As a teacher, I recognize the value of playing games with children. Not only does it teach skills such as taking turns, being a good loser/winner, and playing fair, but there is sooo much educational skills that can be taught through games.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to go through some of the games that I play with the boys and show you how you can expand on them to make it even more educational, or how it already is educational.
I decided to start with Trouble because we played that tonight. Blake and Colby both understand how to play Trouble, so don't think you have to go with 5+ age as a limit. If you don't know how to play Trouble here's a quick over view. You "pop" the dice to get a 6. Once you get a 6 you can take one man out of home and start him on the journey around the board to finish. You have 4 men to get from home to finish.
There is number recognition of the numerals 1-6. There is number sense in the understanding of how to move the man around the board. I taught Blake to start by counting the space he is on as zero. this is a hard concept for many people to understand that zero is the place you are at now. But, at the same time many children begin counting the space they are on as 1, by saying zero you eliminate this confusion and encourage the understanding of the number sense of 0. Number sense is the understanding of how numbers work. When your child rolls a 1 they only move one spot where as if you roll a 5 you move a lot more spots.
There is also strategy involved when you have more than one man on the board you have to decide which man to move. You need to estimate which move is best for you. If you land on the same spot that is occupied by an opponent you make them go back to home which is always fun. They have to figure out how to avoid having this happen to themselves too.
When you get close to finish there are 4 spaces and you have to land in there exactly. So if you only have one man on the board and are 1 space away from finish and roll a 5 you can't move. This is actually subtraction.
Next time you have a half an hour try playing a game with your child. You might be surprised at how much they can learn from a simple board game.