How Educational Board Games For Kids Stimulate Brain Function
Playing board games develops many visual, perceptual, and cognitive skills. For example, playing a game like Set teaches kids to see patterns in visual images, and the classic Operation teaches children fine motor control, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination.
A successful board game player can focus on the game’s length and respond to other players’ actions. This is a skill that can help with learning in other academic areas. Some researchers have found that kids who play educational board games experience better results on academic tests than those who don’t play board games.
Other research has shown that playing board games can help develop other cognitive skills, such as Memory, reasoning, and planning. Board games like Memory are excellent for boosting your child’s working Memory, which is the ability to retain information long enough to manipulate and respond.
Other great educational board games for kids include Wordical, which teaches children to build words by matching vowel and consonant cards. It also helps with color recognition, counting, and early addition.
Whether they’re putting together a 1,000-piece image of the Eiffel Tower or assembling a Connect 4 board, working on a jigsaw puzzle can help improve focus, Memory, and concentration. “Jigsaw puzzles involve various cognitive skills, including spatial awareness, predicting patterns, and connecting information,” writes the National Institute on Aging.
A good rule of thumb is to play a jigsaw puzzle every two weeks, says the NIA. Adding more complex or challenging puzzles can help your kids develop their brain’s working Memory, which allows them to remember and process information quickly.
The NIA suggests regular physical exercise, which can boost circulation and oxygen to the brain and body and improve brain function. For example, studies show high-school athletes who sustained aerobic practice throughout the school year improved their IQ and academic performance.
Socialization and communication are essential to brain workouts, too. Games encouraging interaction, such as the classic Operation or the herbalist-themed game Set, can teach your children turn-taking, patience, and how to lose gracefully (instead of stomping off the table). Kids struggling with striking up conversation may find engaging in structured, chatty activities like board games easier.
If your kids play games such as Life Junior or Monopoly Junior, they’ll get plenty of working memory practice. Working Memory is the ability to hold information in mind long enough to manipulate and respond to it.
Some board games offer meta-messages that help kids understand the importance of hard work and perseverance. Others, such as Chess, teach children the value of planning and thinking ahead. Even the simple game of Connect 4 teaches children how to form a line of four colored pieces in any direction.
Most board games provide fun opportunities for kids to improve their hand-eye coordination and dexterity while working on motor skills and spatial awareness. They also practice determining colors, counting spaces, and following the game’s rules. Educational board games can be a sneaky way for school-aged kids to work on critical academic skills they’re struggling with. This is known as “gameschooling”.
When families gather over cozy Friday nights and long holiday weekends, it’s easy for kids to be distracted by a mind-numbing game of Chutes and Ladders or Monopoly. But educational board games can help kids improve their concentration — the ability to hold on to pieces of information long enough to manipulate them or respond appropriately.
Consider a strategy-based game like Chess, which challenges kids to think ahead and plan multiple moves in their head. Or, try a puzzle game such as Boggle, where players try to find as many words in adjacent dice as possible in three minutes and record them on paper. Or, give traditional Jenga a twist by adding questions to each block that kids must answer before placing it on top.
These learning games also offer a valuable meta-message to kids: Your luck can change instantly. That’s a skill they may need to practice when things don’t go their way at school or in social situations. It’s a far better alternative to stomping off and closing their bedroom door.
Helps With Attention Deficit Disorder
When kids play board games with their families, they learn to take turns, be patient, and work as a team. This can help them develop and practice these skills in the real world when working on group projects at school or preparing presentations.
Additionally, playing board games can increase a child’s focus and lengthen their attention span. This is especially true if they are played without any interruptions or distractions. The brain is also stimulated by playing board games, and the benefits extend into adulthood.
Other board games can also help to strengthen cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, reasoning, and logical analysis. For example, a popular game called Balderdash involves students creating definitions for obscure or little-used English words. Then, players read the definitions and vote for what they think is correct. The game also improves grammar by encouraging students to pay attention to their spelling and grammatical structure.