The Link Between Educational Board Games and Improved Academic Performance in Kids

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Kids can develop many visual, perceptual, and cognitive skills when playing board games. They can also improve their analytical abilities and learn how to think strategically.

Studies also demonstrate that educational board games can teach at different academic levels. For example, a game developed by researchers taught students about the periodic table of elements entertainingly and effectively.

Educational Benefits

Board games require players to follow rules and remain seated for a set period, so they help kids learn to focus. They also make learning fun, increasing overall motivation and attention levels. This makes them an excellent tool for teachers to use in their classrooms.

In one study, researchers found that using educational board games in a class led to better math scores than traditional methods. They analyzed 21 studies and found that children who played educational board games outperformed those who didn’t. They also found that playing board games helps children improve their mathematical abilities. The team measured success in four categories: basic numeric competency (such as the ability to name numbers) and number comprehension, where a child can accurately add and subtract.

The researchers also looked at the effects of using board games in a class on students’ learning, emotional students, and interactive engagement. They discovered that students who played educational board games with their peers had higher interaction engagement than those who didn’t.

Playing educational board games for kids with friends is a great way to teach kids critical social skills like communication, listening, and coping with defeat or winning. It also encourages them to solve problems, collaborate, and think ahead. These are all skills that will be useful in the real world.

Cognitive Benefits

Board games give students regular practice with the cognitive skills crucial to academic success. These skills include working memory and information processing. They involve remembering key facts, mentally comparing and contrasting them with alternative propositions or options, and then prioritizing these to produce a response. They also help students develop the ability to use the information they’ve processed to solve problems and make decisions.

By playing educational board games, students learn to recognize a problem, think of different solutions, and then come up with the best solution. These critical problem-solving skills will help them throughout their lives and careers.

The joy of playing a game makes it easier for students to engage with new content. This allows them to become comfortable with the vocabulary and subject material, and it’s a great way to ease students into a topic that might otherwise seem intimidating.

Many games require players to communicate with one another, and this is a perfect opportunity for kids to practice social skills that they might not get the chance to practice in the classroom. Children learn to take turns, how to play fair, and the importance of listening to others’ ideas. They also know how to deal with winning and losing healthily, congratulating other players on their victories and offering encouragement when they are the losers.

Social Benefits

Whether at a summer camp, daycare, or another social gathering, the presence of a board game helps pull kids away from screens and encourages them to interact with their peers. This can help develop interpersonal skills, build resilience, and improve mood and concentration.

Board games can also teach social-emotional competencies like cooperation, turn-taking, sharing, and dealing with winning or losing. Playing a non-competitive board game can also build self-esteem and confidence by fostering success in a safe environment. This may be different for competitive matches.

The skills needed to play a good game, such as strategic thinking and problem-solving, have been associated with academic performance in other settings. For example, studies of the number-line board game Mastermind show that children who play the game develop superior math abilities to children in control groups. 

Regardless of the academic benefits, some teachers may hesitate to introduce educational board games into their classrooms due to concerns about student engagement. Yet incorporating them into learning can be easy. For instance, many recommended board games are simple to set up, appeal to various interests, and can be played repeatedly with more discovery each time they’re used. This makes them an ideal way to promote academic skills and foster student engagement while boosting social-emotional competencies at the same time.

Physical Benefits

Playing educational board games can help kids develop a variety of physical skills. Many games require kids to follow the rules, stay seated for a set amount of time, and pay attention for long periods. These are essential skills for kids to master to do well in school.

Children also benefit from learning to collaborate and communicate with their friends while playing board games. This is a vital skill they will need to use as they work together on group projects in school and presentations in their professional careers. Games like the widespread Pandemic teach kids to cooperate and communicate to win.

Other physical skills that kids will learn while playing board games include strategic thinking, quick decision-making, and problem-solving. Kids can also understand the importance of following instructions, a skill they will need in their home and school lives. Kids can also learn the value of resilience while playing board games. This is the ability to bounce back after a loss and try again.

The benefits of using educational games in the classroom go beyond boosting students’ test scores and knowledge. When used effectively, these games can help kids build essential life skills, such as perseverance, patience, and fairness. They can also encourage students to think critically about their gameplay and consider how they could improve their strategy.

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