Do you enjoy playing board games with your child, or do you shudder with dread at pleas to play Pretty, Pretty Princess or Hungry, Hungry Hippos just one more time? Are you thinking of your to-do list as you agree to one more game? I know I was!

But making time for screen-free activities with children, especially when they are younger, is very important — and we’ve all had plenty of time lately for fun nights at home together.

Games can teach children important skills that are crucial to success in school. Board and card games with dice or number cards foster number sense in young children, and games reinforce social, verbal, math, fine/gross motor, listening, and reading skills for children of all ages.

These skills include:

  • Taking turns, waiting patiently, letting others go first
  • Playing fair, following rules, how to win and lose gracefully
  • Communicating with others, talking, relaxing, interacting
  • Counting, number/pattern recognition, acquiring number sense, developing strategy, predicting outcomes
  • Manipulating game pieces, building, drawing, balancing, eye/hand coordination

Memory games are a classroom tool frequently used to help with reinforcement of sight words, numbers/letters, math concepts, color/shape identification, etc. But research shows that memory games also lead to increased cognitive development, comprehension skills, memory recall, and improved concentration.

And guess what? Playing board games is good for your health as an adult, too. Playing with your children leads to laughing, which increases endorphins and your level of happiness. This also helps lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. So what are you waiting for? Gather the kids, sit back, and relax as you spend quality, educational time with your family.

Need some game suggestions? Here are some good ideas:

Our Top 25 Favorite Games

20 Awesome Preschool Board Games That You’ll Love Too

Top Memory Games for Kids

By Kari Misulonas

Ms. Misulonas teaches kindergarten and is Lower School assistant principal and leader of Early Childhood curriculum.