toddler and adult playing a board game for kids

Unleashing the Fun: The Magic of Family Board Games

Any sports fans out there? Board game junkies? (Or have you, like me, accidentally-on-purpose hidden that Chutes & Ladders game from Grandma….)

However you feel about games, here’s what you need to know: games with rules are awesome for your toddlers and preschoolers.

The Importance of Games with Rules

Games with rules encourage that kind of deep, whole-mind-and-body play that our guy Piaget (remember him?) found to be so important for healthy development. Turns out it doesn’t matter whether you and your kids play board games or simple sports, competitive or collaborative games…as long as there are clear rules and a clear goal for winning or finishing, games foster high-quality playtime.

Developmental Benefits of Family Board Games

Not only do games encourage all-in play, but also they have these other developmental benefits:

Organic Opportunities for Early Learning

Games offer organic opportunities for early learning. Kids can count spaces, identify colors, build hand-eye coordination–the possibilities are endless! Research has even shown board games can boost reading skills and vocabulary.

Lengthen Your Child’s Attention Span

Games lengthen your child’s attention span. They require focus, but kids are motivated to stay focused on games. So they do. And the payoff is big.

Important Emotional Lessons

Games teach all kinds of important emotional lessons. Kids learn how to be a gracious winner and a good loser. They learn patience as they wait their turn. They learn the value of teamwork. They learn to strategize and deal with uncertainty. Games are just packed with natural opportunities for emotional learning!

Unplug and Connect

Games are a great way to unplug with your kids…and we all know the importance of just being present, screens off.

Simple and Fun: The Best Family Board Games

Games don’t have to be fancy or beautiful to work their magic! Dig the ball out of the shed and play four-square on the driveway or pull out HiHo Cherry-o on a rainy day. Or even simpler–ask Alexa to play you Freeze Dance in the kitchen…or play I Spy as you wait in line. It all counts.

Our Top Picks

Here are a few of our favorites–all products my family loves:

Candyland - A classic but great for children who are learning colors. Young children may struggle with landing on a square that moves them backward, but this can easily turn into a teachable moment for the grown-up who's playing with them.

Hi Ho Cherry-O - Another oldie but great for children learning to count. Beware of small pieces if you have a younger child around; they are choking hazards.

Cooperation Games - A huge trend we love. While we think there is a balance and we need to help our children learn to win and to lose, these games promote strategic thinking and cooperation. Brands like Peaceable Kingdom offer fantastic cooperative games for young children.

Hoot Owl Hoot - Work together to move all the owls into their nest before the sun rises. You still win or lose, you just do it as a whole group instead of one person winning or losing.

Tiny Polka Dot - With 16 games in one, this math-focused game grows with your child! It also makes it where you can use the cards and the game with a younger sibling and an older sibling, just in different ways. Definitely check this one out!

Unleash the fun and bonding with these best family board games. It's not just playtime; it's learning, growing, and connecting time for the whole family!

Did you know that board games are a part of the introduction to technology strategy taught in Nurtured Nest’s Introducing Technology Class? Learn more about it here. 

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