Board games with your kids may not be the most scintillating thing you can do on a weekend night, but it does help to reinforce what they learn at school, improve communication skills, form family bonds and teach good sportsmanship.
This is a great way to improve communication skills and show the impact and importance of non-verbal communication. Choose simple action words for younger kids and books, songs, TV programs and movie titles for older kids. This game is great because you don’t have to spend money on it and you can play it anywhere – all you need is a pen and paper.
Word and number games
Keeping score is always a great way to improve math skills. Playing card games and Yahtzee are also great ways to practice arithmetic. Word games like Scrabble use both math and English skills. Word games are excellent for expanding vocabularies, teaching spelling and helping with reading comprehension.
Running races, playing catch, skipping rope and swimming are great ways to get your family moving. If you don’t feel like participating, opt to be the referee by adding fun challenges, judging performances or using a stop watch to time participants. Getting your family moving can be as easy as taking a walk around your neighborhood or to the local store.
Regular exercise helps to get kids moving which has a wealth of health and emotional benefits. Remember that they look to your example on how to include exercise into their lives on a regular basis.
Treasure hunts and geo-caching are great outdoor games to help kids learn navigation skills. You don’t even have to be playing a game – simply asking them to navigate around town when you are doing chores is a great exercise. This is a really important life skill and you’ll feel much better knowing that they can read a subway map or use a map. Using their mobile phones to locate treasures or geo-caches is easy enough, but they also need to be able to get around on their own.
These can be played with children from the second grade onward. Strategy games help kids to practice their higher cognitive functions and this makes it easier for them to grasp abstract concepts with greater ease, making math and science easier to handle. Strategy games also encourage independent thinking and are a wonderful way to practice decision-making skills. It also shows the correlation between decisions and consequences and teaches kids to think the consequences through when making strategic moves.
Choose a combination of games that require individual and team participation. Reward good team behavior and good sportsmanship. Don’t always let your kids win. While letting them win may help bolster self-esteem, they need to be able to lose with grace. The most important element here is that they have fun and that your bonds as a family unit are strengthened.