Board games are the best to bring children and adults in the family together. They were popular before our time itself and our epics mention some of them. In fact, one of our famous epics Mahabharata centers around the game of dice. During current times when outdoor games is not a safe option, board games help any kind of nuclear, joint or extended family to bond with each other better.
- Chaturanga or Chess
Chaturanga or Chess is as old as our epic Ramayana, where the asura king Ravana invents it to entertain his wife Mandodari. The game being a strategy game can help children to concentrate, anticipate the opponent’s move and think ahead to plan their own moves. Chess thus helps in developing excellent problem solving and planning skills.
- Paramapada or Mokshapada or Snakes and Ladders
This game is another one that goes back years and many of us have fond recollections of playing this game with our grandparents during our childhood. With a journey of luck that alternates between snakes and ladders, this game teaches the philosophy of life to children in a simple manner. It prepares them to face the ups and downs of life with equanimity early in childhood itself. Typically a 10×10 and hence a 100 squared game, this game in olden days had the ladder squares as squares of virtue attributes like generosity, faith, humility, etc., and the snake squares as squares of vice such as anger, theft, lust, etc,. One of the best games to teach moral education to teach children, this game can also be used to calculate the probabilities.
- Ali Guli Mane or Chenne Mane or Pallnguzhi or Mancala
With 14 holes on a wooden board and different types of stones, this game improves children’s arithmetic skills early in life. Hand to eye coordination and other fine motor skills can be improved as they to try to top up the holes with six pieces of stones. They also try to understand the concept of taking turns and playing.
- Monopoly or Trade
Whether we all are able to take the risk associated with starting our own business and dealing with property or not, we all had a taste of this during our childhood days when we played monopoly or the game of trade. As we exchanged money, traded, and bartered our way through our various properties, we all learnt our communication skills, negotiation skills, counting skills, and the concept of paying taxes, rent, and bidding in a fun way. What better way to teach children the value of money at a young age than the game of monopoly or trade, especially so when one becomes bankrupt or go to jail for not being able to manage your finances well.
Another one of those famous board games we grew up with, ludo’s origins lie in the ancient Indian game of Pachisi or Pagade or Pagadai. Mahabharata’s Shakuni rolled the dice and defeated the Pandavas to gain their entire wealth and this game became the plot for the great Indian epic. Later Mughal emperor Akbar took a fancy to this game as well. Ludo teaches children to count, fine motor skills, and a sense of direction as they try to reach all their four coins to the center castle.
- Chinese Checkers
Another game of making your coins reach the other side, this game teaches children all about rules, sense of direction, quick thinking to find out the shortest and the fastest way to reach the goal, etc,. When six players play together, it also develops patience in children as they wait for their turn, and use the time to plan ahead for their next move, not to mention the social interaction they have with one another.
- Aadu Huli Aata or Lambs and Tigers
This ancient game of lambs and tigers, originally played with sea shells, teaches children all about the strategy of defense and attack. Another game that can teach children the theory of probability, planning, and problem solving.
- Saalu Mane Ata or Navakankari
As the name indicates, two players are given nine coins each. The two children will need to try to find as many chances to align three coins in a line and for each such alignment they gain points. This game develops strategic thinking, planning, reasoning, and analytic abilities in children.
If there’s one indoor game that allows you to leverage both your physical and mental faculties, that is carom. This improves eye-hand coordination to the maximum as children aim to net the coin. Focus, concentration, attention are all enhanced by playing carom.
If you want to marry education with fun and entertain your children, you can choose scrabble. See their spelling, vocabulary, and communication skills growing as they construct words.
Board games besides improving various skills of children, also help in family bonding, while at the same time helping us to remember our culture, and promoting the livelihood of artisans who make these board games. So what are you waiting for? Hide those gadgets, and pull out some of your childhood games that your mother or you must have preserved and get bonding with your children.