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Benefits of Board Games

by Bethany Gayman, RBT

Children begin to learn taking turns through simple tasks in their everyday lives at school and at home. In particular, board games are a great option to practice taking turns frequently and playing with others. Further, playing a board game works on a child’s social skills and development of communication skills.

Board games allow kids to think critically and problem solve by planning their next moves, considering their options, and determining the steps they need to take to win. Additionally, it encourages them to use strategic thinking on how to beat their opponents. Also, communication skills are key in playing board games, whether playing on a team, having to explain the game, and expressing when to take turns.

This helps to develop another positive skill: a healthy level of competition and understanding that it is okay to not always win. Further, playing a game can be presented as something the child can earn. If the child begins yelling, crying, shoving the board away, or displaying other tantrum behaviors, it can be explained the game can be stopped. This allows the child to understand the game as a reward and something they can look forward to playing. Importantly, it is crucial to go over the rules of the game and set expectations on how to play appropriately and avoid confusion or tantrums. Expectations can be expressed as: “It’s okay if you don’t win” “There’s only one winner and we can be happy for them” “If you are the person that wins, we don’t want to make the other players feel bad by over celebrating” “If you have questions about the game please ask”

Games that work on all the skills mentioned include:


· Monopoly

· Life

· Battle Ship

· Guess Who

· Jenga

· Connect 4

· Chess

· Checkers

· Mancala

· Operation

· Clue

· Qwirkle


In addition to these, there are games that specifically work on social skills, math, telling time, and emotions as well!