• Home
  • Fun
  • Supporting Learning with Tabletop Games

Supporting Learning with Tabletop Games

by Philip Bradley

Brought to you by Swiss International School in Qatar

Tabletop games are more than just fun to play. They also develop a range of important skills. Establishing a family gaming habit at least once a week assists your children’s learning, promotes valuable family time and even supports adults’ cognitive and emotional health.

Strengthen cognitive skills

Dice, counter, letter, word and card games help children learn number bonds, sequence, add, subtract, sort, spell and categorise. The repetitive nature of some of these tasks is critical for building strong neural pathways that allow students to be fast, efficient and confident in their number, word and letter knowledge.

Many games also promote and improve memory skills. Strategic gameplay requires a person to consider different outcomes and hold these possibilities in their working memory while they evaluate the merits of each and then make their play.

Playing a game from start to finish helps children develop their concentration skills, which are essential for completing daily tasks and doing well in school. In addition to logic and reasoning skills, games often require children to use creative approaches, think laterally, solve problems, make predictions and test theories.

Develop motor skills

Setting up and moving all of those game pieces, rolling dice and shuffling cards help little children, and even older ones, develop their fine motor skills, dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Packing things away is just as important and a good way to promote a responsible attitude.

Encourage social skills

There are numerous social and “soft skills” to be learned from games. Grit, resilience, perseverance, patience and the ability to cope with frustration, disappointment and defeat are critical skills which games can teach and that children need to practice. No one likes an arrogant winner or a bad loser and being able to discuss these emotions and model appropriate behaviours is of great benefit to children and an important part of growing up.
Games are also a way for families to spend focused uninterrupted time together; including grandparents who will know all the tricks! And yes everyone has to put their phone away!

Get your game on!

Here are a few tried and true games that your kids might enjoy

  • Othello: two player counter game
  • Chess: two player game
  • Set: multiplayer visual perception card game
  • Rummikub: four player numbers strategy game using tiles and lateral thinking
  • Quixo: two to four player strategy game similar to noughts and crosses
  • Marrakech: two to four players, a tactile strategy game
  • Scrabble or Bananagrams: two or more players wordplay games
  • Chinese Checkers: strategy board game two to six players
  • Jigsaw puzzles: multiplayer if you have space, keep one going all the time