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If your childhood was anything like mine, it consisted of many hours of board games around the card table, with my siblings and I battling it out via cards, marbles, pegs, or dice. With technology as prevalent as it is, board games are less popular than they once were, resulting in a decline in bonding, critical thinking, and other skills that we acquired through these many hours of play.
Grandmas: Let’s take back board game time and show our grandkids how fun it is to strategize over a game and the importance of being a gracious winner or loser. How do we do this? By breaking out the board games, of course!
Benefits of playing board games with your grandkids
I already mentioned a few reasons why board games are so important for children, but I wanted to emphasize this even further with a few more points:
- Cognitive Development: Board games can improve memory and cognitive skills and encourage strategic thinking, problem-solving, and attention to detail.
- Social Skills: Playing board games promotes interaction and communication, teaching players how to follow rules, take turns, and be a good sport.
- Bonding: Spending time together while playing games strengthens relationships by promoting laughter, conversation, and shared experiences.
- Stress Relief: Engaging in a fun, non-stressful activity can reduce stress and improve overall mental health.
- Learning Opportunity: Many board games have educational benefits, such as teaching about geography, history, and math.
Classic Board Games Suitable for Different Age Groups
You really cannot go wrong with any games, but here are a few of my favorites 🙂
Children (3-7 years)
- Candyland: This simple and colorful game teaches kids about colors and counting.
- The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game: A game that promotes color recognition and fine motor skills.
- Hungry Hungry Hippos: A fun and engaging game promoting hand-eye coordination.
Children (8-12 years)
- Scrabble Junior: A kid-friendly version of the classic game that encourages spelling and vocabulary skills.
- Ticket to Ride: This game encourages strategic thinking and provides a fun way to learn about geography.
- Clue: A detective-style game that promotes logical reasoning.
Teenagers and Adults
- Settlers of Catan: This strategic game requires players to manage resources and negotiate with others.
- Scrabble: A word-building game that encourages vocabulary development and strategic thinking.
- Monopoly: A classic game about finance and negotiation.
- Uno: This card game is simple to understand but offers strategic gameplay suitable for all ages.
- Carcassonne: A tile-laying game that develops strategic thinking, suitable for older children, teenagers, and adults.
- Pictionary: A fun, creative game that works well for a range of age groups.
Tips for Engaging in Conversation and Storytelling During Gameplay
To make your game time even more memorable and engaging, I like to encourage conversation and friendly banter! This doesn’t need to be forced – in fact, it can be extremely organic when you incorporate these easy-to-implement tips:
- Make the Story Part of the Game: Many board games have themes or settings that can be used to spark creative storytelling. Encourage players to imagine the backstory of their characters or decisions in the game.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage conversation by asking questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. For example, “Why did you choose that strategy?” or “How did you feel when you drew that card?”
- Share Personal Stories: Use the game as a conversation starter. For example, if you’re playing Ticket to Ride, share stories about places you’ve traveled. If you’re playing Scrabble, discuss interesting words you’ve recently learned.
- Be Expressive: Encourage players to be dramatic or humorous in their gameplay to make the game more entertaining and memorable. This can foster creativity and make the game more fun.
- Rotate the Storyteller: If the game doesn’t naturally lend itself to storytelling, designate a ‘storyteller’ each round who will create a short story based on the events of their turn. This encourages creativity and keeps everyone engaged in the game.
Remember: Playing board games is not just about winning – it’s about the experiences shared and connections made! By introducing conversation and storytelling into gameplay, you can enhance these social benefits and create deeper, more meaningful game nights. Enjoy those grandbabies, and good luck.