curriculum, a concept that has been called “Gameschooling.
Over the past decade, cooperative board games have become widely available with various different themes. Co-op games cover eradicating viruses in the game Pandemic, escaping from a hostile environment in Forbidden Desert, going on space missions in The Crew, or even reliving a piece of fictional history in Black Orchestra.
Cooperative games hold a lot of value when teaching kids how to work as a team and help them realize that what they bring to the table is important to achieving victory. Often we find that this style of game helps if a child has a hard time losing or even when a sibling is a boastful winner. A cooperative game gives you a chance to win or lose as a team and solve a problem as a family unit.
A Return to Analog
So many devices and platforms are competing for our attention. Our three teenage kids need a break from their devices just as much as we adults do. Scheduling a game night where the devices are put away can be an excellent break from distractions. Board games offer a return to analog gaming that some of our kids aren’t used to.
Growing up in the ’80s meant video and board games were a regular part of my childhood. It’s only in the past 5 years where my focus has returned to board games over video games. There is something tactile to moving tokens, rolling dice and strategizing around the table. Board and card games offer us face time that has become rarer in our digital world.
Time with our kids is precious and our family has made so many memories around board and card games. We’ve learned more about our kids and even taught them life lessons using simple cardboard and dice. Instead of having a device blocking our view of one another, plan time around the table to game as a family.
Ryan Gutowski is the father of three kids living in Columbus, GA. He and his wife Erin started One Board Family in 2016 with the hope of helping families make memories around board games. You can find board game suggestions and features focused on family gaming at www.oneboardfamily.com.