Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Game's On - Introducing Board Games

I love family game night, I loved it as a kid and now I love that it is something we have incorporated in our family. We introduced board games to my daughter when she was four years old. We went all out and got Monopoly, Sorry, Mouse Trap, and Scrabble Junior.

Though I love board games, I feel strongly that not all games are created equal. When looking for a game to add to your collection there are some important things to keep in mind. This is specially true when the age range of the players is significant, say parents and their preschoolers. You want to make sure you choose a game that you will both enjoy playing after the 100th time, because unless there are other children who will be available to play the game, it will most likely be the parents who will be the other player. I made the mistake of getting Cherry Orchard for my daughter as a first board game and now I am quite over it to put it mildly.

A good board game will be one that will challenge your child, if it is too easy they will be bored of it quickly. It's fine if you have to modify it so that they are able to play it and enjoy it, this will mean that as their skill level increases the game is still interesting and challenging. A game should promote things like critical thinking, problem solving, basic language or math skills, creativity and imagination.

Games are also great tools to introduce the concept of winning and loosing to your child. At first, expect that they will be upset when they loose and though you don't want to get into an intense competition with your preschooler, it is important that they start understanding that in games there are those who win and those who loose.

As well, games teach young children about following rules, cheating, taking turns, cooperation. All very important life skills that they will certainly need as they go into school. As parents, this is a great time to start introducing certain vocabulary to our children around following rules, cheating and taking turns and its important to help them communicate and understand their feelings about each of them.

The most important thing about a game night is that you spend it together as a family and you can use it as an opportunity to be together and have great conversations with your children.

What are yours and your child(ren)'s favourite board games?

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