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Board Games - teaching us all a lesson

Posted by School Run Mum on 16/11/2011. Board Games - teaching us all a lessonTags: School Run Mum Parenting

text re imageI read an interesting piece in the Irish Independent this week about the educational benefits of traditional family board games. It caught my attention because we have recently had two birthday's in the house and a number of board games were given as presents. We've had great fun on an evening playing these games together as a family (rather than watching TV) and with most of the games being old favourites which we played ourselves as children (Connect 4, Guess Who, Operation), it's been a fun trip down memory lane also.

For Junior and Senior Infant level children, board games can help to teach many valuable skills, such as colour recognition, number recognition, counting skills, letter recognition, problem solving and the invaluable lessons of taking turns and understanding the rules of the game. Of course, the concept of 'It's not the winning, it's the taking part,' is a tricky one to accept and is a concept which my four-year-old is clearly struggling to come to terms with as demonstrated by his stomping off for a good sulk after losing at Snakes and Ladders. Oh dear.

The article makes some interesting observations about the current trend of shoppers returning to familiar brands and names of board games they remember from their own childhood, in place of expensive computer games - just another impact of the recession, and possibly not a bad one. As quoted in the article, "When money is tight, people turn to brands they know and trust. People pick things they remember from their childhood." It is also noted that there is 'a growing recognition that board games have qualities which set them apart from their console cousins.'

I couldn't agree more - even with the disputes about whose turn it is, and why you can't always win and constant reminders not to throw but roll the dice and even with the frustration of people leaning across the board and knocking counters out of the way, it's good old-fashioned family entertainment and, if nothing else, it brings you together and gets you talking, laughing and ahem, arguing. So much more fun than everyone sitting in mute silence in a corner of the room pressing buttons on the individual, hand-held console. 

Many schools across the country have participated in the annual 'School Game Playing Day' where children take their favourite board game into school and the games are played in classroom. It's a great initiative and perhaps something which should be done more often than just once a year.

We will certainly be continuing to enjoy our family game night through the dark winter evenings, and if there are educational benefits to be gained from playing our board games, all the better. 

Right, I'm going to practice my Twister moves - turns out I'm not quite as limber as I used to be.


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