Recently, a growing body of research confirms that board games are an effective tool for developing a variety of skills in children. A study published in Early Years found that games such as Monopoly, Othello, and Traps and Ladders improve math skills in children ages three to nine.
Dr. Jaime Balladares of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, who led the research team, notes that board games can significantly improve children’s mathematical development. He believes that using board games can be an effective strategy for developing basic and complex math skills in children. He also notes that board games can easily be adapted to incorporate learning objectives related to math or other areas.
The study distinguished between games in which players take turns moving pieces around the board and games that involve specific skills or games of chance. The researchers note that the fixed rules and nature of moves in board games create a unique learning environment. However, they also found that preschools rarely use this potential learning tool.
The study was based on a review of 19 studies conducted since 2000 involving children ages three to nine. The children participated in special adult-led activities twice a week for 20 minutes for a month and a half. The sessions included games with numbers and the goal of developing mathematical skills, such as counting out loud.
Researchers evaluated the success of the interventions in four categories: basic number skills, number comprehension, ability to add and subtract accurately. More than half of the tasks (52%) showed significant improvement in math skills after the sessions, and in one-third (32%) the children outperformed those who did not participate in the sessions.
It is interesting to note that previous studies have not found scientific methods for assessing the effects of board games on children’s language or literacy. This points to the need for further research in this area.
In conclusion, board games can be an effective tool for developing mathematical skills in children. Their use in educational settings can help children improve counting, addition, and number recognition. A deeper study of the effects of board games on different aspects of children’s development may lead to new methods of learning and development.