With the omnipresence of technology in the 21st century, many of our social interactions are increasingly made online and are replacing face-to-face communication. A particular hobby has been filling that gap and thereby has increased in popularity: board gaming. It has been fulfilling a need for social interaction, a void created by the advance of technology. With an increasing amount of board games being made, many observers have been calling it “The Golden Age of board games”. The positive impact that playing board games has on children is often underappreciated, as it has positive effects on the brain, it increases face to face social interactions and can guide the students in adopting positive values.
Firstly, board gaming helps to build areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, that are responsible for complex functions. It has been proven that any activity that exercises the brain by making it learn new skills will help to make it become healthier. Many board games will help the child with cognitive functions such as memory, information retention, taking turns, problem-solving, negotiating and complex situations. Recently, board games are being made focusing on decision making instead of pure luck. These games, like Pandemic or Kingdomino, will allow the students to make choices that will significantly alter the game.
Secondly, playing board games allows language students to have fun while learning their target language. They can improve their verbal abilities by interacting with the other players, as well as improving their concentration by focusing for longer periods of time by paying attention to the explanations and the development of the game. The players can also expand their vocabulary by learning some new words used in the game. The students will have rules to follow and will be able to use their creativity to advance in the game by making choices.
Thirdly, a child can also develop social skills by learning how to become a better winner or a better loser and adapt his/her strategy according to the development of the game. They can also learn to be patient by helping other players who didn’t understand certain rules and by waiting for their turn. They may learn that the gaming experience will improve if all the players are engaged in the game and encouraging each other, while retaining the element of competition.
With all its benefits, board gaming is a great way to spend some quality family time. On rainy days when the students can’t go outside, teachers can use this time to play board games with the students. Board games have the overwhelming combo of being fun while learning, what more could be asked?
Mr Mat, Year 3 Class Teacher
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