By Nabeela Kathradah (Speech Therapist & Audiologist)

& Waheeda Essop (Occupational Therapist)

Yes we have all played them, we all have our favourites and we are all familiar with the classics. But what is it about this leisure-time-escape that keeps us entertained? And do kids truly benefit for partaking, in what appears to be pure gaming fun?

We are often ‘with’ our families at various times in a day’s routine. Whether it be mealtimes or travelling. But as a family, are we truly together, interacting with each other and giving other family members attention. Playing a board game allows exactly that, a special time for family members to give each other their time and attention.

When playing a game, especially a new one, a new array of skills and concepts are being learnt. Whether its math in buying-and-selling properties in Monopoly or general knowledge like in ’30 Seconds’. A child also learns the skills of how to plan and strategize. Whether it is to get to a ‘safe house’ in Ludo or the strategy of elimination in Cluedo. 

One of the hidden benefits of partaking in a board game, is laying and enforcing of RULES. They are thus excellent for younger players to develop the concept of rules and then it’s easy…they become accustomed to enforcing and abiding these, without even realising it!

For the introvert child or the child that is simply maturing, a board game offers a wide range of social skills. From working with a team to ‘turn taking’ to working towards a goal. Predicting and observing behaviour of others is sometimes key in winning the hand or achieving your goal.

While board games may not offer gross motor stimulation or outside play, it is the one activity that promotes development of higher cognitive skills like decision making, problem solving, time concept, strategic planning and logical thinking. Keeping up with the game requires increased focus and sustained concentration. All while having fun!!

An important factor in all these games is the element of competition. This tweaks their drive to achieve and improves motivation directed at an outcome. And off course, dealing with losing and winning. This kind of game-etiquette is not necessarily taught in the game but provides opportunity to mould the graceful winner and curb the sore-looser.

Let this festive season be unique, with fun and relaxation the first items unpacked. So c’mon guys, RACK IT UP!


The ECI Store offers a range of board games for the holidays. To play at home or take with on that much needed holiday. The games are unique and appropriate for all age groups.


Pickles and Penguins, by Outset Games

Are you competitive and quick thinking? This picture linking party game is an all-out frantic rush to get rid of your cards as fast as you can. What do your cards and the cards in play have in common? Think quickly and logically and then state the connection in a full sentence. No stretching the connections too far! Hundreds of pictures, but how many can you link together and can you be faster than the other players in seeing and verbalizing the connections?

The game stimulates speech and cognitive skills on multiple levels. It focuses on grammar and sentence production. It is excellent to stimulate association and categorisation abilities. The text and picture cards also assist with spelling and it can be used to stimulate executive functioning skills such as attention, concentration and memory.

LUDO

Wooden Chess and Ludo

The classic game of Ludo assists in strategic thinking, planning and encourages teamwork towards an end goal. Basic math is encouraged in moving the pieces according to the dice and skills like decision-making and problem solving are definitely piqued.

This That and Everything, by Onset Games

You have 30 seconds….Go! Race to describe a wide variety of famous people, things and places for your teammates to guess. 
Describe and give clues to help your teammates correctly identify a random list of 6 items on the selected card as they shout out this, that and everything in between to guess and earn points. And all of this in 30 seconds!

The game stimulates convergent (what the words have in common) and divergent (list items of a category) naming skills. Allows for increase of language specifically targeting nouns. It also allows for social interaction, logic skills and reasoning.

Telepaths, by Outset Games

How well do you know your teammate? Do you think the same – let’s hope so if you want to win! 
What will your teammate associate with the word or picture on the card? Read their mind and try to anticipate their crazy thoughts to earn points. Write down your responses – but only as many as the number on the board game square! Hurry, the race is on…………you only have 30 seconds! 

This game stimulates social skills and reasoning abilities whilst also targeting executive functioning skills such as higher order thinking, logic and problem solving. It also assists in building language skills with new vocabulary and associations.

Comments (1)

  1. What’s your favourite?

    Nov 2, 2020

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