Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Benefits of Classic Games

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: I would like to ask you what you believe are the greatest benefits to children's development of the back-to-basics games like Hopscotch, Twister, Dominoes, Card games (like old maid, snap), Jacks, Pick up sticks, etc.?

A: Your question is a leading one, but I will follow the lead. There are enormous benefits to these type of games, benefits that don't necessarily occur so readily from computer and video games and from television. Probably the most important developmental benefit is that all of these games require that children interact and speak with each other. They have to negotiate rules, take turns, correct and challenge each other. Thus they are thinking and problem solving all the time. They can improve their listening and speaking skills. They also have to deal with the emotional consequences of these interactions: handling loss, helping a friend to handle a loss, being a gracious winner.

Beyond the social and emotional benefits of these kind of games, most of the games that you mentioned also help work on motor coordination, both fine motor skills and gross motor skills. For kids in the 3 to 8 age group, these motor skills are very important for success and self esteem, both in and out of school. Improved fine motor coordination will help with writing and drawing. Hopscotch and Twister can help with balance, coordination and flexibility.

The other benefit to keep in mind is that these games are relatively inexpensive ways to promote skills while encouraging kids to have fun. They are a lot cheaper than video games!

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

12 Pumpkin Activities and Crafts for Kids
Pumpkins and gourds are perfect for fall fun and games with the kids. Find the best pumpkin activities, crafts, printables, and recipes to enjoy with your children this Halloween season.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

15 Best Slow Cooker Meals
Too busy to cook? Try one of these deliciously easy slow cooker meals and have dinner waiting when you get home!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!