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Your guide to kids' board games and puzzles

Even in this digital age, board games and puzzles remain a vital part of your kids' (and family) play time thanks to the many benefits from these activities. Kids want, and need, face-to-face time with friends and family, and board games and puzzles offer some of the best ways to spend time together. Board games and puzzles bond people together and teach skills in ways that technology doesn't always achieve.

The benefits of games and puzzles

Board games and puzzles have a surprising number of benefits for your child's development. If you're unsure what kinds of games to purchase, see how they can help your youngster blossom.

The learning benefits of games and puzzles include:

  • Logic and reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Spelling

The social benefits of games and puzzles include:

  • Life skills can be learned even with the simplest of board games that teach how luck can change with the toss of dice or that it pays to never give up when trying to achieve a goal. Board games and puzzles teach that just when you want to give up, you may get the right toss of dice or pick the right card that gets you to your goal. Games and puzzles also can help kids understand that losing is okay and winning is okay, but to take the game with a lighthearted approach and not to take it too seriously.
  • Focusing on the game is an ability that is strengthened from board games and especially puzzles as a child needs to determine where the next piece goes and what shape it needs to be in order to fit. Jigsaw puzzles can help fine motor skills develop and encourage your child's critical thinking. Both board games and puzzles have the ability to lengthen a child's attention span as they become excited to be engaged in the activity.
  • Verbal and non-verbal interaction and communication is learned through just sitting together playing a game or constructing a puzzle.
  • Sharing, waiting and taking turns are critical forms of patience, but also of fair play and playing by the rules, all of which kids can easily learn from playing board games.

Making your selection

Choose an age-appropriate game for children under 5 years of age by considering what will help your child enjoy playing with ease, but that will also allow your child to feel more confident and ambitious while engaging in the activity. For children over 5 years of age, choose more sophisticated games, even checkers, to challenge thinking and planning skills. Games in which kids can incorporate numbers, letters and words will help to increase literacy skills.

  • Family board games, ideal for family game nights, are designed for various ages to play side by side, encouraging your child to bond with all generations of players. Try a new game each week to keep family game night fresh. Or, find a family board game that seemingly never ends as a way to keep your family's bonds deepening week after week.
  • Party board games for all sizes of groups can take gatherings from bored to bonkers. Party games are designed to be stress-free and fun while bringing together lots of people at a table. Break kids out of their shells with ice-breaking board games that ask players funny or interesting questions, or choose games that encourage teamwork.
  • Classic board games evoke memories while making new memories for your children. There's a reason so many board games remain classics they're fun, addictive and easy to play and understand.
  • Educational board games are the ultimate way to sneak in math, financial concepts, science, literacy and critical thinking skills. Your kids will be having too much fun to realize they're learning something new or memorizing skills that'll help them in school.
  • Strategy and role-playing board games offer adventure and fantasy, allowing players to be their most imaginative selves. Players have the chance to solve problems and learn to think quickly in new ways and in unexpected situations because of assumed character roles.
  • Pop culture board games are lighthearted, fun gifts to give fans of TV shows, films or musical rock stars depicted in games. These types of board games teach memory skills because they focus on trivia.
  • Puzzles are the ultimate ways to learn to overcome challenges, no matter how many people are working on them together. Puzzles benefit people of all ages, even young children, because they exercise our minds, challenge our ways of thinking and offer children a way to learn hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as they place pieces together.