Learning Life Skills by Playing Board Games

Beyond entertainment, board games provide an effective tool for enhancing interpersonal skills.

Good social, emotional, and interpersonal skills, including communication, empathy, assertiveness, and critical thinking are required skills for living a rich life and having a successful professional career or achieving many personal goals.  Having these life skills enables individuals to cope with the dynamic lifestyles and varied environments one encounters each day. Developing these skills takes practice and becoming aware of their importance may be the first step, especially for parents who strive to provide their children with opportunities to enhance these skills. Moreover, individuals may derive the most benefit if they start developing these skills at an early age.

Playing board games is one of the tools available to teach life skills. As teachers implement innovative and creative methods, board games are an accessible tool for teaching in the classroom and at home. Board games for teenagers can be fun and interactive and provide an opportunity for students to learn and practice life skills. Depending on the board game, children, middle and high school students, as well as adults, can be encouraged to learn and practice a number of these life skills.  Known as some of the best board games for teenagers to develop these life skills are Chess, Mancala, Commonopoly, Co-opoly, Pandemic, Space alert, Lost puppies, Thrones, Monopoly, Bohnanza, and Genoa, among others.  Some of the life skills that can be enhanced by playing board games include the following:

Logical thinking and reasoning skills

Being able to break down circumstances and developing reasonable conclusions are part of the goal of some board games.  In real life, having logical reasoning abilities can assist teenagers with decision making, including deciding on a vocation or career path.  As they pursue a career goal, having clear thinking and reasoning aptitude when making choices can determine a teenager’s success.  Playing board games for can boost logical thinking and reasoning skills.

Focus and attention

Focus and attention are gateways for efficient performance in school and in the workplace. Concentration is often required to complete a school assignment or work task.  While it can be demanding to exercise focus in our current technology-driven world, mastering this ability can make the difference between an over-achieving person and an average one. Thus, mastering these aptitudes becomes essential, and playing board games for teenagers can make it an enjoyable process. 

Cooperation, coordination, and collaboration

Working with others involves being able to organize tasks and activities as well as appreciating the inclusion of different individuals and groups.  These skills are commonly used in the workplace, and as students prepare to join in the workforce, playing board games can contribute to the development of these skills. Working with a team effectively and efficiently demands cooperation and coordination skills. Corporate jobs and businesses expect individuals to collaborate with other team members to reach business goals. Since cooperation, coordination, and collaboration skills are often required to play board games, they can provide an opportunity to practice and enhance these skills.

Negotiation and communication

An important asset of an assertive individual is having the ability to adequately present ideas to classmates, customers, partners, and managers.  Having good communication skills within a group can positively improve its environment. Similarly, negotiation skills are significant in both casual everyday associations and formal exchanges.  Playing board games can help enhance both communication and negotiation skills while players interact with each other to make decisions.

As explained above, learning life skills at a young age may have a significant impact on a person’s future.   Some of these skills can be practiced and enhanced by playing board games.  As there are many board games for adults and teenagers available, it is relevant to acknowledge the life skills that they can help develop, among others, those of critical thinking, problem-solving, patience, creative thinking, planning, and deferred gratification skills.