We just went to visit some friends of ours that had moved to another city. We played games while we were there. It was an adult game with strategy. What really struck me is the way their 5 1/2 year old and 8 year old were able to think very strategically with a lot of problem solving. I was impressed. They have a grandpa that teaches them Chess, and they play games as a family a lot, and it shows.
I am a gamer. I have always loved games. I like the way they make me think, and I’m a tad competitive. I grew up in a family who loves to play games. I hate to admit that I haven’t gotten into them much with my own kids. We have kid games that we do play, but being with my friends showed me how I can take it to the next level, with Abby especially.
I think part of what has made me shy away from games is always having a toddler around. Sometimes it seems like a hassle because you are ignoring them or they are dumping the pieces on the floor. However, while at my friend’s house, we just made it work. The little ones learned to entertain themselves, and we were able to engage on a new level with the older ones. There is no shame in spending a bit of time with the younger ones playing at their level and then switching to one on one time with the older ones.
The Benefits of Playing Games with Kids
Games teach kids to think. When playing kids don’t know they are learning counting, problem solving, strategy, reading, social skills, healthy competition, focus, patience, taking turns, verbal communication, understanding and applying directions, and perseverance.
Yes, you will want to dumb down your play at times. However, let them experience losing. Demonstrate how you handle it in a healthy way. Help them to learn to be a good sport while realizing that in life, people do win and lose. Help them learn to think steps ahead. Playing with them against another adult can help them see your own thinking and problem solving skills. Try and find games that are mentally challenging but not so frustrating and over their head it is not fun for them. Your kids will develop higher level thinking skills through the simple and fun act of playing games.