My wife runs her own homeschool program for elementary school-aged kids. One of her after school programs has her students using board games as an educational tool. I was shocked to find that a lot of people aren’t aware of the educational benefits board games have.
Board games can be an excellent educational tool. Board games help people grasp the fundamentals of things like math, problem-solving, and teamwork. Whether you are playing a simple game of Uno, where a basic understanding of math is needed, or a game like Pandemic, where problem-solving and teamwork are necessary to win, there are educational benefits to be gained from both. It doesn’t matter if you are a kid or an adult, board games can teach us many important lessons.
Why You Should Use Board Games as an Educational Tool
Board games are the perfect learning tool. They provide a fun and engaging environment where players compete in a playful manner all while learning lessons and skills. The hands-on nature of board games makes it a memorable experience and easier to retain the information that the players learn throughout the game.
The Educational Benefits of Board Games
Board Games Improve Math Skills
Math is one of the harder subjects that kids often struggle with. Board games introduce fun and challenging problems for them to face. The interactive nature of board games allows children to make connections, understand new concepts easier, and retain the information they learned.
Kids often ask, “When are we going to use this.” Board games are a great way to show them that math is commonplace in life, whether they realize it or not. Math is present in most games and is an important tool to win most of them.
Simple card games like Uno require kids to keep track of how many cards in their hand as well as in other players. Since number cards are constantly being used in repetition it will help kids learn the difference between the numbers quickly.
Miniature games introduce many more complex math concepts. Take Warhammer 40K for instance. To succeed the player needs to take into account geometry and how the figures are positioned as well as keeping track of damage.
How Board Games Promote Problem Solving
Problem solving is the pillar stone of innovation. Being able to identify a problem and figure out a solution to that problem is imperative for people to grow as a society. This is how every great invention begins, as a solution to a problem.
Board games give players the unique opportunity to experience something that in real life could take years in a matter of minutes. The Axis and Allies board game series allows players to relive historical battles. These games present players with a goal and it is up to the player how they want to go about achieving this goal to win the game.
We learn to problem solve from a very early age and as we mature we so do our problem solving skills, allowing us to solve more complex problems. Board games help improve these skills by presenting a problem and allowing the players to find multiple solutions to that problem. It’s up to the players to figure out which solution is most effective and win the game.
Playing a board game, figuring out different strategies, and implementing them is an excellent way to showcase the importance of problem solving.
Board Games Promote Teamwork
Teamwork allows people to see different perspectives, creativity, and unique problem solving tactics. Teamwork allows people to brainstorm and come up with ideas to successfully solve a problem more efficiently than if they were alone.
Games like Pandemic have players working together to cure the world of deadly diseases. Board games are able to bring people together and allows them to work together to accomplish a common goal. Being able to come together and solve a problem as a group brings people closer together and what better way is there than saving the world from a deadly virus.
We live in the digital age where almost everyone including kids, has a smartphone. Being able to unplug and interact with others is important and board games are an excellent way for people to open up and become more sociable.
Board Games Help Increase Focus
We live in a microwave world where most things can be done for us in a matter of minutes. Technology has brought many distractions today that didn’t exist in the past. These distractions are causing our attention spans to decline.
Board games can be a great exercise tool for practicing improving our focus. Being able to sit down for an hour and play a board game with no other distractions can lengthen your attention span. In order to do this, you need to be able to commit to it and see the board game out to the end.
Board Games Improve Motor Skills
This may not be the case for adults, but for small children board games can help improve their motor skills. Board games can help their coordination skills having to figure out the placement of pieces on the board which in turn can improve their balance.
Board Games Teach Patience
There is a reason why the phrase “patience is a virtue” is so popular. Patience allows you to let go over things that are outside your control and can help reduce your stress. Patience is a skill that needs to be practiced often.
Board games revolve around taking turns and allowing each person to take the time needed to do so. Being able to follow rules and wait for your turn is an important lesson and one that board games teach well.
Board Games Teach the Importance Of Losing
Everyone wants to win, but it’s an important lesson to learn that it’s okay to lose. Because with every loss there is a lesson and you can take what you learned and apply that lesson the next time. Losing allows us to evaluate ourselves so that way we can improve and come back stronger.
When you play a board game then you are either going to win or lose. Being able to accept your loss with dignity and learn from your mistakes is an important life lesson. Remember, no one likes a sore loser.
Board Games Improve Listening Skills
Being able to effectively listen to what’s happening is crucial in decision making. How can you make an informed decision if you are not able to listen to what others have to say? You can’t. This may seem like a simple skill to some, but you’d be surprised.
Learning a new game can be hard. Being able to listen to someone explain the rules can be a grueling task for kids and even some adults, but it’s important and it will help improve your listening skills. Being able to listen to others gives more insight into who they are and allows us to better connect with one another. And I think board games are one of the best ways to do just that.
Board games are an excellent educational tool that I think should be implemented more in schools. It’s a fun way for everyone involved to learn important skills and lessons. Thank you for reading my article and happy gaming!