When it is cold outside, it is fun to snuggle up inside with something warm and and enjoy engaging board games! But lest you think this activity is all fun, here are 10 benefits of playing board games along with 21 games we have enjoyed as a family that fit the category:
Brushing up on math skills is an obvious side benefit of playing board games. Counting by ones is inherent in most dice games. Playing dominoes is an easy way to learn to count by fives. Monopoly is a great way to learn the value of money. And many games present an opportunity for making change.
Dice games can teach probability. What are the chances you will land on the right spot? Learning about probability has the side benefit of exploring risk in a safe way.
3. Decision Making
Most board games involve some type of decision making or strategy skills. And allow a safe way to reap the consequences of those decisions.
- Don’t Break the Ice
- Chess (Note: We haven’t used this version; it comes highly recommended for those learning the game.)
4. General Knowledge
What do you know? Board games provide a way to think about things we don’t normally take the time to think about, expanding our general knowledge.
- Trivial Pursuit (any version will work if you preview the cards)
Many board games explore history. Some even allow the players to assume the role of a historical figure, helping us understand the decisions, events, and lessons that led us to where we are.
There are several popular board games that involve maps and understanding where states or countries are in relation to one another. Some even provide an advantage in knowing what the state is known for.
- Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?
- Empire Builder (The original is far superior, if you can find it.)
Similarly, there are birding games, plant games, wildflower games, and other board games that explore elements of nature.
- Wingspan Board Game
Very popular bird themed board game and fun way to learn about birds. Rather more complex than our favorite below.
- Great North American Bird Watching Game
No longer easy to find, but fun if you can find it!
- The Garden Game
Here is an easy way to brush up on spelling: provide an incentive to focus on spelling!
9. Markets Finance Money
How does interest work? What does it mean to mortgage something? How does the market work?
10. Observation Skills
How much do you notice? Some games focus on the details.
Other Benefits of Board Games
Of course, there are benefits of playing board games other than the more obvious educational benefits:
- Social interaction.
- Learning to win and lose gracefully.
- Developing general problem solving skills.
- Identifying problems and finding solutions.
The Game Library
Over time you can build a complete game library. Then take turns picking a favorite game. And don’t forget card games!
Happy game day!