Can playing board games make you smarter?

The short answer? Yes!

As many educators who use board games in their curricula will tell you, there’s a whole lot more to playing a good board game than just fun (although we think that’s pretty important too!). And, we’re not talking about “educational board games,” which are specifically designed for educational purposes or use in the classroom. But numerous studies and research projects have shown that playing classic board games, specifically ones that require strategic thinking (*ahem,* Latice anyone?), can have real cognitive, social, educational, and even emotional benefits.

In his book A Board Game Education, Jeffrey Hinebaugh writes that classic board games “provide some of the best tools around for developing and illustrating educational skills and concepts that are fundamental to achievement.” This brain-boosting potential is due in large part to the “fun factor” of board games. It is widely researched that, whether in the classroom or the workplace and beyond, learning of all kinds is most effective and has the most lasting impact when it’s fun.

Here’s a list, by no means comprehensive, of some of the top skills that experts say board games help to develop and strengthen in both kids and adults:

  • Logic
  • Critical thinking
  • Strategic thinking
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Problem-solving and planning
  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Social awareness
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Empathy & sympathy
  • Math skills
  • Focus
  • How to follow rules
  • Creative thinking

So break out the board games this week, or, better yet, establish a weekly “game night” tradition with family or friends. It’s one of the best ways that family members of all ages can engage in learning together, all while having a fun and making lasting memories!

Want to add Latice to the list of your family’s favorite board games? Click here to order our classic strategy board game.

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