Why do we love board games? Because they’re fun! But there’s so much more to the hobby than entertainment, and increasingly we’re seeing serious scientific research that proves how valuable games are for learning, cognitive development, socialization, and overall health.
In other words, board games literally create superhumans…
Games Increase Brain Function
That’s right, board games will make your kids smarter.
When you play board games, you stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for memory formation and complex thought function (which is true for adults, too.) Games help develop cognitive skills, including decision making, problem-solving, and logical analysis.. And the benefits continue on throughout a person’s life. In older adults, playing games has been shown to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
One popular “brain training” game is Carcassonne. Players face off by placing tiles and building a board of the French countryside. The game requires players to think logically, to plan ahead, and most importantly, how to turn their meeples into the most Victory Points possible!
Games Improve Pattern Recognition Ability
Board games also improve pattern recognition — the critical function that embodies the evolved human brain. It’s the fundamental skill that helps us speak complex languages, and learn new skills.
To put your identification skills to the test, we recommend Spot it!, a fun, fast-paced pattern recognition game in which players try to match images shown on multiple cards. Each card features eight different symbols and any two cards have exactly one symbol in common. Whoever spots the most matches wins!
They Show the Value of Teamwork
One of the most universal lessons your kids will learn from board games is the value of teamwork. Whether working on group projects at school or on presentations later in their working lives, your kids will need to know how to cooperate and communicate.
Pandemic is the perfect place to start. In this worldwide bestseller, all players must cooperate to win or everyone will lose. Four diseases spread across the world like wildfire and it’s up to a team of scientific specialists to cure the contagions before mankind is entirely wiped out.
Playing Lowers Blood Pressure
It turns out, laughing is good for your health.
So while you’re plotting your next move you can actually decreases stress, which simultaneously lowers blood pressure. And let’s face it, using board games to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease is a winning move.
You’ll be laughing in no time when you play Exploding Kittens, a “kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette.” Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten, losing in a fiery furball of flaming feline hyperbole. The twist? The deck is made up of cards that allow you to avoid exploding – either by peeking at cards before you draw, forcing your opponent to draw multiple cards, or shuffling the deck. As the game proceeds, things quickly become intense with each card drawn, increasing players’ chances of experiencing a kitty explosion.
Board Games Show Us It Is Okay To Unplug
These days, kids (and adults, for that matter) cannot seem to get away from their cell phones. While a little screen time is all right, it is important for your kids to learn digital boundaries. Board games can help kids understand there is a life outside of the internet, and it is possible to have fun without watching our favorite YouTuber’s latest video.
So whether you’re in it for the fun, the socialization, or the health benefits, the good news is board games are here to help with all three.