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How board games can improve social skills in children

Board games and kids' social skills

Board games are great for teaching kids and their families how to interact with each other, communicate, problem-solve, and work collaboratively. They can also teach kids how to play fair and learn what winning and losing is like. Many board games require a child to count, whether moving game pieces, rolling dice, or keeping score. They also help develop numeracy skills and reading comprehension.

Encourages communication

We tend to think of board games as fun and entertaining, but they can also support the children’s development of critical social skills. That is because they encourage kids to interact with each other face-to-face, which is essential for boosting their confidence and creating lasting relationships.

Children who play together learn to listen, take turns, and cooperate. They can practice their communication skills by discussing the rules of a game before they start playing. This teaches them how to express their opinions and thoughts in a respectful way, which will help them as they grow older.

Many board games encourage the use of basic math skills, like counting cards or dice rolls. This can help to improve a child’s hand-eye coordination as they move pieces around the board.

Similarly, board games can encourage creative problem-solving skills. For example, some games may require players to work out the fastest way to win, which can involve planning a strategy and analyzing other players’ moves. This can teach children how to think logically and solve problems quickly.

Helps coordination

The games encourage coordination among kids by asking them to follow simple rules. This helps kids develop hand-eye coordination, logical reasoning, imagination use, and other essential skills that they need to learn in life.

Kids also learn how to take turns, be patient and cooperate with others while playing board games. This is a great way to teach them how to deal with various social situations in the future. They can practice their social skills at playdates, school, or group work.

Moreover, some of the best gifts for board game lovers for children also encourage cognitive flexibility, an essential skill for kids. This allows them to cope with a loss or defeat without frustration. Kids can even learn to think of alternative ways to solve problems without getting mad. This is an essential skill for children to learn and is encouraged by many educational board games, such as the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game. Other games such as Candyland and Chutes and Ladders also help develop this skill.

Teamwork focus

Board games are a great way to encourage teamwork in a fun and low-pressure environment. Unlike sports or playing an instrument, board games allow children to interact with other children without feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed. In addition, the structure of a board game makes it easier for kids to follow a plan and work together. This helps to build trust and social skills.

Playing board games also teaches children how to take turns and be respectful of others. This is important because it can be challenging to get along with people if you are disrespectful or don’t take turns. It also helps to learn how to lose gracefully and be happy for the winners. This valuable lesson will serve them well in school and the workplace.

Besides teaching kids how to work with others, playing board games improves their concentration skills. They have to be able to switch off their phones or other distractions while playing the game, and they need to be able to focus on one task at a time. This can help them in school and the working world, where they will likely be involved in group projects.

Better flexibility

We often think of playing games as an activity that is purely for entertainment, but there are so many other benefits! Playing helps children practice cognitive flexibility and problem-solving, skills useful in social situations.

For example, if your child is competitive, board games can help him develop flexibility regarding sharing and compromising with other players. Also, if your child’s game doesn’t go their way, board games can teach them to handle disappointment without flipping out. Over time, your child will be able to develop patience and perseverance—both important traits for developing close relationships in school and life.

Recently, board games have introduced cooperative elements, boosting a child’s social development. In addition, cooperative play can replace the neurotransmitter reward of winning at the expense of others with a different feeling of success associated with working together. It’s a great way to teach kids the value of teamwork, an essential skill for high school, college, and the working world!

Encourages cooperation

In a world where good manners and respect seem to be a thing of the past, children need to learn that they can achieve more by working together. Board games can help them learn these essential social skills, serving them well as they enter adulthood.

Kids who play cooperative board games develop these skills by learning to take turns, communicate with other players and follow game rules. The result can be better performance in school and the workplace.

The team-oriented nature of cooperative board games also encourages the development of critical thinking skills. Kids must consider each other’s perspectives and weigh arguments when deciding what action to take. One study found that kids playing competitive versions of Mastermind, a classic code-breaking board game where players compete to guess the sequence of hidden colors, had more one-sided arguments than kids playing a cooperative version (Domberg et al. 2016).

Collaborative board games like Hoot Owl Hoot!, Count Your Chickens, and Settlers of Catan replace the competitive aspect with a focus on cooperation.

15 thoughts on “How board games can improve social skills in children”

  1. Great post Christy. Board games are more relevant than ever, due to cyber world.
    Good sportsmanship and human contact come to mind first. All you have said here is right on.
    Then of course, many adults have become children, with internet. Inability to spell comes to mind immediately. Spell check is handy, but makes arbitrary mistakes. It seems no one can spell anymore.
    Scrabble is a great game for older children and adults alike.
    Trivial Pursuit challenges basic history and other knowledge.
    You need to have some learned knowledge, not just a search engine at your fingertips. What about one’s own mind engine?
    Remember that there’s a lot of misinformation on line. I have bumped into “facts” that I know are not facts.

    1. You’re making many good points here, Resa! Boardgames for the win, in many ways. The lessons depend on the game, and if nothing else it gets the player off the computer for a bit, giving the eyes a rest and forcing the brain to work more.

    2. Agree!
      I came back to Art Gowns for a bit, to work on a post. LOL! Wish I could figure how to consolidate into 1 blog. However, I haven’t quite figured it yet. xx

  2. Hi Christy, I read this post and had a good chuckle. I remember having a real set to with a friend over a board game. I can remember shouting and pulling his hair. I’m sure he reciprocated the same way. I never was good at teamwork 😉

  3. I totally agree with all of this! It’s always been special family time with our kids and now our grandkids, after dinner digging out the Clue board, which is our favorite game and really teaches the kids about deductive reasoning! Plus, it’s all fun!

  4. I always teach my pre-k kids to play candy land with me, for this reason. we talk about it before and learn many things as we play.

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