All I want for Christmas is for parents to spend more time interacting with their children…reading, talking, playing board games! And if you want to know what children really want, it’s the same thing – time and attention from their parents! Instead of buying expensive video games, suggest your parents give their children good old-fashioned board games like Go Fish, Old Maid, or Candy Land this year.
The most important reason to play games with children is because it’s enjoyable and fun for everyone in the family. Research studies also suggest that when children play games they develop academic as well as social and emotional skills, such as:
*number concepts, counting, shapes
*eye-hand coordination and small motor skills
*self-regulation - controlling impulses
*improved attention span
*how to lose gracefully – how to learn from their mistakes
*planning ahead and problem solving
*persistence – never give up
When you think about the focus of most video games versus interactive social games, it’s clear who the winner is!
Follow the child’s lead. Never force children to complete a game or play a game. Remember, it’s suppose to be FUN! It’s perfectly fine to adapt games and rules for younger children to keep their interest. As they get older they will be ready to “play fair” and follow the rules.
Oh, Well! Model appropriate behavior and how to lose. Demonstrate how to open your palms and say, “Oh, well!” when something doesn’t go your way.
How do you choose games just right for children’s age and stage? Games that are too difficult will frustrate children, and games that are too easy will lose their interest. Most games have a suggested age range on the box. Here’s a site with additional ideas for games:
January and February can always be challenging times for teachers. Why not plan a “game day” every Friday afternoon? Invite children to bring games from home. Divide children into groups of 4 and rotate them through 10-15 minutes of each game. Have parent volunteers or upper grade students help monitor the games.
It’s only a game, but it’s a WIN-WIN at home or at school!