Top Benefits of Board Games

We had a holiday week recently and so my hubby and I took the kids for a little mountain getaway. In the local coffee shop there, they had a shelf full of board games. I’m not sure if this is more common in the mountains, but I’ve seen this in a few mountain shops even though I’ve never seen it in our urban shops. So of course we played some board games while there!

family in the mountains

I really like board games and sometimes feel they are a forgotten gem. We do have a few favorites that we seem to play in spurts at home, then forget about as the craziness of life and other activities takes over. Every time we play, however, I find myself wondering why we don’t do this more.

There are so many benefits from playing board games as a family! Some of my favorites are:

Family Bonding

Yes, there are some arguments that sometimes happen between the kids when playing board games, but there is a lot more laughter and communication happening. Furthermore, our children learn to collaborate and work together to solve problems, both of which are hugely important life skills!

family board game night


Even if our day has been crazy and full of chaos, playing family board games seems to alleviate that pressure and give us permission to play.

Academic Skills

There are so many day to day skills such as reading, math, problem solving, etc. required when playing board games that don’t seem like learning to our kids because of the fun factor. The skills could often be equivalent or more difficult than anything they may be working on for homework, yet it doesn’t seem that way as family members work together. If our children don’t know the answers, the problem solving of figuring it out is modeled for them and they get to learn from this.

Social Skills

Our children learn to take turns, follow or make up rules, and learn to negotiate when playing board games. They also have to communicate back and forth. Another benefit our children can pick up is learning that, although there is usually a winner and a loser, playing games isn’t at all about that. Even though not everyone will end up first in the game, the important aspect is the bonding and having fun. Good sportsmanship is also learned during board game play.

Working Memory

Depending on the board game, there will often be an aspect of it that requires us and our children to remember something that was previously picked up, bought or played in the game. This all helps with building our kids’ working memories. It doesn’t hurt ours either! 😉

Our Family Favorites

I am a fan of the classic versions of most of the games as opposed to today’s version. An example of the difference between the old vs. new is the The Game of Life… the classic version has paper money and requires us to do the math whereas today’s version has credit cards that you enter in a calculator device and all of the math is done for us. I find there is also less interacting being done in the new version as compared to the original. The classic version has us buying baby gifts for others and all of that. The choice is really yours, however. If bonding is the most important thing and the math would cause frustration or fights, go for the new version!

Board games like Sorry! aren’t too much different other than it was made to go a bit faster in the new version and has an updated look to everything. I personally still prefer the classic version mostly because it reminds me of the version I used to play with my grandpa when I was a kid. Even though my grandpa passed away when I was just 8 years old, I still have fond memories of playing Sorry with him. 🙂

Some of the other classic board games we were able to play recently include the following:

Clue – There are a couple of character additions in the newer version, but the concept of the game is still the same as the classic version.

Connect 4 – Even though Connect 4 is a 2-player game, it is great to have 2 players play, then someone play the winner or however you work it out in your household. This game hasn’t changed much over the years so the updated version should work just fine. 

Payday – I bought an updated version for my kids a few years ago and was just a tad disappointed by it. Even though they love it, I don’t like it as much as the retro version I played as a kid. It is probably just me stuck in retro mode, however. I loved this game so much and still do! When my friend was over, we would play it all day long! Some days we came out ahead financially… other days, not so much. It was filled with life lessons and endless fun.

Monopoly – We have only played the classic version, but I understand the updated version has a modern banking system instead of the paper money. I personally find this game to take longer than I would like it to, but my kids definitely love it and there are a lot of opportunities to learn from it! They especially enjoy playing the long version together. There are ways to play suggested in the rules that result in the game not taking as long if you do want to play a shorter version. 

Candyland – Again, my family has only played the more updated version, but there is a retro version available as well. Candyland was definitely a favorite for my kids as preschoolers that worked on taking turns, learning colors, basic counting, etc. One of my daughters recently asked to play a quick game of the other day and we still had a lot of fun with it!

Chutes and Ladders – This is another great board game that can be played with young and old! Either the retro version or updated version will do.

I definitely find the quality of the classic board games is simply better, which is probably why the games in the coffee shop were all classic versions. I am not sure the updated versions would last as long being played by so many families!

What are some of your favorite board games or benefits of playing them? Please comment below or send me an email at

Want more ideas of games to play? Check out Favorite Family Games that Involve Math (Without our Kids Realizing It!) and Addition and Subtraction Facts Made Fun.

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  1. I love that you all brought board games on your trip! I’m looking forward to when my little ones are old enough to start playing some of the classics, too.

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