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Gaming and your child: Why it’s important to play games

24/06/2013 | Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

If you’re keen on giving your child a leg up in school one of the most valuable activities that you can engage in with them at home is to play games with them, especially board games. Indeed, you may be surprised to know that board games offer a wide variety of skill learning lessons for children of all ages and, as most experts will tell you, children tend to learn better and faster when they are having fun.

One of the most valuable skills that board games can teach a younger child is counting as even the most basic of board games require a bit of number recognition and encourage it. One of the most basic pieces of equipment that the average board game comes with are a pair of dice and, since dice have dots rather than numbers printed on them, your child will have to learn how to count those dots in order to know what number they have gotten after the dice have been thrown.

Another excellent skill that board games, especially Monopoly, can teach a child is how to deal with money and finances. While it may be best for mum or dad to be the ‘banker’ at first you’ll be surprised how many children can quickly pick up the fundamentals of this position. Not only that but addition and subtraction are one of the extra skills that they will need to rely on if they’re going to win the game, a great encouragement if we ever heard of one to learn how to add and subtract.

While most younger children won’t even be able to pronounce the word correctly, your average board game will teach them a great lesson in strategy. Before long they will start to realise that some of the decisions that they make at the beginning of the game have consequences later in the game and the basics of ‘cause and effect’ will become clear to them. Pattern recognition is also an excellent skill learned while playing games that can be transferred to school and then to the ’real world’.

There are very few board games that can be played by one person. That may seem like a drawback but in fact it teaches children the value of cooperation. There are many board games that actually require quite a bit of cooperation between players in order to win. Not only that but your child will learn how to win, or lose, gracefully and in a sporting manner, something that can and will help them greatly as they grow and gain further social skills.

Of course, one of the best reasons to play board games with your child is simply that it gives you the opportunity to spend time together as a family, something that will build strong long-term relationships and bonds, even between siblings who at first glance may seem to despise each other.

So, before you start buying them video games that they can play by themselves in their room do them a favor and buy them some of the better board games on the market like Monopoly, Cluedo, Risk, and so forth and have a little fun with them while you also help them to learn and grow.

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