This post is brought to you by Victoria Berman.Vicky is a Food & Lifestyle Blogger at AvocadoPesto, where she specializes in healthy living and healthy cooking. She is also a world traveler and has visited over 60 countries.
With the exception of sledding and other snow day activities, there isn’t a lot for kids to do outside during cold winter days. However, keeping them busy inside doesn’t mean turning on the TV.
From developing new skills to spending quality time with family, board games offer plenty of benefits for children.
Playing board games with your kids will not only teach them about aspiration, success, and disappointment but also help them acquire experience with both winning and losing.
Here are 10 surprising benefits of board games.
#1: Improved Social Skills
Playing board games is important for the development of your child’s social skills. It’s a great environment of motivation and competition that promotes verbal expression while forming qualities like determination and patience.
Memory and concentration are enhanced by focusing on the game as the children must remember the rules and when it is their turn to make a quick move.
If you think kids are too little for board games, rest assured that there are a lot of board games for kids where players work together to reach a goal despite the numerous obstacles presented in the game. As an engaging, cooperative game, your child won’t get bogged down in competing, but rather have the opportunity to practice their social skills.
#2: Increased Attention Span
A study showed that board game players had decreased gray matter in the amygdala and increased gray matter in the nucleus accumbens, as compared to novices.
The amygdala is a set of neurons located deep in the medial temporal lobe of our brain. It’s part of the limbic system, which is responsible for promoting emotions. A reduction in gray matter in the amygdala means increased calmness and stress reduction.
On the other hand, the nucleus accumbens is the area of our brain that processes environmental stimuli concerning unpleasant or rewarding experiences. Its functioning is based on the neurotransmitters serotonin (promotes inhibition and satiety) and dopamine (promotes desire). An increase in gray matter in the nucleus accumbens enables more enthusiasm and positive experiences.
The more experience your kids have focusing on the game, the longer their attention spans will grow.
#3: Improvements In Critical Thinking
As children get older, board games can be used as part of the program of developing critical thinking skills.
It’s a known fact that middle school students are able to make tangible improvements in problem-solving ability when they’re taught basic principles of critical thinking.
Therefore, if you use board games combined with lessons on basic logic, hypothesis testing, and other topics, it will help your kids learn interesting new ways to practice their reasoning skills.
#4: More Family Time
Today, spending some uninterrupted time with your family may seem impossible, thanks to the different schedules each member has. However, board games can bring families together.
The face-to-face interaction involved in playing board games builds a sense of connection. It helps to build a foundation of trust, which only strengthens the family bonding.
As you play and have fun together with your child, you both release endorphins that promote empathy. Also, playing board games lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress levels.
#5: Actions and Consequences
Your actions may have positive and/or negative consequences for yourself and/or others. Board games provide kids with a closed environment where the “cause” and “effect” can be tracked more easily. However, they help build a mindset that will help your kids think about the consequences of their actions in the real world.
#6: What It’s Like to Lose
Losing might not be a pleasant feeling, but winning to a sore loser is even worse.
Winning something fair and square makes us truly enjoy that moment. It feels earned. There’s no need to explain the victory or console others. Kids who play board games and are often challenged, they begin to learn that it is okay to lose sometimes. Losing can serve as a motivational drive, meaning it will only encourage your child to come back stronger and better. Now that’s a very important lesson for our children.
Board games teach our children to be patient.
Not only do children need to wait for their turn when playing board games, but they must also be patient while someone else is taking their turn. Patience is also part of getting ready for the play and setting up.
#8: Less Screen Time
Board games are an effective cure for a world that is distracted by blinking screens 24/7.
You can set up the game anywhere you want, indoors or outdoors. They are great alternatives for a group of friends sitting around and discussing what to do while constantly being sucked into their phone screens.
Board games create lots of fun moments while also bringing opportunities for spending time constructively.
#9: Anxiety Relief
Board games can help anxious children learn how to navigate friendships more easily. The game is highly structured, and therefore, can provide a more convenient way to develop interpersonal relationships with peers as the child knows what is expected of them.
For children who struggle with starting conversations with others, board games promote structured opportunities for speech
#10: Distinct Boundaries
Board games have distinct boundaries.
We live in a complex society. Our children need definite limits to feel safe and secure. By limiting the playing field—much as football fields and tennis courts will do later— board games help your kids weave their erratic and wild side into a more organized, socially acceptable personality.
Playing board games is a great opportunity for your child to connect with you and other kids. It helps to showcase a creative side of personality in a non-intrusive way, which can be helpful for the “quiet types”.
Board games are an excellent tool for shy kids and timid adults. Playing the game pushes them to build a stronger sense of individuality and creativity that leads to greater self-esteem of being included and “noticed.”
Ask family and friends to join you for a game evening, and invite those your children respect. If everyone shows excitement while playing, it will rub off.
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If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments below.