I like video games – no scratch that I love video games! I always have. So as I expressed in an earlier article, I was and am excited to share that joy with my 2 daughters. However, another thought has crept in as well – while fun, most video games do little to teach some of life’s more valuable attributes.
How can someone as young as my crumbsnatchers learn things that some video games teach – like discipline, patience and strategy – without having to stare at a screen?
My first thought was chess, but I decided to start with its simpler but similar cousin – checkers.
Unlike video games, board games like checkers and chess allow you to play and learn, not to mention instead of a screen my little ones get to stare at their Dad’s handsome face – a win in itself!
Checkers and its variations can teach important pre-math skills, such as:
- Sorting by color
- Directions (forward, backward, diagonal)
- Cause and effect
- A good poker face
- Logical thinking
And since I eventually plan on introducing my girls to coding and related computer sciences, checkers felt like a natural and fun first step. Mainly, I’m also always looking for quality face to face time that doesn’t involve a screen. With these games we can sit down with the TV off and play, strategize, learn, talk, smile & laugh.
Our first game was pretty much a tutorial, but she caught on quick and really seemed to be enjoying herself.
I could tell that her little gears were turning, she was torn a little between classic boredom and fascination (which must be an interesting place). Most of her mental energy was spent trying to follow the rules – not unlike her life as a whole. Every time she made a wrong move I would gently correct, she would laugh about it, and we would try it again. Sometimes her ever curious sister would come by and move everything around the wrong way and we would laugh as we tried to remember where everyone’s pieces were prior to the destruction.
I think it went well and look forward to many years of laughing across the table from my girls.
Oh and If you’re wondering, she won.