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  • Richmond Toy Library

Why Board Games Matter

Updated: Dec 24, 2021

by Gabriel Cooper, Jason McKee

Back in the day, board games were the centre of playtime. Owning the latest game could easily make you the most popular kid in town. In the early 2000s, video games rapidly dominated traditional entertainment as graphics and operating systems are improved.

But things turned around last year…

As communities went into lockdowns, many people turned to board games. According to Statistica, the global market value of these games may reach US$8.12 billion by the end of 2021.

Noah Tran, a marketing consultant for Novalease, has an explanation for this. He says, “The re-emergence of board games is due to our need for comfort in the face of uncertainty. We’re looking for ways to re-live memories that make us feel warm and safe, like playing with family and friends. It’s also a chance to introduce the games we grew up with to the younger generation.

Let’s outline more reasons why you should consider ditching video games for board games.

Keeps away children from screens

Research shows that excessive screen time can lead to obesity, poor sleep quality, anxiety, shorter attention span, and many other unpleasant effects. On top of that, blue light can cause eye fatigue and headaches. Board games can satisfy your need to play without harming your health.

Children are easier to monitor

Sometimes, we get caught up with work and household chores that we cannot play with the family's younger members. Thankfully, board games have more consistent themes. You don’t have to worry about narratives and images that are not age-appropriate.

Promotes desirable behaviour

Being humble in victory and accepting defeat with grace can be demonstrated during playtime. Board games tend to be more relaxed, allowing you to praise wise choices and rejoice together.

Develops social skills

Children learn to communicate ideas, negotiate, take risks, follow the rules, stretch their patience, and work with other people through board games. They are more relaxed when playing, giving you a chance to discuss more things.

Enhances cognitive Skills

Playing board games can improve memory, concentration, analytical and decision-making skills, and processing speed. It also increases attention span and develops confidence.

Offers a shared experience

You’ll experience all sorts of emotions while playing board games: excitement, joy, surprise, awe, intrigue, tension, and relief. When shared, these emotions strengthen the players' relationship--and the game becomes a happy memory!

Players are also required to interact, allowing you to appreciate each other better.

Almost anyone can join!

Board games bring together social and cognitive learning in a fun and exciting way. Social skills are built through the play, engaging with each other and learning to win and lose gracefully.

Cognitive learning for young children is built through simple actions like counting the squares moved forward or the money to pay for a property. As children get older, the cognitive skills become less about learning the mechanics, and more about learning strategy and tactics.

These skills are useful for generalized problem solving, but also for acting as a bridge between classroom learning and the real world. Board games create different scenarios, different from the classroom, but simpler than real life. In the end, this can help act as a sort of stimulating sandbox where ideas can be tested with no real-world consequences. Most board games are uncomplicated. Anyone can participate and quickly learn the rules. This means every family or friend feels a sense of inclusivity and equality. Matching games are suitable for children from 18 months, and puzzle games can be played alone. Here are some examples.

Snail's Pace Race

This fun dice-rolling, snail-racing game allows for non-competitive play and motivational reinforcement. You can play a game in 15 minutes, and it's perfect for 2-6 players ages 3+.

Dick Bruna Lottino

Lottino by Miffy Creator Dick Bruna is a lovely matching/bingo-style game suitable for children from age 2+. You can play this game with 1 to 6 players.

Shopping List game

Be the first to find the items on your list and fill your trolley. or basket. This is a shopping-themed matching and memory game suitable for 2-4 players from age 3+.

Build a Robot game

This game combines puzzle making, counting, tools, machines and space where players spin to place robot parts in their puzzle frame. Suitable for 1-4 players from age 3+.

Two players face off in Rush Hour Shift, with each trying to be the first to get their car to opponent's side of the playing area. Suitable from age 7+.

The game board represents a multi-lane highway with a number of trucks and cars scattered across the lanes. Each player starts with a hand of cards, and the cards let you either move vehicles, shift sections of the highway left or right, or both.

Consider creating a family ritual where everyone has to play board games. Set a game night, stock up on snacks, and create a joyful environment. Play different games per week!

All these game are available to be borrowed from Richmond Toy Library. Find more information here.


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