Health Family game night can also sculpt kids’ math skills, study finds

Family game night can also sculpt kids’ math skills, study finds

Family game night can also sculpt kids’ math skills, study finds

(CNN) — Roll the dice, land on Pennsylvania Avenue, and count your money to see if you have enough to buy that property.

Monopoly can teach your children more than you think.

A study published last week in Early Years magazine shows that playing board games can help young children develop stronger math skills.

The researchers reviewed 19 studies that looked at the individual impact of 25 games on learning. According to the study, in about 32% of the games, children experienced a significant improvement in their mathematical ability compared to those who did not play them.

The studios introduced games like Dominoes, Snakes and Ladders, or The Great Race. The studies in the review used different tests that are adopted in early childhood education to measure aspects such as arithmetic speed and accuracy.

The children who played about 52% of the games showed an improvement in their math skills after playing them, according to Jaime Andres Balladares Hernandez, lead author of the study and associate professor of education at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

“It might seem like a modest finding compared to results in other areas,” Balladares said in an email. “However, these interventions were generally brief, averaging 20 minutes per day, twice a week, for a month and a half, which is a promising result.”

Investing in bringing board games to schools could be an effective way to improve results and make learning more fun, says Balladares.

“As for the home, playing board games is always a good excuse to talk with family (and) connect with others,” he added.

Why do board games work?

Do you remember when you played Monopoly or the Game of Life?

You roll a die, add the numbers and count the number of squares you can move. Maybe you keep track of how much money you have to play with.

These seemingly unremarkable steps of the game expose young children to multiple representations of numbers, says Doug Clements, distinguished professor and chair of the department of early childhood learning at the University of Denver. Clements was not involved in the study.

“If you roll a six instead of a four, you see more points, you count more points, you go further down the road and it takes you longer,” he added. “There is a time factor and a distance factor that connect to show you the relationship between six and four.”

It’s not clear if it needs to be done with a board game or if it can be played online, as is done in many classrooms, Balladares said.

The technology isn’t bad, Clements said. Some virtual games can be designed to complement or capture the experience of playing a board game, but care must be taken.

“Recent studies show that excessive use of these devices in young children can be potentially harmful,” Balladares said. “There is a need for both companies and policy makers to collaborate on the development of board games (that are) contextually situated, fun and linked to learning objectives.”

The study did not look at online gaming, so the same benefits cannot be assumed, he added.

instructions to play

Whether you’re one of those who “study the instruction book” or “toss them and play by the house rules,” there are right and wrong ways to play to maximize the learning benefits, Clements said.

The first step is to find the right game. Snakes and Ladders, for example, is based on a wheel of different colors that tells the players where to put their token, so the children don’t work with numbers, he explains.

The next key is to adapt the game to the level of the child. You might have to roll a dice or get a number wheel for Snakes and Ladders, Clements explains. Or maybe go from one die to two, so the kids have to add the numbers to get their moves.

Families can make the games progressively more difficult as children grow and learn, but it’s important to keep playing, he added.

“The repeated experiences that children have with them are what really help build their conceptual growth,” she said.

Most important, though, is for families to talk and play together, Clements said.



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