After the ninth annual School Game Playing Day, educators are embracing this method all over again, writes Damian Corless:
board games are an integral part of the teaching process …, helping the children learn English, maths and a range of life skills.
Math helps with problem solving skill development. When kids play Monopoly, they could be facing a situation where they are behind the other players and they want to get ahead. The child can start reasoning if buying a piece of property would help him get ahead or should he take a different action? he’ll need to count how far behind he is and how many steps forward he wants to be.
The ability to identify and name basic colors can be improved with board games.
“A lot of junior and senior infants don’t know their colours when they start school. A lot of children would have difficulty saying that’s red or that’s blue. They might have difficulty if you say to them: ‘Can you pick up the red counter?’
“Board games are good for developing matching skills, where a child learns to match pieces that are of a kind. They’re good for developing grouping skills. They’re good for learning how to predict outcomes. What are the chances of this or that outcome? That’s a valuable maths skill.
“When it comes to learning English, the children have to read and understand the rules of the games. As they play, they have to express their oral language because the games demand they communicate with the other players.
“For the very young children board games help with early literacy skills. The movement of the pieces on the board involves hand-to-eye co-ordination which helps in early literacy skills where hand-eye co-ordination is vital in turning pages, pointing to words and moving along step-by-step.”
Board games have many benefits from motor coordination, social skills, to emotional regulation. It does not require expensive equipment and can be enjoyable for adults and kids.