Throughout the history of civilization, games and toys have been used for children’s education and development. They have also been important for adult social interaction and entertainment. Board games in particular have been played in most cultures; several examples have been found pictured in ancient Egyptian tomb frescoes, in early Aztec ruins, and in ancient China historical records. Board games use counters or pieces that are instrumental for movement across a board that has markings or designs on the surface, and each game usually has a starting point and ending point. Board games usually involve some level of skill, strategy, and critical thinking, and they often teach and reinforce basic learning concepts of language, mathematics, science, geography, history, and more.
In addition to rudimentary subject learning, educational board games enhance social and emotional development, help develop hand-eye coordination, and assist understanding of spatial relationships. They also encourage understanding of complex construction elements, cause-and-effect relationships, and basic world and life concepts. Most board games require focus, patience, sharing, social interaction, understanding limits, and taking turns. The most elemental board games teach early learning skills of number, shape, letter, and color recognition, as well as counting, grouping, and reading fundamentals. Educational board games have survived for centuries by virtue of their essence– learning by way of fun!
Many of these also have junior versions for younger learners.
For language arts development, several different board games are available that teach word and letter recognition, phonetics, rhyming, anagrams, synonyms, spelling and vocabulary building, and reading comprehension:
Many board games offer learning in number recognition, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, pre-algebra, geometry, and monetary value and denominations:
3. Money Bags: A Coin Value Game
4. The Allowance Game
5. Head Full of Numbers
Several educational board games teach geography, directional, and distance skills by incorporating maps of states, nations, and continents. Many of these also teach cultural differences and social studies:
1. Great States
4. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
5. Brain Quest: Know the States (also Brain Quest: Around the World)
Many board games are available that involve science learning, including biology, anatomy, earth science, meteorology, environmental science, ecology, astronomy, physics, and chemistry:
2. Totally Gross
3. Science Lab: Earth Science (also Science Lab: Life Science)
4. Anatomy Academy
5. Professor Noggins Wonders of Science
Board games make excellent teaching tools for all ages!
*Image provided by Educational Insights.*