It's Friday night: computers are finally off, and the whole family’s ready to relax. But instead of firing up Netflix or browsing the Net on your phone, why not play a boardgame with the bunch instead?
Boardgames are the O.G. family pastime, going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Its easy-to-set-up nature recommends it to busy families. Just choose a game, pick a spot, roll the dice, and let the fun begin!
Beyond simply creating an opportunity for family interaction, boardgames also benefit your child's development, as well. Here's a list of recommended games you and young kids will love, plus their level-up points for teaching tots more than just sportsmanship.
Snakes & Ladders
Level up: your kid's patience; following rules
It’s a classic game that’s been a household standby since its invention by Indian gamers. Your child will enjoy it as much as you do, as you dodge snakes, land shortcuts through ladders, and finish the course.
Snakes & Ladders’ simple rules and multi-player options allow kids of any age to get in on the excitement. Little ones will learn to wait their turn, develop patience through obstacles (don't you hate it when you land on a snake?), and accept losses in this game of chance.
Level up: your kid's attention skills
It's so satisfying to shout out “Bingo!” after minutes, even hours, of trying to match five numbers in a row. Bingo is easy to play, even with just paper and pen. Because Bingo is essentially a matching game, you can simply substitute the numbers with letters, words, pictures, colors, and more.
Teachers have been known to use Bingo to engage students, making concepts like math equations fun to do. Even with the classic version, you're already teaching young ones hand-eye coordination, numbers recognition, and listening skills!
Level up: their math and observation skills
With this Southeast Asian game (descended from the ancient mancala, still played in Malaysia and Indonesia as congkak), you’re not just teaching your child life skills, you’re also imparting heritage – a gaming history that reaches beyond our shores to our cultural siblings across the region!
Sungka is a 2-player game using a wooden block with 14 holes (bahay) and two heads (ulo). With beads placed in the holes, players pick a side and simultaneously move around the block until one head collects most beads. The rules aren’t that complicated for young kids, and a few rounds with adults will help them get the hang of it. Soon they’ll be counting and strategizing well enough to win first!
Level up: their math and finance knowledge
Remember how our parents taught us how to handle money, by sending us to a sari-sari store run or paying the cashier at the grocery? You can add Monopoly as a tool for teaching this vital life skill (quite handy while we're all at home at the moment)!
The iconic Monopoly's junior version lets you buy property and collect rent without other complicated rules from the original. Even in this simplified form, it's still a lively boardgame the entire family will love.
Level up: your kid's vocabulary
Keep the family's vocab skills sharp through this simple game of finding words in a grid. But this is no ordinary word search, as every round is a random set of jumbled letters. Plus, the timer only gives you minutes to string terms vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The player with the most words found wins the round!
It's a great way to teach kids who are learning complex spelling, honing their literacy and writing know-how in the process. Adults joining in can also partner with children for teamwork fun. For younger kids (3+), try Boggle Jr.: an entertaining and age-appropriate introduction using simple words and pictures.
Level up: your kid's decision-making skills; hand-to-eye coordination
Scientists have found in Jenga an ideal tool to teach cognitive and spatial skills to robots. That’s because Jenga hides an unlikely complexity in its rules: little ones will quickly learn the best tactic to avoid mistakes, because who doesn't panic at the sight of a toppling tower?
Scale up your game by getting this giant-size set: with this Jenga on steroids, that tower can even reach 5 feet high. Now that's a thrill that raises the stakes!
Hedbanz for Kids
Level up: their critical thinking and communication skills
This is Pinoy Henyo 2.0 that even preschoolers will get the hang of! The same concept applies: you wear a card on your head and, with limited time, ask yes or no "what am I" related questions to the other players. Chips go to the bank for every correct answer, and the first to get rid of their chips win.
Little ones learn critical thinking as they analyze the right questions to ask. Soon, they'll recognize the pattern of victory!
Ready to play? Round up the youngsters for family playdates like this for quality bonding sessions everyone will enjoy. Now grab a boardgame and let the fun begin!
● Hongkong Desi. "How Indian Moksha Patam Became the Snake and Ladders Game." Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
● Red Tricycle. "How Bingo Can Help Teach Kids Math during Quarantine." Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
● Wikipedia. "Mancala." Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
● Wikipedia. "Boggle." Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
● MIT News. "MIT robot combines vision and touch to learn the game of Jenga." January 30, 2019.
About The Writer
Soon after graduating from De La Salle - College Of Saint Benilde, Sam began to work on a portfolio that has grown to include lifestyle, personality profiles, parenthood, and business writing. Her work has appeared in publications from Hinge Inquirer, Summit, and ABS-CBN Publishing.
Samantha’s worn many content-related hats: she’s served as editor-in-chief of juice.ph and yellow-pages.ph; project manager for Unilever Foodsolution's Chefmanship Academy; managing partner for Ampersand Collective, Resultado Co., and Comida Gastronomica; and a contributor on parenting topics for HeyMom.com.ph, Female Network, Metro Style, and PursuitofPassion.ph.
She has an MBA from the Ateneo Graduate School Of Business and varied courses in writing and content marketing under her belt. Sam is also the proud mom of a seven-year-old boy.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.