Back to Basics With Board Games: Why I Raised My Kids with Them And Not Video Games

board-gameI remember the time when my husband and I first bought a PlayStation for the kids (the first console, and yes, that was so long ago). It was fun at first. It was nice seeing the look of sheer joy on their faces whenever it was “game time”. A few weeks into it, and we noticed that they spent less and less time with us. It was only until our little one flat out refused to let us play when we decided that we had to bring back board game Saturday, as my husband fondly calls it.

I remember the time when my husband and I first bought a PlayStation for the kids (the first console, and yes, that was so long ago). It was fun at first. It was nice seeing the look of sheer joy on their faces whenever it was “game time”. A few weeks into it, and we noticed that they spent less and less time with us. It was only until our little one flat out refused to let us play when we decided that we had to bring back board game Saturday, as my husband fondly calls it.

Not All That Bad

I’m not saying that video games are the enemy. In fact, studies show that they actually help improve hand-eye coordination, decision making, enhance creativity, and math skills. A lot of these games are built on strategy and logic. This makes it a great supplementary tool to honing your child’s brain. However, like everything else, it has its downsides too.

The Missing Piece

The biggest problem we had with our children playing video games was their lack of socializing when they’re so immersed in it. Even if they were playing with other kids, their focus (as well as the focus of the other kids) was on the game, rather than their playmates. I suppose it had a lot to do with the fact that the game was on the TV screen. But even so, there was very little opportunity for actual interaction among the kids especially when they were “in the zone”.

The Key Difference

When we brought back board game Saturday, despite the many protests and cries of “lame” from our kids, we saw one vital difference. They paid more attention to us than the board. One advantage or disadvantage (depending on how you look at it) with playing a board game is the fact that the game is right in the middle of your group. Since the board games we played were strategic and highly competitive; the kids had to learn how to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues of the other players (i.e. me and my husband). They learned how to read people better. But more than that, they learned to converse with other people in the group while one is taking time “strategizing”. Mission accomplished for us, in tricking our kids to learn how to socialize better.

It Was Good For Us Too

Of course, we knew that the games would help shape our children’s minds as well as their characters. What we did not expect was that it would help us as well. There was one month when every Saturday we’d play word games. Our ever-competitive children, who take after both parents, wanted a chance to beat us so they started memorizing 3 words per day in the dictionary. It definitely increased their chances of winning, but the competitive side in me and my husband struck and we started reading books again, to refresh on fresh vocabulary words and grammar. Looking back, it helped both of us in our jobs in the long run. My husband had more bits of information to talk about with clients, my memory and retention of information improved, and overall we felt like we had better focus.

I can go on forever about how these board games improve critical thinking, sportsmanship, creativity, and self-confidence. You probably know about most of those board game benefits. My point is simple, board game Saturday didn’t just help our kids become smarter, stronger, and better people. It helped our family as a whole become all those things, and, more importantly become closer than ever. I hope this inspires a few parents to make your own board game traditions at home. Happy Playing!

Here are cool board games to check out!

Clue-Board-GameClue Alfred Hitchcock Edition

Hero-QuestHeroQuest Game System

Pirates-Caribbean-ChessPirates of the Caribbean Chess (in a Box)

PowerPuffGirls-Board-GamePowerpuff Girls Board Game

ScoobyDoo-Board-GameScooby Doo Clue Board Game

Live the Life You’ve Always Wanted on a Board Game

There is a plethora of board games available today; and only a few stand out to be worth playing for the whole family. Such is The Game of Life – with such a grand name, one wouldn’t think that it would be so easy to play and that it would appeal to millions, be known all over the globe, and sustain its popularity through the ages. Have you ever wondered how the game began and how it is still as popular as ever? Read on and be enlightened…

The Beginning of Life

The board game traces its humble beginnings in 1860 through the brilliance of Milton Bradley, an American Lithographer and an innovator of board games in the United States. When he first introduced the game, it was called “The Checkered Game of Life”. Basically, it revolves around a person’s journey through life – attending college, choosing a career, marrying, having children, until retirement. It can be played by 2 to 6 persons; the goal is to retire with the most money.  The game is played on a board with illustrations of a track, a spinning wheel with the numbers 1 through 10. Players each use a peg to represent their characters in the game. There are also houses, cars, buildings, and mountains to use to make the game more interactive. Play money and a bank tray are also included in the package to serve as the keeper of all assets. Remarkably, it sold around 45,000 copies on its first year of production – marking the beginning of a worldwide phenomenal board game that will entertain millions of people for generations and continues to do so.

How LIFE is Played

An updated version came out in 1960, on the 100th Anniversary since it was launched into the market. This one has a modified checkerboard for the main board, and the name of the game was changed to “The Game of Life”. Many changes have also been made – the cars were modernized, monetary values increased, insurance and stocks were added to the assets, and “Lucky Day” spaces were added as bonus.

At the beginning of every game, each player starts with $ 10,000; then on the first turn, they decide whether to start a career or go to college. As the game progresses, the players may get married, have children, buy a house, a car, and invest in stocks or gamble. The average play time of the game varies; with the end goal of everyone reaching retirement – whoever retires with the most money and assets is declared the winner.

A Game of Chance

If you’ve already read reviews or blogs about this product, you may have noticed that one of the prominent observations was that the game was more of a game of chance than strategy. Well, that was the original concept of the game anyway. As a matter of fact, with the game being very easy to play, it greatly outweighs its shortcoming.

The “Life” – Diversified

Since the updated inception of The Game of Life was introduced in 1960, it has spawned several editions intended to appeal to a wider audience. Below are some of them:

  1. The Game of Life: Extreme Reality – this is one of the most spontaneous versions of the board game; you get to add your own story to the game. You can live in a castle, in a space station, or even a shoe house!
  2. The Game of Life: Rock Star – this was launched in 2009 where players get to be their own rock star selves. Starting at a garage band, Recruiting Band Members, Touring on Buses, and Performing on Concert Venues are what this game is about.
  3. The Game of Life: Star Wars (Jedi’s Path) – this version appeals to a large audience especially the countless fans of the well-known series. This version is now considered rare and a collector’s item if owned as it has not been manufactured a long time.
  4. The Game of Life: Indiana Jones – introduced in 2008 in support of the release of the latest installment of the movie franchise – The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  5. The Game of Life: Pirates of The Caribbean (Disney Theme Park Edition) – this was launched in 2004 for Disney, being a product of the movie’s fame. The game involves going through a pirate’s life. This version is only sold at Disneyland Resorts. Movie editions were later published in 2006 (Dead Man’s Chest) and 2007 (At World’s End) and were made available for the local public on most toy stores and bookstores.
  6. The Game of Life: Spongebob Squarepants – this was published in 2004; and targets youngsters. Players move around the hit TV series’ plot setting, Bikini Bottom; and instead of children, pets are acquired through the game.

In conclusion, it is evident that the game has greatly contributed to the establishment of the board game industry both in the U.S.A. and internationally.  It has captured the attention of many mainly because it is an embodiment of what an ideal life is. Plus, parents not only get to teach their children to participate in family quality time; they are also given the opportunity to show their children how to get through life in a methodical manner.

Check out this cool Game of Life, Pirates of Caribbean – Dead Man Chest Edition Board Game.


Pirates of the Caribbean the game