Many of us view board games as nothing more than light entertainment. However, what if they could also boost brainpower and teach vital life skills? Here are just several popular family board games that have been found to have educational benefits.
We’ll start with one of the oldest board games in the world. Chess is very much a game of strategy and can help develop many important life skills including problem-solving, patience and forward-planning. It has been found to have a positive impact on our memory with claims that it can even prevent Alzheimer’s. Some studies even claim that chess can help us grow tendrites and boost IQ. Much like strength-training can improve muscle mass, chess could be viewed as a form of exercise to help grow the brain. Chess is strictly a two-player game although there are some versions out there that allow up to four players!
One of the biggest educational benefits of Monopoly is that it teaches kids how to manage money. It’s a game of budgeting and investment. While there is some luck to the game, it does teach the ability to take calculated risks, as well as teaching the importance of playing the long game. Monopoly can be played with anywhere between two and eight players.
Scrabble is one of the most popular word-oriented board games. On top of having the potential to expand players’ vocabulary, Scrabble also develop math skills and pattern identifying skills. Even with the help of a word scrambler, you still need to work out where you can place words on the board and whether they are high-scoring enough. Scrabble can even be used to develop foreign language learning skills and there are versions of the board game adapted to other languages in which tiles are scored differently. You can play Scrabble with up to four players.
It should come as no surprise that a game called Cranium is beneficial to the brain. This board game challenges players to complete various activities under categories which all test different skills. ‘Creative Cat’ for example teaches visual creative skills while ‘Word Worm’ tests spelling and vocabulary knowledge. All activities are done set to a timer, so there’s an element of speed and reaction to the game too. Cranium requires a minimum of four players.
Trivial pursuit is also an educational game that teaches players trivia centered around various topics. Many versions of the board game come with separate questions for kids and adults making it appropriate for all ages. Trivial pursuit is commonly played in teams, adding an element of teamwork to it. There can be anywhere between two and six teams playing.