When was the last time you had a family game night or enjoyed a friendly match of chess or checkers with a close friend or significant other? It can be fun to pull out a board game and get competitive every once in a while, and it might even be good for you.
It turns out, board games might offer far more than entertainment. Play is essential to our wellbeing, and board games can fill that need. They may also benefit people suffering from depression and anxiety, and their use could even help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Board games boost the brain by exercising different skills, and learning games may improve academic performance. Check out more on the benefits of playing board games in the article, below.
The Importance of Play
Play is essential to our wellbeing, even as adults. Life can be hectic and overwhelming at times, and engaging in play can be a great way to distract ourselves with a bit of laughter and fun. Playing can improve empathy, strengthen bonds and assist in emotional healing. Board games may even aid in the treatment of depression, phobias and other mental health issues.
The interactive elements of board games allow for feelings of intimacy, creativity and emotional stimulation through shared play. They may also serve as a therapeutic bridge for people with disorders that can make social interaction difficult, such as people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Boosting the Brain
Board games could strengthen the brain on a functional level. One study showed board games can improve spatial and sensory-motor skills. Although it's interesting to note that different types of games exercise different areas of the brain, so what we choose to play can affect where we improve. For example, the types of skills used to arrange Scrabble tiles into a word, place them on the board and tally a score are different than the skills used to make a chess move.
Games Encourage Learning
As any parent can attest, games can also make learning fun, which may help students retain more. But there's no need for this to stop when we age out of middle-school. Studies have shown using educational board games can reinforce what students are learning and improve their academic performance. Some games have been developed to help children improve math skills. Others may help adult students take on more challenging subjects, such as anatomy.
Board games can be a lot of fun, but they also pack a heap of benefits. They may make the brain stronger and sounder, and they might even help us learn something new. So skip that binge-watching and plan a game night — it’ll be good for you.