My kids are definitely into playing games these days. In fact, I've even made it a regular part of our homeschool "curriculum" because there are so many benefits to playing games!
Wanna know what exactly? Well, for starters, playing games with your kids teaches patience, learning to take turns, listening skills, following directions, reading, colors, math, small motor skills (e.g those skills needed to move the piece on the board), and large motor skills (e.g. running).
Games also teach concentration and critical thinking skills (especially as they get older and play more advanced games like checkers, chess or battleship.)
Another benefit of playing games is some good friendly competition. Competition is an external motivator to work hard and it gives the kids practice at responding correctly to competition.
Controlled competition lets them practice not losing their temper, ("For the grace of God that brings salvation... teaches us to live self-controlled.Titus 2:11-12 NIV), to be happy for others when they win ("Be happy with those who are happy." Romans 12:15 NLT) and to be compassionate towards those that don’t win. (Romans 12:15 "weep with those that weep.")
I'm sure you know that playing games with your kids also presents many opportunities to practice honesty…even about the little things. I want my children to learn to be honest even about those things that seem like they wouldn’t really matter.
I don’t know about your kids, but if I tell mine that I will play a game with them they are suddenly jumping up and down unable to contain their excitement!
Now, this could be because I'm such a fun mom (hee hee), but I bet your kids would do the same thing (assuming they're under the age of 7) if you told them you wanted to play a game with them. If they're older than 7 they may not jump up and down about it, but I'm sure they'll be glad that you wanted to spend time with them! There’s something about having mom or dad play with them that is so much better than playing alone.
Playing games with my children is a great way to spend time with them doing something productive and educational (even if they don’t realize they’re learning because they’re having so much fun!) Family relationships are strengthened as we get to know each other better in a different setting than normal.
And the best part of all, playing games with your kids just might keep you out of the old folks home when you're older! :)
What are your favorites games (for all ages)?