When your kids get home from school or it’s early on a Saturday morning, it’s easy to tell them to put on a movie or play some video games until you’re ready to do more with them. Rather than waste precious time (and brain cells), consider investing in some board games that will help your children use their minds even when they’re not in school. There are a few different types of games that will work well depending on your child’s personality and interests.
Word games can be a fun way for your children to expand their vocabulary and practice spelling. Scrabble is a classic game that also comes in a junior edition for younger children. For competitive family fun, get the Scrabble dictionary to help with those pesky Q’s and Z’s. Older kids will enjoy Balderdash, a game that works in creativity and guessing. Scattergories is another great game that will get the blood pumping in your child’s brain. Word searches and crossword puzzles are fun for a while but to ward off boredom, encourage your child to make their own for you to solve. These types of games are great for your bookworms and story tellers. Nothing is more surprising or exciting than when you hear your child use a word that you don’t even know the definition of.
Number games are a great way to work on your children’s math skills without sitting down and drilling multiplication into their heads. Play Monopoly but let your child be the banker so that he or she can practice counting out money and being responsible for it. Teach your child how to play Sudoku and spend some time working on one together. Showing your child blackjack, minus the gambling, is another great way to practice math and deduction skills. Math and number games work well for kids who are quick on their feet and are always trying to figure things out. With children this smart, you won’t even need to keep a calculator around the house anymore.
Strategy games can challenge your child’s problem solving abilities as well as the way that they look at different scenarios. Chess and checkers are fantastic for children to play with each other. The great thing about these games is that they will always be challenging, no matter your age! To work on concentration and motor skills, Jenga can be a fun – although occasionally stressful – choice. Children who are interested in the way things work and are trying to do things their own way are sure to love strategy games. Watch out though, you might come home to find your kids on their third day of World in Flames.
To get your child to think even further outside of the box, buy some puzzles or games that have puzzling elements. 3D puzzles come in many shapes and sizes and can be an additional way to teach your child about things like science and art. Rubik’s cubes may not be the best for young children but they are challenging and exciting for older kids. Games like Rush Hour, which has a maze element added to it, is another fun game for your children to play at any age. These games are most fun for children who like to think through things and enjoy problem solving. You might find random puzzle pieces around the house so keep a jar full of them for your children to sort through later – it will be like its very own puzzle.
There are plenty of ways that your child could spend their time after school and on the weekends. Spend time with your children so they know that you care. If you invest your time in your children, they won’t forget it. There isn’t any harm in playing fun and exciting games with your children that will challenge them mentally. If you learn together and from each other, it is sure to help them have healthier minds and happier lives.
Veronica Mason has worked as an academic adviser since graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in education. She enjoys many hobbies including tennis, reading, and jigsaw puzzles.