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In this day and age of television, movies on demand and video games, it is easy to overlook the ways that old-fashioned games can help our children sharpen skills. Many games emphasize one skill or another, but Monopoly combines many great skills. Here are five ways Monopoly can help your child:
Most basic games for children involve some sort of movement, often controlled by dice rolling or a spinner. Practicing this type of activity helps children count as well as be able to count things (squares). In Monopoly you also count out houses on properties in order to build hotels.
Playing board games with others forces children to take turns. This does not seem to come naturally to small kids, and it is a good skill to learn. In Monopoly it is interactive: those who are not actively taking a turn are still engaged in the “renting” of properties and negotiation for sale. It is a bit easier to take turns this way, since everyone is involved.
Some games will teach basic money handling. Monopoly is a great exercise in this, since many properties have “rent” that involves multiple denomination of bills. Monopoly gives the chance not only to pay out, but to give change.
Monopoly is not a game that relies entirely on strategy, but it does have some involved. Explaining the basic strategy will often lead to questions about the other aspects. For instance, we explained to our daughter that it was better to have more than one railroad, because it increased the rent. She then asked about the utilities, and we explained about those. She quickly caught on to getting more rent from multiple properties, as well as the chance you take with utilities, where the rent is tied to the roll of the dice.
Most importantly, in my mind, is that family time we spend together playing games. We spend every Saturday evening playing games and spending time together. Monopoly is definitely not my favorite game, but it is one that everyone can play. It is exciting to watch my daughter learn though, and her reactions when she wins the game are priceless.
Monopoly is just one example of a game that can be played to help your child learn. What are your favorites?
Photo by Mark Strozier