Cleaning out the hall closet the other day I came across a stack of old board games covered with dust and completely untouched for fourteen years; Monopoly, Batman Begins: Shadow Assault and Pokeman SORRY.
Two were clearly well over my almost six-year-old’s head but I was positive his recent interest (and my discouragement) in Pokeman Go would mean he would love playing this unique version of the classic game, SORRY.
I didn’t show it to him until I had the time to sit right down and play. I thought this would avoid the inevitable begging I was sure I would endure otherwise. Judging by his immediate interest, I could see I was right.
Since his previous experience with games was limited to a few digital kid’s apps downloaded to my phone to keep him happy during long line waits or car drives, I figured he might encounter a slight learning curve.
I carefully explained the rules and showed him how to count each space on the board according to the number he drew from the card stack. He immediately informed me he HAD to be YELLOW “because of Pikachu” and that was also the reason he HAD to GO FIRST!
Just like I thought, the game was a huge hit. I watched his eyes light up as each of his pieces got “out” of their starting places and he began moving them around the board. His delight at sending my pieces back to their starting places with a triumphant exclamation of “SORRY!” was a little too extreme, as were the big tears he couldn’t hold back when I drew the SORRY Card sending his pieces back.
This behavior escalated until our game playing came to a sudden stop.
Forty five minutes later, after a lengthy attempt to explain — in five year old terms — why there was no reason to get upset because the nature of the game is “sometimes you lose and sometimes you win” — he promptly beat me and immediately asked to play again.
Which we did.
Several things became clear about my little gamer’s skills.
But more important was the reminder of what a great a learning tool this random little activity actually was (even if completely unpremeditated on my part.)
While sitting at the table showing my kid how to navigate the game I was transported back to the days of my own childhood (when television was much less of a priority and computers and video games didn’t yet exist) where I LOVED playing board games with my family, and begged to do so as often as possible.
At the time, I didn’t realize I was learning about strategizing, calculating, problem solving and even math and spelling concepts; but I was.
And now, so was he.
In fact, playing board games teaches kids six essential life skills.
Because more often than we realize, to a child–
LOVE is spelled T-I-M-E.
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Lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, I am addicted to walking, my family and my iWatch. Teacher by day and writer by night, I am clearly the one learning the most. Keeping it up until I get it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing my journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it. Thanks for stopping by!