We love playing board games and card games at our house now! My husband and I never used to be board game players before we had children. Then I saw how board games help teach social skills that kids need in order to function in society and I was hooked!

We haven’t scheduled a game night in our house yet, but it could be in our future as everyone gets a bit older! For now, we play games as often as we want to! And my kids LOVE to play them! Little do they know they’re actually learning necessary life skills!

But how do board games help teach social skills?

Board games are full of so many opportunities for children to practice social skills they will use out in society. Skills like:

Waiting Patiently

Patience is a skill that children need to learn through lots of varied experiences. While playing a board or card game a child will have to wait patiently while other players take turns, organize themselves, and during game set up. Kids learn that being impatient won’t speed up their turn or make their opponent lose.

Taking Turns

For the younger set taking turns with other people can be challenging! Toddlers and preschoolers are self-centered by nature and they think that it’s always their turn. Playing a simple board or card game will help them learn how to take turns with other people and that it’s okay to wait even though it might not feel good at the time.

Following Rules

Parents of children know that children don’t naturally know how to follow rules. Learning what the rules are in a game and following them is a good skill to learn! There will be many times in your child’s life where they will need to follow a set of rules. Playing games will allow them to practice this skill!

Losing Gracefully

There is an art to losing graciously. Even adults struggle with losing at a game they’re really invested in! Kids will benefit greatly by learning to lose without attaching too much emotion to the loss. This will mean that later in life when they’re met with disappointment they will better be able to cope.

Being Happy For Another’s Win

Just as there is an art to losing graciously there is also an art to being happy for another player’s win! Being happy for another player’s win in the face of your loss takes a lot of skills! Losing can feel really awful but it helps a child to learn that the other player worked hard for their win and are deserving of their win.

Winning Gracefully

Winning can feel really good! You’ve worked hard to get to that win. But it’s important to hone the skill of winning gracefully without shoving it other’s faces that you’ve won and they have not. The feeling of accomplishment a child feels when they’ve won is a good thing but learning not to gloat is a good thing, too!

Communication

There is a lot of communication going on in a board game. Who’s turn is it? What colour are you? How many spaces should I move now? Do you have any of the cards I need?

These are all ways that children will need to communicate while playing board games. It offers the child the opportunity to work on their communication skills in a safe environment where the stakes are low. Then they can use these skills in communicating with people out there in the real world with confidence!

And there is lots of non-verbal communication going on while playing a board game that your child will learn, too.

Strategizing

Strategizing can be a part of some card or board games, whether they’re doing it alone or on a team. Strategizing is a good social skill for kids to learn! There are many things in life that involve some creative strategizing to make them come to fruition.

Protecting Themselves

Playing board games can teach a child how to protect themselves and what’s best for their survival in the game or wellbeing. You wouldn’t play a game and give away your next move because then your opponent would know and they could potentially win! Protecting yourself in a social situation is a skill that takes a bit of learning and development while kids are young in order to be successful adults.

Honesty

Playing any sort of game requires the players to be honest otherwise the game won’t be played fairly. Teaching your child to play the game honestly is a skill they will use in every other area of their lives. Being dishonest or cheating in a game might give them short-term satisfaction. But teaching your child the honor of playing fairly and honestly will serve them better when they are an adult.

Board Games We Like

  • Shutes and Ladders
  • Go Fish
  • Uno
  • Battle Ship
  • Scrabble
  • Guess Who
  • Twister
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Chess
  • Match
  • Connect 4
  • Jenga

Not only will your child develop social skills while playing these games but you will be creating life-long happy memories for your children of playing these games with their parents and each other! Which really is the best part! Building strong relationships with your children through play is very rewarding for everyone.