I don’t have kids myself, but I have a niece and nephew and a lot of friends with kids. In my family games are a big part of any get together and naturally the kids want to take part. I’ve noticed a few things in my experience playing bored games with kids that I think are pretty interesting.
Kids think differently than we do
I played a game of Dixit with my nephew, Sam when he was around 6 years old. Round after round when he was the story teller all of the adults in the game had a tough time picking the original card. It wasn’t that his phrases or stories were bad, they were great actually. It was that his imagination had less influence from what we would consider ‘the real world’. His stories hinted at innocent, imaginative worlds and each round when he explained what he meant there was a simple logic to it. I’ve noticed it playing games like Rory’s Story Cubes as well. Playing with my niece, Mavis we’ll take turns choosing a die and telling a part of a story. My mind will always find a natural progression based on archetypal story elements. Mavis’ contributions are less coloured by classic tropes.
Kids are smarter than we think
Most games come with a suggested minimum age to them and for the most part you can disregard that number. It’s been said that kids are like sponges and I’ve definitely seen that when it comes to board games. If a child is interested and engaged in something they will soak up the information. Before you know they’ll be developing strategies that might eclipse your own. I regularly play strategy games like Puerto Rico with Sam and I can’t remember the last time I beat him at The Lord of the Rings Deck Building Game. If you can make a game interesting enough for a child that they want to learn it and you can be patient with them through a couple play throughs, they’ll probably be able to pick up the rules.
Kids crave face to face interaction
We live in a digital world. So much of any given day is spent staring at glowing rectangles, but that behaviour is learned, not innate. There are many ways to introduce children to the tactile, analog joys of board games. Simple rules, interesting components and colourful artwork can all attract budding gamers. Once they’re hooked it’s amazing how often they’ll want to play games. The more often sitting around a table, one on one or as a family becomes the norm, the easier it will be to pull your kids away from the computer or TV.