As the evenings get darker and the countdown to Christmas is underway what better time to have a cosy night in and host a family game night? Gather the family together and escape the hustle and bustle that December brings; family games provide enjoyable quality time that boosts little learner’s self-esteem as they take on new challenges.
Board games and strategy games not only provide fun group activities, they also help children to make sense of social constructs such as rules and how to follow them, problem solving and how to deal with losing a game without being deterred from ever playing again.
We’ve picked out five learning areas that a family game night can support, some of which you may not have even realised you were helping to develop!
Little ones learn new words every day and the greater the range of their vocabulary the easier it is for children to express themselves and communicate with others in social situations or imaginative play. Games that need written or spoken input provide an opportunity for children to discuss words and their contexts within a fun family setting. Actions speak louder than words, so by associating a new word with an action a child’s understanding of its meaning can be further reinforced.
“Really enjoyed playing this game with my husband and 11-year old daughter. We sure learned a lot of new words (especially my daughter)! And blurting out our guesses sounded pretty silly. We quickly switched from level 1 to level 2 for our family. While level 1 seems perfect for younger players, we found the level 2 words to be more challenging.”- Mummy Blogger LuvRKids
The key to solving a problem successfully begins with recognising, understanding and describing it before working to find a solution. If the solution doesn’t work, family games often encourage children to start at the beginning again without the feeling that they have failed. Practice makes perfect and by repeating this process, children’s analytical abilities will be developed. Set-backs will occur in family games due to trivia questions, physical challenges or real-life situations; and games are also often down to luck, which can change in an instant. By learning to handle situations that have a sudden change of outcome, children will be able to apply this skill to other social situations.
We recommend: Riddle Cube™ A mind-bending shape-shifting race!
“My children and their friends love this game as well as the
adults. They have spent many hours working on the game and challenging each other. It is a great game to help the little ones work on manual dexterity and the older kids to think outside of the box. I have recommended this game to all my friends.”- Parent
Connecting prior knowledge
Children are constantly absorbing information about the world around them and through multi-sensory learning experiences they can make cognitive connections and associations. Games that draw upon familiar situations provide the opportunity for children to draw upon pre-made associations to build deeper understanding and expand their vocabulary.
We recommend: Play by the Book The action packed game that brings literature to life! Ages 8+
Family games allow children to enjoy interaction with others. Many games require players to take turns which encourages children to listen and concentrate whilst others are playing the game. Between the ages 2-7 children’s thoughts are typically about themselves and are defined as being ego-centric. This can make it difficult for children to understand why everybody else isn’t feeling the same way as they do. Developing patience, when waiting for a turn, can also be helped by family members announcing whose turn is next and repeating this after each person’s turn.
“I played this game with my pre-k students who are 4.5 years old. They loved the picnic theme and the ant tokens. I loved that it has 2 levels of play – right now we’re just using the first level, but by the end of the year we’ll switch to the 2nd level. This game took about 15-20 minutes to complete with 3 players.it is great for comparing numbers, number recognition and counting. This will remain a staple in our Game Center all year! “ – Parent
Critical thinking games encourage children to think in new and different ways as well as the ability to evaluate a situation in order to solve a problem. Family games can help to reinforce the feeling that thinking in a critical way is fun and will help children make independent decisions in the future. Many games that promote this way of thinking require children to piece things together in order to meet a specific outcome, for example piecing shapes together to make a larger shape or guiding an object through a maze to reach the exit. Thinking logically in this way also helps children to persevere with situations and plan strategies.
We recommend: iTrax™ Critical Thinking Game Ages 6+
“The iTrax Game is an easy to learn game that takes no time to set up, play and get put away. Love this game and so does my six year old.The iTrax Game reminds me of games I play on my smartphone so I find it just as fun to play as do my kids. I love that this is a thinking game. I can see my little one’s mind working away as we play. I love that there are three levels of play and that you can each play a different level in order to make the game more equal.” – Mummy Blogger MomMomOnTheGo