WHAT CAN THE HUMBLE BOARD GAME DO FOR ME?
Those old board games are sooo last century right?
Well no, they’re really not. Board games bring lots of benefits that on-line games and screen games just can’t. And some of those benefits are really quite surprising.
At KLOO, we make language games to help people learn a second language as they play. The game is increasingly being adopted by schools and the feedback from young students is fascinating. Teachers are often taken aback by the enthusiasm a board game can have on a generation that is used to smart phones, video-on-demand and touch screen technology. Surely a lowly board game involving moving plastic cars around a game board isn’t going to cut it? Again, no. They love it…..I mean really love it. These are just a few genuine quotes from teachers:
“My students beg to play KLOO” MFL Teacher, Canada
“Much laughter was heard, disturbing my head of department who congratulated me on making French so much fun” French Teacher, UK
“I’ll often say to my students, “What would you like to do?” and 9 times out of 10, the answer is KLOO!! Students love it” MFL Teacher, UK
Naturally we are pleased to hear this and it is flattering. But I would suggest that the format of board games in general bring added benefits which stir up enthusiasm.
They’re Social: Board games help people to interact, socialise and have fun. Fluctuating fortunes and competing for bragging rights keep people engaged and on their toes, looking for ways to win and outwit opponents. In our KLOO games, players have to learn words and build sentences to power little motor cars.
Suddenly, building vocabulary doesn’t sound so boring!
Breaks down barriers: Another aspect of board games is that they break down barriers and give people lots to talk about…often people will relax and start to tease and joke with
one another. People who are absolute strangers can quickly become comfortable with each other because they are, after all, just playing. For learning a language this aspect of board games is terrific. Many teachers tell me about how many adult learners can be very self conscious of speaking a second language out loud for fear of mispronouncing. When playing KLOO, however, they quickly forget their inhibitions and start making sentences and talking out loud within a few minutes.
Hands on reality: With board games it’s away from screens with their distracting alerts. Instead it’s hands-on, tactile and fun and totally absorbing. You enter a different world. Moving the dog or hat around a Monopoly game board feels good. Twisting real cards feels good. The virtual world is great too….but the real thing is better.
Motivating: When you can see the people you are competing against (not an avatar) – it becomes very motivating. You want to do well because honour is at stake. Whenever I play chess on-line I am never that bothered about losing to some faceless opponent. When I play opposite a real person, however, I am much more focused on winning. With KLOO too, people up their game, learn more words, build longer sentences, because they want to win. Board games are brilliant at tapping into our competitive instincts.
Child development: One of the great aspects of playing board games is that we learn on multiple levels. This is especially beneficial to children who learn key skills such as the principles of cause and effect; social skills and how to behave; spatial awareness; critical thinking and the ability to focus for longer. The latter point is hugely important with attention spans are in decline as we get hit by so many messages in our everyday lives.
Mental Health benefits: Research conducted in France and reported in the British Medical Journal (thank you for sharing) on the impact of board games on mental health shows that regular playing of board games helped reduce the incidence of dementia as well as reduce risks of depression. The report stated: “playing board games could be a particularly relevant way to preserve cognition and to prevent cognitive decline or dementia.” Interestingly they also stated: “Other stimulating leisure activities like reading, travelling, gardening, doing odd jobs or playing sports do not offer the same advantages and ease of practice.” That’s pretty compelling! Go Board Games!
A humble board game has a place in this century – and probably every century. Play that game, have fun and get a load of benefits thrown in.
If you are interested in learning a language while playing a game, we suggest you take a look at KLOO. We are a multi-award winning game. You can play Race to Madrid to learn Spanish and Race to Paris to learn French. It has actually won many awards including Toytalk’s Best Board and Card Game of the Year and the Academic’s Choice Award for educational value. That basically means you’ll have a lot of fun learning a language.
You can check out our range of board games below. Have fun!