Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why Board Games?

"Play at least one board game with the kids," tends to make it onto my list of goals every week.  If anyone is actually reading my blog at this point, you might be asking, "Why board games?"  Why is that something that I choose for spending time with my kids.  (By the way, even though I say "board games," not all of them actually have a board that you move pieces around.)

Well, first of all, we all love board games.  They are just plain fun!  But, there are so many teachable moments that come about while we are all gathered around a game.  From the obvious, to the not so obvious.

In other words, how to be a good winner and a good loser.

When one of the kids is winning, they naturally tend to boast or tease the other players.  This is often true in life, as well.  When someone does something good, they often seek to show how wonderful it is by pointing out the not-so-wonderfulness of what others are doing.  I do not want my kids doing this!  I want them to be the kind of adults who can say, "Whatever I have done, I have done for Christ's sake."

 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Now, this may seem like an extreme lesson for a board game.  But, the verse says "whatsoever ye do." I'm pretty sure that playing board games is part of the "whatsoever"!

By teaching them to celebrate their accomplishments in a way that does not brag or boast about their own skills, we are making pretty good strides to them becoming a person who recognizes that God is the one who deserves the glory for everything in their lives.

On the flip side, when they lose, I want them to learn not to pout.  How many adults do we know who walk around with the attitude that the world is out to get them and nothing every goes right for them?  I want my children to learn to recognize that, even in our failures, even in the hard times, we need to praise God and give Him the glory.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in troubl
Psalm 46:1 

When you are young, losing a simple game might seem like a huge problem.  If I can teach them to handle those moments with grace, I'm on my way to teaching them to handle the really tough things.

Educational Skills
This includes math skills, reading,  knowledge of scientific principles, and a whole lot more depending on what game you are playing.  Here are a few examples.

Chutes and Ladders : Counting, adding and subtracting (we add each move and subtract when we have to go down chutes).  Also, it is a great way to teach about consequences for our actions.  Just look at the pictures!

Candy Land - The World of Sweets Board Game : Colors, counting.  There is also a sight-word version I've seen several places online.

Topple Game : They have to place game pieces in a way that balances the game.  Balance is an important scientific principle that they are getting some hands-on experience with!

Ker Plunk Game: Another game that requires some three-dimensional thinking.

Operation: Simply discuss the actual terms for each body part and you have a basic anatomy lesson!  Plus, it has led to some interesting discussions on how the buzzer uses electrical currents.

Bop It: One of our all-time favorite games!  This requires good coordination and listening skills

Connect 4 Game:  This obviously requires some math skills as well as analytical thinking skills.  We also recently aquired a similar game called Make 7 that requires even more math.

Guess Who: Kids will learn deductive reasoning and critical thinking as they try to find out who the other player is supposed to be.  It will also help them learn to form questions in a way that gets the answer they need.

Time Together
I've known many kids who grow up thinking that time spent with their families is boring and painful.  And, unless the parents work to make it interesting and fun, those kids won't be wrong.  Playing games with my kids is just one way that I can teach my kids that their family are the best playmates and friends they could have!

They will also learn that they can count on you to help them through their problems as you sort out squabbles or help them make their moves.  

These are just some of the reasons we love board games at our house.  But, for me, just spending time with my kids is a great reason to play!

I'm linking this up over at Teaching What is Good for Loving our Children Tuesday.

Disclaimer: The game links above are my Amazon Associate links.

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