You can often learn a lot more through play than you can through any other activity. No more is this true than with toddlers and children. For the first three or five years of their lives, your children have to learn a lot of things – such as movement, language, recognizing shapes and colours, and learning how to read and write. This is a lot to take in, so finding ways that are fun and enjoyable to help in this are essential, and board games are a fantastic way of implementing this. Board games for children also teach essential social skills, such as fair play, honesty, mutual enjoyment, and – most crucially – the importance of losing gracefully and accepting that they can’t always have things their way.
The last is actually an essential thing to learn. While parents may be tempted to let their kids win, both because they don’t want to hurt their child’s feelings and because they want to avoid tantrums, it actually proves more damaging in the long run. If a child always wins, they’re not being taught how to handle situations where they fail, even if they do everything right. This actually makes them more prone to tantrums, can sabotage how they interact with other kids, and can cause even more damage to self-esteem.
As well as helping your kids learn, board games for toddlers and children are also a fantastic way for you and your children to socialize and build stronger family bonds. In order to foster a long-lasting and healthy relationship within the family, activities such as these are almost essential. In this day and age, it’s increasingly difficult for families to find intentional, uninterrupted time to spend together, especially with on-demand television, social media, and computer games. Board games offer a healthy and fun way of remedying that.
Of course, you need to make sure that the board games you play are actually suitable. More renowned classics such as Clue, Monopoly, and Scrabble may be too challenging and over-complicated for the average infant to grasp. In general, if you’re looking for something that’s suitable for your kids to play, you want a game that has the following qualities.
- Its rules are easy to learn and play, with nothing too complicated or abstract.
- It utilizes skills that young children already have or are developing.
- It’s fair – each player has an equal chance of winning, regardless of age or individual capability.
- Often overlooked, but make sure it’s a game your child likes to play!
Once your child has grown up, say by the time they reach elementary school, you can branch out and introduce more in-depth and sophisticated games for them to play, like chess, Chinese checkers or Boggle.
Try some of this games to help get your weekly, or even daily, gaming sessions started with your children.
Snakes and Ladders
A really simple one to learn, and probably among the first board games your kids will play. It comes in a variety of variations and sets, so you can easily find it at any children’s toy store. Such is its simplicity you can even make it yourself. All you need is to draw up a board on some card or paper, a dice and a set of counters.
AT fifty years old, this game is a household classic. Featuring a very brightly coloured and fun board game, with simple and easily remembered rules, Candyland can be considered a good introduction into more complex games with more varied rules and conditions.
My First Orchard
A more co-operative game. Its premise is that the kids need to collect as much fruit into their baskets as possible before a raven eats it all. It’s simple, it’s light-hearted and it’s fun to play.
Pie Face is a very recent, fun and light-hearted game with a simple premise. Much like Mousetrap or Don’t Wake Dad, the idea is to avoid some sort of mishap happening to the player. In this case, getting a pie to the face. This is undoubtedly going to amuse the whole family immensely, but do be careful of the mess!
Last but not least, Connect Four is a game that’s great for passing the time or when there’s just the two of you. It helps teach children how to recognize patterns, plan ahead with their strategies and work creatively to win the game. Add to its simplicity, and you’ve got a winner (pardon the pun).
Though all these games are great to play with your tiny tots. Though, if you notice that your child might have difficulties with motor skills, or hand-eye coordination, etc., you could always seek advice from other parents or pediatricians, such as the ones at Night Lite, to find games that can help with their growth and development.
Christian Mills is a family man and freelance writer, who in his spare time loves to hangout with his kids. If you would like to learn more about Christian and the fun he has with his kids, you can check out his google+ profile.