Board games for children can provide enjoyment and education at the same time. Though board games may seem like nothing more than a distraction, board games can improve children's critical thinking abilities, social skills and hand-eye coordination. Board games can also offer practice in math and language. Results of a 2008 study from Carnegie Mellon University suggest that playing numerical board games can increase preschoolers' math comprehension.
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Chutes and Ladders
Chutes and Ladders, designed for children aged three and older, teaches kids about the consequences of decisions. To play, children spin the wheel and move markers the number of spaces indicated. Each space contains a situation that requires a decision. If kids make the correct choice, they get to climb a ladder. Make an incorrect choice, and get sent down the chute. Skills include counting, taking turns and recognising numbers up to 100. Children do not need to know how to read to play Chutes and Ladders.
Sequence for Kids
Sequence for Kids, designed for children ages three through six, employs and develops memorisation skills. Children try to match cards from their hand with a variety of animals on the board with the goal of creating a row of four. Special cards allow players to place a chip anywhere on the board or to remove another player's chip. Younger children can focus on learning the names of animals and matching, while older children can try a little bit of strategy. Reading is not required.
Cranium Cariboo, designed for children over three, offers beginner and advanced play options. Younger players can practice matching, memorising and learning letters from A through C, numbers one through four, shapes and colours. Older or more advanced children can play with the full alphabet and numbers one through 10. Players choose cards, unlock doors and hunt for balls with the ultimate goal of unlocking a treasure chest. One game generally takes 10 to 15 minutes. Reading is not required.
The Scrambled States of America
The Scrambled States of America, designed for children ages eight and older, teaches players about U.S. geography. Based on a popular children's book of the same name, the goal of the game is to put switched-around states back where they belong. Players match states with their "homes" using facts, capitals, figures, pictures, colours and clues. Though children do need to know how to read to play The Scrambled States of America, the game rules can be modified for younger players or beginning readers.
Scrabble Junior, designed for children ages five and older, offers a pint-sized version of the classic adult game. Younger players and non-readers can play by matching letter tiles to the short words already spelt out on the board. Older players or more advanced readers can flip the board to the blank side and create words using letter tiles. While players don't need to know how to read, they do need to possess some alphabet recognition ability.
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- Hasbro: Chutes and Ladders Game
- Jax Ltd: Sequence for Kids
- Hasbro: Cranium Cariboo
- Gamewright: Scrambled States of America