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Board games: More than fun and games

Turn off the TV and get cozy with some old-fashioned board games.Your kids will have a ball and develop valuable learning skills while they play.

By Melanie Haiken

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Battleship and Stratego

Ages: Battleship, 5 and up; Stratego, 8 and up

Whether kids are trying to find where the flag is hidden in Stratego, or attempting to locate and sink their opponent's fleet in Battleship, they're learning deductive reasoning, a skill they'll need for every subject they tackle in school. In Stratego, the goal is to capture your opponent's flag while simultaneously protecting your own. In Battleship, players strive to sink their opponent's ships before their own get blasted out of the water. Both games require a degree of sleuthing and trickery — that's where the deductive reasoning comes in. When players are hiding their ships and flags, they're developing important strategy and planning skills. According to board game expert and author Jeffrey Hinebaugh, kids who play strategy games including Sorry! Clue, Battleship, and Stratego in childhood earn higher test scores in high school and college.

Bottom line: Kids learn logic, strategic planning, goal setting, and deductive reasoning skills — on land and at sea.
 

Melanie Haiken is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines including MORE, Real Simple, Fitness Parenting and Ladies Home Journal. She lives in San Rafael California with her two daughters.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

12/5/2011:
"Public schools are sooo guilty of overlooking the importance of board games. Chess is curricular in many foreign countries. Way to go Great Schools. "
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