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Board Games Such As Monopoly Can Boost Young Kids’ Math Abilities

Board games can easily be adapted to include learning objectives related to mathematical skills or other domains.

Board games such as Monopoly and Othello boost the math ability of young children, according to a new study.

Games are already known to enhance learning and development, including reading and literacy.

“Among children aged between three and nine, number-based games can significantly improve math skills too,” said the study.

They help improve counting, addition, and the ability to recognize if a number is higher or lower than another.

The researchers based their findings on a review of 19 studies published from 2000 onwards involving children aged three to nine.

All except one study focused on the relationship between board games and mathematical skills.

All children participating in the studies received special board game sessions, which took place on average twice a week for 20 minutes over one-and-a-half months.

Teachers, therapists, or parents were among the adults who led these sessions.

In some of the studies, children were put in groups, with some playing board games that focused on numeracy skills and others Dominoes. MONSTERA/PEXELS 

In some of the studies, children were put in groups, with some playing board games that focused on numeracy skills and ones that did not.

In other studies, all children participated in number board games but were allocated different types, such as Dominoes.

All children were assessed on their math performance before and after the intervention sessions. These were designed to encourage skills such as counting out loud.

The researchers assessed their success by looking at four categories.

These were the child’s ability to name numbers, their understanding of numbers, such as knowing that nine is greater than three, the student’s ability to add and subtract and finally their overall interest in math.

In some cases, parents attended a training session to learn arithmetic that they could then use in the games.

“Math skills improved significantly after the sessions among children for 52 percent of the tasks,” said the results.

In nearly a third of cases, children in the intervention groups gained better results than those who did not take part in the board game intervention.

The results also show that from analyzed studies to date; board games on language or literacy areas did not compare a control group with an intervention group or have pre- and post-interventions.

This made it much harder to evaluate the impact those games had on children.

The researchers believe that kids could benefit from playing board games a few times a week supervised by a teacher or another trained adult.

Researchers believe that kids could benefit from playing board games a few times a week supervised by a teacher or another trained adult. MAX FISCHER/PEXELS 

 “Board games enhance mathematical abilities for young children,”said lead author Dr. Jaime Balladares, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

“Using board games can be considered a strategy with potential effects on basic and complex math skills.

“Board games can easily be adapted to include learning objectives related to mathematical skills or other domains.”

For the team, designing and implementing board games along with evaluating their efficacy are “urgent tasks to develop in the next few years.

Dr. Balladares added: “Future studies should be designed to explore the effects that these games could have on other cognitive and developmental skills.

“An interesting space for the development of intervention and assessment of board games should open up in the next few years, given the complexity of games and the need to design more and better games for educational purposes.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

Edited by Daisy Atino and Judy J. Rotich

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