Digital Playhouse: Board Games and STEAM Education
Board games are some of the best tools ever created for implementing STEAM education. They are fun and play an integral role in the development of mental and social skills.
Why is play important in education?
Play has been recognized as one of the most important aspects of education for thousands of years. Many of the board games today are simply adaptations of ancient games. And even though they’ve been challenged by the rise of video and computer games, I and the teachers here at Digital Playhouse believe that being able to use the sense of touch with play is crucial for every child’s development.
All good games share principles. They create goals so that students are encouraged to learn, engage, and master the game mechanics in order to win. Playing board games from an early age gives children the opportunity to develop communication, language, mathematics, and thinking skills in a fun and engaging manner.
What are the benefits of incorporating board games into STEAM?
Classic or new, board games share similar benefits that make them ideal for education and developing the skills that form the core of what STEAM education is.
- Stories and information encourage creativity.
- The goals and achievements necessary to win, challenges students to think critically.
- The inquiry-based research process of playing board games teaches children how to and what questions to ask. Yet another way to develop strong communication skills over play.
- The cooperation required for board games played in teams is critical to developing social and communication skills.
In Bloom’s Taxonomy, the objectives required for education are evaluation, synthesis, analysis, comprehension, and knowledge. Board games allow students to argue, assess, create, organize, plan, appraise, calculate, question, classify, locate, and strategize! Almost no other educational tools are able to incorporate this many aspects of mental development into a single activity. With up to 30 board games available at Digital Playhouse, students are guaranteed to grow in intellect by leaps and bounds.
What does it all come down to?
Board games should not be the main source of your curriculum, but they do provide a way to facilitate cognitive abilities in ways that normal studies cannot. There is no limit to what you can teach via board games. They can be adapted to any age level. You can even pick your board games based on what skills you want your children/students to develop. Most importantly, the skills that are improved through playing board games usually cross over from unconscious into conscious thought processes. Give it a shot and you’ll see a definite change in the mindset and personality of your children/students.