Four reasons to have family game night; by Christine Jensen

We have all seen the commercials about family game night. I love to play games with my students and my own kids. I believe strongly that they can learn a lot while playing. Games can reinforce concepts I am teaching, but can teach so much more. There is importance behind playing games with your kids.  Here are some benefits of gaming with your children.

  1. Time: You are spending quality time with your child. Time with you helps to boost your child’s self-esteem.
  1. Memory: It helps with working memory. Kids have to remember the rules of the game, whose turn it is, and paying attention when it isn’t their turn.   Board games can help kids focus and lengthen attention span by encouraging completing a game. Your luck can change play by play. It helps spread the message that you should never give up.
  1. Academic skills: Games may focus on number and shape recognition, reasoning, strategy skills, grouping, counting, letter recognition, reading, visual perception, color recognition, eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity.
  1. Social Skills: Games help students with communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns, patience, playing fair, sportsmanship, and enjoying interaction with others.
  • Help to set boundaries: Games can help to set boundaries while playing. Children have to stay organized and learn to act in an acceptable manner. Games help to build friendships and show how to work together.
  • Learning to win and lose: This is an important lesson. We as parents need to guide and model this for our kids. Show them that winning is fun, but losing isn’t the end of the world. The next game may end in a different way. Show them how to be a gracious winner and loser. Experiencing both can be a great lesson.

If you are looking for a good way to spend time with your child try playing a game with them. It is a great way to build memories and make a bigger impact than you may have realized. I believe that playing games is important and a great way to model positive behavior.

Great Games to Play: Go Fish, UNO, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Trouble, Life, Pay Day, Monopoly, Zingo, Operation, Checkers, Chess, Battleship, Candy Land, Scrabble, Connect Four, and Guess Who. I know there are so many more, but these are some examples and are my kids’ favorites.

  • Christine Jansen is an elementary teacher at New Morning School in Plymouth, MI. She can be reached at