Why Board-Games Are Essential For Healthy Child Development

On a recent family trip to the iconic Stonehenge, one of the highlights from the weekend for us as a family was discovering the game Frustration that was provided in the Airbnb we were staying in. We must have played it over 20 times over the space of 2.5 days and enjoyed it so much, we purchased it as soon as we got home!

The children loved the competitiveness, the simplicity and fun of it all. The smart devices were barely looked at by both parents and children over the weekend as we immersed ourselves in the game.

In a world dominated by technology, the lowly board-game has been relegated on the list of preferred activities for children as they favour computer games and apps to entertain.

Yet, the benefits of engaging in a traditional game of Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders or Chess are plentiful for child development for example, by improving social skills, bolstering self-esteem, refining fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and fostering adaptable thinking.

Benefits of board games for child development

Communication skills

Playing board games provides a rich and interactive environment for children to practice and improve their communication skills, including both verbal and nonverbal communication. Children learn to articulate their thoughts, express themselves clearly, and listen actively to others.

Emotional development

Playing board games provides opportunities for children to experience a range of emotions, including excitement, frustration, and satisfaction. They learn to regulate their emotions, manage disappointment, and celebrate achievements in a controlled environment, which is crucial for healthy competition.

Bonding with parents, siblings and friends

Board games promote social interaction and communication among children. Through gameplay, they learn to communicate effectively, negotiate, and collaborate with others. Playing with the family creates a dedicated space to enjoy dedicated, uninterrupted time together.

Learning to lose and encouraging healthy competition

Playing by the rules, enables children to develop coping skills and resilience for when things don’t go there way. If you have a child with low frustration levels, praising them on the way they positively handle losing or experiencing a set back is a great way of developing important life skills. Frustration is a good game to develop their frustration tolerance.

Problem solving and brain development.

Board games offer the opportunity for children to think creatively and strategically. A game like Battleship or Chess is a great opportunity to test those problem solving skills, anticipating their opponents’ moves, adapting their strategies accordingly, and making decisions under pressure.

Fine motor-skills

Many board games involve handling small game pieces, such as cards, dice, tokens, or figurines. Children practice grasping, picking up, moving, and placing these pieces, which helps strengthen their hand muscles and improve their dexterity.

Benefits of board games for adults

And it’s not just children who benefit from playing board games. Board games can provide adults opportunities to exercise various mental skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, memory, concentration, spatial awareness, and social interaction. A 68 year old study found playing analogue games is associated with reduced declines in cognitive function as people age.

In addition, another study that was focused on the value of board-games in relation to mental health, found through several randomised controlled trials, that the playing of traditional board games helps to improve cognitive impairment and depression.

When it comes to deciding which board game to play, there are lots of parenting forums with suggestions, and sellers with an array of options, including The Works and Smyths Toys for you to choose from. Whichever you decide, your children will not only be enjoying phone-free time, you will also be supporting their healthy psychological, emotional and physical development.