Play Fun but Educational Family Games With Your Kids

Why you should play fun but educational family games with your kids?

play educational family games

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Family game night isn’t just a way to fill up a Friday evening. Games are also great educational tools. They’re so successful at teaching kids that yours probably won’t even notice the skills and knowledge they’re gaining — they’ll only remember the fun. So put those screens away and enjoy an evening of games guilt-free.

8 benefits of family games

Amidst cards, tiles, dice, and more, your family bonds and kids’ brains grow stronger. They’ll develop critical thinking and life skills beyond what you thought possible from a simple game. Playing with family offers a safe space where any outcome — whether success or failure — is okay as long as they have fun.

Cement early learning

Young learners in preschool and kindergarten need plenty of repetition for foundational concepts. Games are ideal for introducing and reinforcing color, letter, and number recognition. You’ll be surprised at your little one’s ability to do basic math in a game without realizing the skills they’re using.

Take your time with these games, letting your child take on responsibility for their turn — rolling the day, drawing a card, moving their piece, or making decisions. Let them wow you with their capabilities and help only when necessary.

Encourages communication

Playing a family game without talking would be incredibly dull and nearly impossible. The fun atmosphere often draws out even the most reluctant speakers. You begin with playful banter or discussion about the game, which quickly leads to simply chatting. If you have teenagers who are hesitant to talk at any other time, you might learn a lot by sitting to play their favorite game.

Has offerings for every learning style

Every child learns a bit differently. Some kids do best with verbal directions over written ones or need tactile input. No matter your kids’ preferences, you’ll find a game perfectly suited to their learning styles. You may just need to do a bit of digging. If you have multiple children — all with different needs — change out the games you play so everyone can have a turn at a game that works best for them.

Teaches sportsmanship and teamwork

Almost all games have winners and losers. Use this as an opportunity to model good sportsmanship for your kids and encourage this quality in them. Let your children see you winning humbly and losing graciously. Sure, a little friendly trash talk during the game is fine as long as you set boundaries, but overall, everyone should come away feeling better than when they started playing.

Cooperative games are currently having a moment on the market. In these, either everyone wins or everyone loses. You must learn to work together as a team towards a common goal, an essential skill to have for the future.

Builds math skills

You can learn countless — pun intended — math skills using games. Even basic move-around-the-board games require you to read a card or die and count to the correct number. More advanced games often use addition or subtraction.

Depending on the game, your kids might even have to hunt for patterns or determine probability. The best part? They usually won’t know this is what they’re doing. You can let them build these skills unnoticed or draw attention and purposely develop them together.

Provides screen-free Fun

Are you constantly battling with the kids to get off their screens? Technology can be a blessing but a significant distraction when used without healthy boundaries. Odds are you could use some time away from your screen as well. Try instituting a rule that no one gets to have their phone at the table when a game is out. Older kids may be resistant at first, but the fun will eventually win over a sour attitude.

Strengthens literacy skills

Some games intended for early learners help kids practice letter recognition and sounds. As children get older, they can read and understand directions independently. Word games are also ideal for family games, building vocabulary, spelling, phonics, and reading. Other ones require some creativity and storytelling, which can improve writing and speaking skills.

Develops attention span and focus

In a society based on instant gratification, soft skills like patience, focus, and attention span tend to suffer. Practice sitting down with the kids to play a whole game without any multitasking. Don’t make dinner, check your email or run the vacuum when it’s not your turn — focus and encourage them to do the same. Your kids will probably love having your undivided attention.

Almost any game will do

Family games don’t even need to be labeled “educational” for your kids to reap the benefits. Any game you play has the potential to encourage good social behavior if nothing else. In fact, your kids might interact better with games that don’t seem to have a learning-based spin. Put the focus on fun and learning will come.

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