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Board games have been around for centuries, they were enjoyed by ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Mayan cultures, and are enjoyed just as much today! Most of us don't play games so often, until we have families and our children grow into an age that they enjoy games.
Games for the youngest children focus on improving hand-eye co-ordination, recognising and matching objects (shapes, animals, colours etc.) and on fine motor skills. Games for 2 - 3 year olds are designed to encourage concentration - children are required to begin learning to take turns in sequence, to improve attention span and to follow simple instructions. Games for older children encourage further skills such as basic maths and reading, social skills, simple strategy and self-confidence.
Games have a recommended minimum age for their audience, for example games may signal that they are suitable for children aged 3, 4, 5 or 6+. These recommendations are based on various factors such as danger posed by the playing pieces, the level of understanding required and the skills that should have been acquired in order to begin playing the game. Just because a game states a recommended age, it doesn't mean that you can't adapt the game for younger children, or create an entirely different game based on the same game contents. For example, you could play Trivial Persuits with all the family, ask real questions to the adults, but make up easy questions for the children. You don't need to let on that their questions aren't genuine! You could use a Monopoly board to make up an entirely different game, moving around the board and maybe just collecting property cards for the properties landed on. There are also lots of games that toddlers can play with decks of traditional playing cards.
Board games can give hours of fun and as your children grow, just adapt the games to suit them accordingly. Why not get your old games down from the attic, dust them down, and start playing them with your children today?!