As parents we understand how fun board games are, but are often unaware that they can also support the development of key social skills. With the rise in technology, improving social skills offline has never been more important, and The Early Teacher is here to explain why introducing board games to your children can help to improve their social development alongside other vital skills such as resilience and dexterity.
So, how do board games help social development? Board games encourage children to develop vital social skills including persuasive language, supportive language, and politeness during general gaming discussions. These are skills that otherwise may not be developed in everyday activities and can be applied when children attend school, clubs or social situations.
Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of board games, including which types of board games are fun for the whole family to get involved in.
How Do Board Games Improve Social Development?
Board games have been around for over 5,000 years, dating back to the Egyptians and have been popular ever since due to their fun, problem solving, and competitive features. Family board games have been a staple for a lot of families, especially for rainy day activities, but sometimes it is easy to overlook the useful social benefits that they can provide.
Board games are a great tool for improving social development with regards to cooperation and communication. It may be easy to assume that playing a competitive board game would result in the development of anti-social skills due to the desire of wanting to win the game. This could be in the form of not sharing, not being polite or simply not communicating much in order to keep their strategy to themselves.
However, a study from 2021 actually found the opposite to be the case. Instead, it was discovered that children who play competitive board games demonstrated pro-social skills that are similar to those who play cooperative board games. In fact, there was very little difference between the social skills that were demonstrated. It was found that children would display improved social development through the use of persuasive language, as part of their gaming strategy. For example, when persuading players to become their allies or to make a strategic move.
Another study found that board games were particularly effective at improving social development when they involved personal discussion. This could be in the form of discussing how they managed to win, or even what they would do differently next time. Alternatively, it could also be in the form of persuasive language, supportive language, and even just simple discussion such as talking about each other’s scores. Either way, board games act as a tool to encourage conversations that otherwise would not have typically taken place on an everyday basis which results in improved social development.
What are the Benefits of Board games?
Other than helping children to develop socially, board games can encourage a variety of other benefits that contribute to children thriving in school and becoming well-rounded young adults. Below we have detailed some of the main benefits so you can see just how great board games are.
Reduced Screen Time:
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, children spend around 7 hours a day on screens, whether that be computers, televisions or tablets. Board games are a great way of tempting your children away from screen times and getting them involved in some real life problem solving or strategy building. Reducing our children’s screen time is extremely important because it has been proven to reduce issues such as anxiety and depression, obesity and insomnia.
Improved Cognitive Functions:
Board games are also a good tool for improving the cognitive functions of children. A study from 2019 found that board games were useful for improving multiple aspects of cognitive function including memory, planning ability, attention span and even mathematical ability. These are all highly valuable skills that are beneficial to children as they study at school and enter young adulthood, therefore encouraging the use of board games is a good thing.
Board games are also beneficial in terms of improving your child’s resilience. Whether that be to push through a tough game and figure out how they can boost their points, or even to deal with failure and not let it affect their mood. Developing resilience as a skill is a great tool that is applied to all aspects of life. From studying for a school test to training to be a better gymnast, resilience is a skill that if learned at a young age can help a child grow into a successful young adult.
Improved dexterity is an additional benefit that playing with board games can provide. This is because some board games require fast reactions which involve strict attention and reflexes. Other board games require the ability to roll dice, shuffle cards and move figures. These are all features of dexterity and fine motor skills and they are actively improved through interaction with board game playing. Improved dexterity is great for children because it is a skill that can be transferred into learning to use a handwriting pen, or learning to use a calculator.
Which Board Games are Good for Primary School Children?
The board game market is huge and this can make it quite difficult to determine which board games are both suitable for children, and provide educational benefits to primary school children. From classic board games, to exciting new concepts, we have detailed the types of board games that are good for primary school children including ones which can help them with social development.
The Games Compendium is a four in one board game that is great for families and primary school children. Designed for children aged three or above, the games compendium comprises a snakes and ladders board, draughts board, Tic Tac Toe, and and TiddlyWinks. All of these board games are simple enough for the whole family to get involved in, whilst still providing benefits such as improving social development, dexterity and reducing screen time. Primary school children will have a fun time with their friends and family whilst improving vital transferable skills at the same time.
If you are looking to improve your child’s numeracy skills, the Shut the Box board game is what you are looking for. Designed for children aged three or above, this board game involves a simple concept of rolling dice and shutting tiles based on the total value of the dice. This is not only a fun and repetitive game for your child, but supports them in improving their fast mathematics, fine motor skills and level of resilience which are all great skills to apply in school.
The Sleeping Beauty Maze board game is another fun board game based on a popular fairytale. Encouraging the use of problem solving skills, spatial insight and logical thinking, primary school children will be in their element when playing this board game. You can be confident that they are having fun away from electronic devices whilst also improving useful communication and decision making skills at the same time.
Board Games at The Early Teacher
The Early Teacher provides a range of board games for children to help encourage the development of social skills and other vital skills such as cognitive ability and resilience. Our range of board games have been safety tested with your child’s safety in mind so you can be sure they are safe whilst building on their social skills. For more information on our board games don’t hesitate to take a look today by clicking here.