Toys are not just fun but an important instrument of learning and growing. They support a child’s development in many ways and helps it master new skills. For preschoolers, board games are a useful learning tool. They help develop both social and intellectual skills.
Social skill development includes the inclination to follow rules, win and lose gracefully and bond with other players. Since board games are typically played with family members, it helps foster quality family time. Intellectual benefits of introducing a child to board games include outcomes such as better recognition of patterns, development of logical reasoning and understanding about cause and effect.
Studies have reported that children exposed to board games from an early age develop better critical thinking skills. Games like Scrabble can be used to enhance a child’s verbal skills while games such as Snakes and Ladders help develop number skills. Chess improves logical reasoning while Monopoly can be used to teach older children about financial principles.
However, playing games is not a means to an end. The primary objective of board games, just like all toys, must be to enjoy oneself. Nothing should be forced onto a child unless he/she is ready for it. But when the child is, board games can offer unending fun all the while improving academic performance.
Note: This article is the first part of a three part series on board games. To know more, watch out for the next two parts of the board games series.
Part 2: Tips to teach children to play board games
Part 3: Answers to some practical questions about playing board games with children