Most families have busy schedules. With parents facing challenging and stressful careers and kids engaging in a host of extracurricular activities, many families find that there is no time left to be together as a family. The added specter of a seemingly endless flood of unsettling news makes it more imperative than ever for families to set aside time to communicate.

Board games are an effective tool for family communication. It’s easy to make conversation over a board game. Games set up a relaxing atmosphere, so laughing and sharing stories about school, work, friends and life in general flow easily from parent to child, and child to parent. The security that family play provides to children and the manner in which family fun alleviates tension are only the beginnings of the perks of playing board games.

Family game

Below are some additional family benefits from playing board games. I hope these will convince you that board games are a great family activity.

  • Board games increase attention, listening, and concentration skills. Whether children are moving markers on a board, reading the rules, or determining what three apparently unrelated words have in common, they are concentrating and thinking. As children hear the silly statements, which they try to make sense of in verbal games like Mad Gab, they are improving their listening skills. In a world where too many children spend passive time in front of overstimulating and noisy television or computer screens, active thinking, listening, and concentration are premium proficiencies to master. When you consider the extensive diagnosis and, perhaps, overdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorders, developing attention skills becomes even more critical.

  • Board games enhance vocabulary. Board games like Blurt and TriBond extend vocabulary. Kids certainly don't feel like they're studying or memorizing words that emerge at great speed for Blurt or when they connect three unlike items for TriBond, but they are learning new words painlessly, spontaneously, and meaningfully. Their vocabulary stretches playfully instead of by tiring tutoring.

  • Board games encourage higher level thinking skills. Abstract verbal reasoning and creative thinking are involved in Mad Gab and Malarky. They help kids employ several senses at once to determine the correct answer, as they read phrases aloud while listening for the hidden solution. May games encourage kids to think creatively on the spur of the moment. A little acting goes a long way in improving children’s humor and developing their social skills.

  • Board games teach good sportsmanship. There's probably nothing more difficult for children to learn than how to function well in a competitive world. Learning to love to win and to cope graciously with losing go a long way toward coaching lifetime good sportsmanship. There's no need to cheat when it's all in the fun of a board game.

All in all, a family that plays together, stays together. The bonding, communication, fun and laughter of game playing not only provides pivotal teaching opportunities, but will surely keep families close and secure in our pressured world.

I recall with the most nostalgia the times of family game playing, the smell of the popcorn, the humor, the joking, the competition, and that sense of kidding that took place. Quality family time spent playing games allows parents to nurture their children and develop a trusting and caring relationship, which is so vitally important in these unsettled times.


Groups join the Million Minute Family challenge because it isMillion Minutes an easy, yet effective way to re-energize and give incentive to spending time with family or friends. Board games and card games offer true face-to-face interaction that is disappearing in our daily lives. Playing a game creates a relaxed environment to converse, laugh and really get to know one another, and all of this can be accomplished in as little as 20 minutes. The website will track minutes as they reach goals. Sign up today. www.millionminute.com

*Used with permission of Patch Products, Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of family entertainment products. www.patchproducts.com

©2001 by Sylvia B. Rimm. All rights reserved. This publication, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.