Like all good Massachusetts parents, our biggest goal is that our children grow up and move out. In order to do that, they need life skills and education. Ideally, we’d like them to finish college or a skilled trade program, get a good job (or create their own good jobs), get married, and provide us with adorable grandchildren.
So, to help in this process, we bought board games for this holiday season.
Most internet surfing and video game playing is done independently. But, some of the life skills children need are to play together and to lose and to accept a string of bad luck graciously. While there’s definitely skill involved in some board games, there’s also a whole lot of luck.
Here’s what we’re hoping our children learn from our new family fun.
Mental Math: We’ve been playing Monopoly which still has rents in weird amounts: $6, $12, or multiply the roll of the dice by 4. If the unfortunate soul who lands on your property doesn’t have exactly $36 and pays you with a $50, you’ll have to figure out their change on the fly. Our children have advanced way past basic addition, but doing it in your head so the game can go on is a great skill to have.
Reading Out Loud: Children read books to themselves most of the time, and it is rarely that they have the opportunity to read aloud or do a presentation. Playing a game such as Triaial Pursuit will allow the child to read aloud the questions and enhance thir language skills. .
Learning Important Trivia: While the whole point of Trivial Pursuit is to answer questions that aren’t important in your daily life, it turns out that there are a whole lot of important things one can learn from such a game. We can not only answer questions about Watergate or the Suez Canal crisis, we can explain what those are. Our children can become familiar with important historical events, literature, basic science, and geography, among other things.
Graceful Losing: Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. No matter how brilliant you are at property management if you land on a Hotel bedecked Park Place, that’s going to hurt your wallet. You may lose. And you need to be kind about it.
Accepting Bad and Good Luck as Part of Life: You didn’t win that Sorry game because you’re the best Sorry player. It’s pure luck. You didn’t lose Trivial Pursuit because you’re dumb as a rock, you lost because you had the misfortune to get questions you didn’t know while I had the fortune to get questions I did know. Now, of course, knowing more things increases your chances of winning Trivial pursuit, but no amount of prep will help you with Sorry or Candy Land. You’ve got to accept that a string of bad luck isn’t the end of the world and a string of good luck doesn’t mean you’re better than everyone else.
Interacting with Other Humans: While you can have a lot of human interaction on the internet, it’s a different type of interaction. You’re not face-to-face, you can wander off without being rude, and you can carry on a chat conversation while watching Netflix and no one is the wiser. When you’re playing games with other humans, you can’t do that. You’re learning actual social skills.
Board games will help put our children along the right path to adulthood and at the same time provide family fun time.
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