Why We Love Board Games at EPIC!

By Michelle, Outreach Worker in St. James Town

“I don’t want to play anymore!” complained one of our six year-old students. He was falling behind in a game of Snakes and Ladders and was feeling quite frustrated.

“Don’t give up now! Things can turn around at any moment,” I reassured him.

He begrudgingly rolled the dice and moved five steps ahead. The skepticism on his face turned to delight when he realized he landed on a ladder, advancing all the way to the top of the board. A couple of turns later, he won the game.

Unfortunately, many children these days do not play board games. Instead they watch videos on YouTube and play independently on iPads. Whenever we pull out a board game at EPIC tutoring, students often give us a blank look. Sometimes it takes a few attempts at a game to get them to appreciate what games have to offer.

Board games are so much more than entertainment for us at EPIC tutoring. They are useful educational tools that help our students develop math and literacy skills. We were playing this game of Snakes and Ladders, for example, to help this boy learn how to count. Before playing this game, he could only count to 20, but now he can easily count past 100! We also have a version of this game where students have to add, subtract, multiply or divide to advance their pawn. At EPIC we also play a lot of Bananagrams and Word on the Street to build vocabulary. There are so many great games out there!

Besides improving math and literacy skills, board games also help this emerging generation develop their social skills. Our students learn how to communicate, share, and wait. They also learn how to focus better, persevere, and deal with frustration or disappointment. Overall, games are a fun way to exercise your brain! They are a great resource when children are too tired to do homework or work on a worksheet.

The final reason we love to play board games at EPIC is because they help our adult volunteers build trust with our students. At TCM we are all about relationships! We have found that many of our students love quality time spent with an adult more than time with just their peers. There have been numerous times that we have left students on their own with a game, but they beg one of our adult volunteers to join them. In our busy culture, children seem to crave this quality time with adults. Board games provide a fun platform for the young and the old to interact with and influence one another. We strongly recommend them! 

Do you have any board game recommendations for us? (Leave your comments below)