Board Games Help Kids Learn Math, Study Shows

Playing Chutes and Ladders helped kids in the Head Start Program.

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So it turns out that playing board games can turn your child into a math whiz. According to the research (.pdf), published in the March-April issue of the journal Child Development, number board games similar to Chutes and Ladders can help children, especially those from low-income families, develop number skills that are necessary to do well in math. Disadvantaged children tend to lag behind affluent students in math at the onset of school, and this study found that most low-income children don't have board games at home. The children in the study, 124 preschoolers in the federal Head Start program, used a board game with a spinner and took turns moving pieces along a row of numbered squares. They played four times, for 15 to 20 minutes each session, over a two-week period. At the end of the study, the preschoolers could better identify and count numbers and had a sense of which numbers hold a greater value. So maybe your child won't be solving complicated algebraic expressions right away, but at least he or she will be that much more prepared after several rounds of Chutes and Ladders.