Board Games: Hidden Life Lessons

Board Games: Hidden Life Lessons

One of my family’s traditions is to buy a new board game each Christmas. 

This started back when our children were infants.  We wanted to make sure that we spent time together as a family and this was a great way for us to do it.  So, each year we would scour the store shelves looking through different games to add to our collection.  Some years we would come home with the classics like Monopoly and Risk.  Other years our kids gamebegged for games like Elefun (which actually was quite entertaining to watch the boys play) or more recently The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Cheese Touch Game (they lost interest quickly, I don’t recommend it).  As the years continued, I came to realize what a great thing, playing board games together had become.

Playing board games turned out to be the best way to for my children to learn some major life lessons.  It created a fun way to teach them values and morals.  Board games taught them strategy and understanding.  It taught my boys empathy for each other and patience.  The other day it occurred to me while watching my young nephews play a board game how much we can learn from playing.

Kids learn to take turns

This is one of the hardest things for smaller children to learn to do.  They always want it to be their turn and learning to wait can seem almost impossible to a 3-year-old.  Playing games together can help teach them patience and sharing as they wait for their turn

Being a good sport

This is where kids learn empathy and good sportsmanship.  They can’t always win.  I know parents sometimes let their children win and that is OK.  However, if they always win they never learn how to lose.  That isn’t how it works in real life.  I think it’s fine to let them win sometimes, or help them play better but don’t let them win every time.

Board games are an excellent way to spend time together as a family

You will create memories and let off some steam.  It is fun to be silly and goofy and enjoy each other’s company.

Board games are secretly school

A secret that your children don’t know is that by playing a board game they are actually practicing math and reading skills.  For the smaller kids some games include matching and sorting.  What better way to learn than to play?

Do you have older kids?

Playing games like Monopoly can teach them about the concept of handling money, when to spend it and when to save it.


Learning to play games like Break the Ice can help kids learn to hammer and hit a certain piece on the board.

Board games can teach your children the value of taking care of their stuff

It was a sad day for my children when they realized they were missing pieces to Mouse Trap.  The weighted marble was gone and they couldn’t play it.  We tried several different marbles to improvise and nothing worked quite right.  The newer versions of Mouse Trap aren’t the same as the old one so they didn’t want a new one.  It took a few years for us to find an old Mouse Trap but eventually we ended up finding one in a second-hand store and bought it.  It was hilarious to see how excited my teenagers were to finally have their marble back and be able to play that silly game again.


Board games can build memories

My boys’ grandparents live all the way across the country.  Unfortunately, we don’t get to visit as much as we would like.  However, because of this they do have some memories that are special to them.  One of the best memories they have of their grandfather is playing Risk together.  They spent hours playing Risk.  As soon as we got home from that trip they begged for Risk.  Of course, that is what we bought for Christmas that year.

Take the time to play games with your children.  Sometimes it is hard to find the time or the patience to sit down and play games with them.  One of the games I really enjoy is Hedbanz.  I don’t always have the time to play board games so while I am cooking dinner, we can play that game.  It doesn’t require sitting down and I can interact with them, while getting things done.  Usually it ends up being a blast!

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