Healthy, strong family relationships are foundational to young people’s growth, learning, and well-being.
These relationships build strong social and emotional strengths that kids use throughout their lives.
But great family relationships don’t just happen.
Welcome to My Discovery Destination!
Discovery Family Adventures
where your family can find plenty of opportunities to
The Discovery Family Adventures provide ideas, activities, and experiences to help build strong family relationships.
Our goal is to strengthen family relationships to help kids be and become their best selves
and to support parents in raising happy, successful, resilient kids in an exciting,
but sometimes turbulent and dangerous world.
Choose from the Adventures listed below
(or design your own family adventure!)
Play Board Games Together
GOAL: Strengthen family bonds through playing board games together.
The ADVENTURE: Review the information below, choose a board game and HAVE FUN!
Have a favorite treat either during or after playing the game.
Notice the skills your child demonstrates during the game. These could be academic skills (like math and counting, building words, strategy), or character skills (like patience while waiting for someone to take their turn, kindness in helping another family, or graciously winning or losing!)
Let the child who demonstrates the greatest __(patience, kindness, teambuilding skills)___ choose the game to play next, or next time.
The key, of course, is to make it something that they will really look forward to.
When it comes to connecting and bonding with family members, and countering the negative effects of social media overuse, Dr. Christy Kane puts playing board games at the top of the list.
Because board games are an effective tool for family communication. It’s easy to make conversation over a board game. Games set up a relaxing atmosphere, so laughing and sharing stories about school, work, friends and life in general flow easily from parent to child, and child to parent. Quality family time spent playing games allows parents to nurture their children and develop a trusting and caring relationship, which is so vitally important in these unsettled times. The security that family play provides to children and the manner in which family fun alleviates tension are only the beginnings of the perks of playing board games.
The bonding, communication, fun and laughter of game playing not only provides pivotal teaching opportunities, but will surely keep families close and secure in our pressured world. Board games can help family members connect and have fun together, all while helping kids build essential learning skills as they navigate the social component of game playing. They are scientifically proven to help kids build skills in everything from financial planning to empathy.
This Adventure is as simple as it is FUN ~
Pull out a good old-fashioned board game and ENJOY!
Do it OFTEN ~ Even Weekly!
RESEARCHED BENEFITS OF PLAYING BOARD GAMES
Social and emotional health
Board games are a treasure trove of social skills–building fun that teach kids how to share, wait, take turns, negotiate with their teammates, even win and lose graciously. Since kids that struggle with following directions, getting along with their peers, or controlling their emotions can't learn, mastering these important social skills will help your children become better learners. Every face-to-face game provides a ‘social experiment’ where players learn self-regulation and social skills to play successfully with others. A lot goes on under the surface, even when playing easy games, and it allows children to regulate their emotions and behavior, learn to calm down when upset without hurting others, and learn how to win -- or lose -- with manners and humility.
- Face-to-face interaction - Board games allow families to connect with each other and foster traits of strong families like positive communication, successful management of stress, and commitment to each other through promoting face-to-face interaction. This is a key component to connecting, learning how to read body language, and developing healthy social skills. Unfortunately, this vital component in human relationships seems to be quickly fading away while non-face-to-face interactions -- as experienced in online video games, for example -- often mean the attention is on the screen rather than the players. This can create a sense of anonymity, leading players to present themselves differently than they normally would.
- Have fun and feel good - One of the side effects of playing board games is laughing. Laughing has been shown to increase endorphins, the chemicals that bring up the feeling of happiness. Sharing laughter and fun can promote empathy and compassion and build trust.
- Teach good sportsmanship - There's probably nothing more difficult for children to learn than how to function well in a competitive world. Learning to love to win and to cope graciously with losing go a long way toward coaching lifetime good sportsmanship. There's no need to cheat when it's all in the fun of a board game.
- Teamwork and Empathy - Collaborative board games like Pandemic and Settlers of Catan can eliminate the competitive aspect of traditional board games and pair all players together in pursuit of a common goal. This encourages teamwork and builds a sense of empathy instead of competition.
- Reduces risks for mental diseases - One of the primary benefits of playing board games is reducing the risk of cognitive decline, such as that associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Keeping your mind engaged means you are exercising it and making it stronger. A stronger brain has lower risks of losing its power.
- Belonging, self-confidence and self-esteem - Playing board games can help kids break through into a world of self-confidence and self-esteem. Even young children can develop a sense of mastery and belonging to a team, which builds confidence that helps kids become more independent and willing to follow their curiosity, skills that are critical for the development of lifelong learners and overall success. From his TED bio: “ Dr. Stuart Brown came to research play through research on murderers — unlikely as that seems — after he found a stunning common thread in killers’ stories: lack of play in childhood. Since then, he’s interviewed thousands of people to catalog their relationships with play, noting a strong correlation between overall success and playful activity. His book Play describes the impact play can have on one’s life.
- Enhances the ability to learn - The brain is a muscle! The more it exercises, the more it can do. Researchers found that playing board games twice a week increased the brain speed scores of elementary students by a staggering 27 – 32%! Two studies (one from MIT and the other from UC-Berkeley) indicate that in some situations direct teaching is actually inferior to experiential learning. It turns out that children who are playing develop a stronger sense of creativity and inquisitiveness, exactly the things we want our kids to have.
- Learn basic math concepts - Logical thinking-- the ability to reflect on the task at hand and independently use the appropriate reading, writing, math, or learning strategy -- is a skill kids develop through playing board games. Some games introduce geometry concepts with shapes and patterns, how to classify items (pattern recognition and matching), and support learning about measurement, including distances and amounts. Problem solving and critical thinking can be strengthened with practice and learning. We may even want to encourage our kids to explain their tactics or the tactics they see others use as this will increase their improvement and growth in this area.
- Enhance vocabulary - Board games like Blurt and TriBond extend vocabulary. Kids certainly don't feel like they're studying or memorizing words that emerge at great speed for Blurt or when they connect three unlike items for TriBond, but they are learning new words painlessly, spontaneously, and meaningfully. Their vocabulary stretches playfully instead of by tiring tutoring. Kids can learn the parts of speech by playing Mad Libs. After all, until you understand the difference between an adjective and an adverb, the game really doesn’t make much sense. There are also a plethora of other word games that provide opportunities to strengthen spelling and vocabulary skills.
- Build other academic and life skills - Board games can be used in a similar way to teach kids a plethora of academic concepts through play. There are games that teach history, social studies, current affairs, philosophy or even music composition; Monopoly and LIFE are often used to teach kids the basics of money management and financial planning. Both games also introduce kids to the idea of things like real estate, debt, and planning for their futures.
- Encourage higher level thinking skills. Abstract verbal reasoning and creative thinking are involved in Mad Gab and Malarky. They help kids employ several senses at once to determine the correct answer, as they read phrases aloud while listening for the hidden solution. May games encourage kids to think creatively on the spur of the moment. A little acting goes a long way in improving children’s humor and developing their social skills.
- Memory formation and cognitive skills: When kids play board games it helps them practice essential cognitive skills, like problem solving. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex especially benefit from playing board games. These areas of the brain are responsible for complex thought and memory formation. Board games help the brain retain and build cognitive associations well into old age.
- Increase attention, listening, and concentration skills. Board games can foster the ability to focus, and lengthen your child’s attention span by encouraging the completion of an exciting, enjoyable game. Whether children are moving markers on a board, reading the rules, or determining what three apparently unrelated words have in common, they are concentrating and thinking. As children hear the silly statements, which they try to make sense of in verbal games like Mad Gab, they are improving their listening skills. This kind of active thinking, listening, and concentration are premium proficiencies to master. When you consider the extensive diagnosis and, perhaps, over diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorders, developing attention skills becomes even more critical.
- Meta-messages and life skills - Even simple board games offer meta-messages and life skills: Your luck can change in an instant — for the better or for the worse. The message inherent in board games is: Never give up. Just when you feel despondent, you might hit the jackpot and ascend up high, if you stay in the game for just a few more moves.
- Lowers blood pressure: Along with laughing and increasing your endorphins, they can help you lower or maintain your blood pressure. This release of endorphins help muscles to relax and blood to circulate, which evidently will lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with greater risk of artery damage, heart disease and stroke.
- Speed up you responses: Have you played games like BLINK or SPOONS? Lots of games require you to think as quickly as you can on the spot, respond just as quickly. This means you are exercising the brain muscle, and the benefits are obvious.
- Reduce stress: Playing a board games is an excellent way to kick back and relax. According to an online survey by RealNetworks, Inc., a casual games developer, found that 64% of respondents said they play games as a way to unwind and relax and 53% play for stress relief.
- Grows your immune system: Research has shown that negativity, depression and stress can reduce your ability to fight disease. Positive feelings and thoughts, like the laughter and enjoyment that always comes with board games, prevents these effects by releasing chemicals that fight stress and boost your immune system. A simple board game could give rise to the ‘survival genes’ and activate them in your brain, making the brain cells live longer and helping to fight disease.
- Child development: Board games play a very important role in child health and brain development. Board games help children develop logic and reasoning skills, improve critical thinking and boost spatial reasoning. Encouraging children to play different types of board games can also increase verbal and communication skills, while helping develop attention skills and the ability to concentrate and focus for longer periods of time.
- Therapy treatment: Many board games require the use of fine motor skills to pick up or move pieces, actions that take both coordination and dexterity. Regular practice and activity improve these basic skills, which is important for children, people with mental or physical disabilities, the elderly and those recovering from accidents. Board games are very helpful when they are added to occupational therapy treatments, as well in places like classrooms for special needs to help improve muscle and nerve function over time.
- Building Trust - Playing board games as a family builds a foundation of trust that strengthens the family relationship. When you play and laugh together with your kids, you each release endorphins that promote trust and empathy.
- Create a happy home environment - Board games also create a relaxed, fun atmosphere that encourages kids and parents to communicate with each other. This atmosphere doesn’t end when the game gets put away, either. The security kids feel lasts far longer than the game itself.
- Helping each other - Study after study has confirmed that playing board games can help everyone in the family, from the youngest to grandma and grandpa! A study by Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center confirmed that regular game-playing and puzzle-doing (as well as other thought-provoking activities) promote mental stimulation that dramatically kept memory function (as well as language function, attention span and spatial ability) performing at a higher level. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was shown to be reduced by 47 percent for people who did these activities the most often.
Children of all ages want and need to spend time with parents and friends, so why not use this time in an activity that is fun, works your brain, and helps develop character?
All in all, a family that plays together, stays together. Playing board games is a great way to squeeze in some quality time with your kids. And if you can sneak in a few academic and health benefits while doing it, why not?
Take a picture of your family playing your favorite board game.
by Board Games
When we strengthen families,
we strengthen our entire community.
Our mission is to educate and empower families, encourage academic progress, promote family literacy, and support parenting success. To accomplish this we offer a variety of free classes and resources to the community. Feel free to take a tour or visit our classes and services page to learn more.
We Learn Together * We Grow Together
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for the purpose of
STRENGTHENING FAMILIES and BUILDING CHARACTER.