Why you should start playing board games with your children

Running out of things to do during the extended Covid-19 Circuit Breaker? Board games can be a good activity for you and your children to spend time together. But did you know that playing board games is also a good way to help your children develop life skills, such as patience, teamwork, strategic planning, creativity and cognitive thinking? In this article, we will introduce a few that we find particularly entertaining and educational.

Making good decisions

Throughout our lives, we will often be faced with choices and dilemmas – this is also true when we play board games. It is crucial for kids to learn how to make decisions from an early age by teaching them how to weigh trade-offs between pros and cons, plan for the future and react to situations. Beyond decision analysis, a good board game can also train your kid to develop the level of emotional maturity needed to address difficult situations.

Learning how to lose gracefully

In most competitive games, there will be a winner and a loser. Learning how to gracefully accept defeat is an important skill in life – after all, who has never encountered failure in their personal or professional life? From a young age, it is important for children to treat failures as learning experiences; what matters most is to impress upon them that without risking failure, there is no chance of success.
Here is a selection of games that we have tried and liked:

Settlers of Catan

Age group: 10+ (a junior version exists for children ages 6-9)
Number of players: 3 – 4 (get an extension to be able to play with up to 6 players)
Main skills developed: probability, decision-making, risk management and negotiation 
Why we love it: easy to learn, yet many strategies can be developed in order to win; each game played is unique due to the randomly built board set-up


Dixit – “A picture is worth a thousand words”

Age group: 6+
Number of players: 3 – 6
Main skills developed: creativity, communication
Main skills developed: creativity, communication
Why we love it: storytelling game based on drawings only, no words; children and adults alike are encouraged to unleash their imagination; requires players to give precise but not obvious clues; many extensions exist to add more cards to your game


7 Wonders
Age group: 10+ (for an easier version of the game with a similar concept, try Sushi Go)
Number of players: 3 – 7 (for 2 players, try 7 Wonders Duel)
Main skills developed: balancing short-term and long-term strategies, dynamic thinking, multiple-level thinking

Why we love it: a mix of several strategies (military, scientific, commercial and civilian) is required to build the greatest civilisation; keep an eye on your neighbours as their actions impact your city; no dead time as everyone plays at the same time

Age group: 8+
Number of players: 2 – 5
Main skills developed: teamwork, communication, decision making, information literacy

Why we love it: any information about your own cards must come from your teammates, as only they can see your cards (and you only get to see their cards); hints must be given wisely, and cooperation is a must to achieve the highest score possible

This is just a tip of the iceberg and there are thousands and thousands of board games out there. So why not start one now today and have a fun time bonding with your kids, especially during this Circuit Breaker period!
Mind & Hand is an EduTech platform that partners both educational industry players and private sector business employers to offer our students programmes that keep pace with technological change and that are relevant to the industry. We hope to empower our students with the skills, confidence and perspective to navigate the global skills crisis and prepare them for a workplace of the future.
By Léana Traing
DISCLAIMER: We are not affiliated in any way to the games publishing companies – this article reflects only our personal opinion.

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