13 Games to Teach Your Child Life Skills

Child’s play is so much more than child’s play! It’s actually serious business when it comes to your kid’s health and development.

From hide and seek to Animal Crossing, the many games that children play can enrich their minds, body, and life in important ways.

Games help children explore and understand the world within safe limits. They encourage them to take control of their learning by letting them take control of scenarios and use their imagination.

They also teach valuable skills related to patience, money, creative thinking, problem-solving, and more.

Here are some games you can let your child play to help them develop important life skills:

Social Games That Teach Life Skills

To a child, playing games is all about having fun – but what’s really happening is the acquisition of important life skills!

Check out these social games and how they can teach your little valuable life skills:

1. Duck, Duck, Goose

This favorite game among preschoolers is a great way to teach them life skills such as strategic thinking.

As they play the game more, they’ll start to pick a “goose” who isn’t paying attention or one who has to run further to their spot.

Life Skills Learned: Strategic Thinking

2. Musical Chairs

Have you ever seen a game of musical chairs that didn’t end in an argument?

This game teaches kids how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way, deal with disappointment, and practice patience.

Life Skills Learned: Patience, Conflict Resolution

3. Simon Says

Simon Says helps kids learn how to pay attention to instructions but also gives them the opportunity to be a leader.

Kids who don’t pay attention quickly learn that not listening will lead to them being out.

Life Skills Learned: Following Instructions, Leadership

4. Hide and Seek

If you want your kids to learn problem-solving skills, get them to play hide and seek!

In order to stay hidden for a longer period of time, children must learn how to assess their environment and options to choose the best hiding spot.

This also helps develop spatial awareness since they must choose spots covering their bodies.

As the seeker, kids will have to also think about spots where a person can hide their whole body and assess the environment for likely hiding spots.

Life Skills Learned: Spatial Awareness, Problem-Solving

5. Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light is the perfect game for teaching children patience as well as spatial awareness.

The runners must decide how long to wait before they rush toward the leader, taking into account the space they have to cover.

The leader must decide how long to wait before turning around. If they turn around too soon, no one will have a chance to move. The runners will make it to the end if they wait too long.

Life Skills Learned: Patience, Spatial Awareness

Board Games That Teach Life Skills

There’s much to be learned from classic board games that your kids should play – and I’m not talking about how to flip tables or start arguments.

In fact, board games can also be a great teaching tool when it comes to conflict resolution!

But other than learning how not to hate your friends and family members, board games can teach some useful skills. Check them out:

6. Monopoly

This table-flipping classic is actually a great way to teach your children life skills such as money management, investing, buying, and selling.

They will learn how to spend money wisely and get more bang for their buck!

Life Skills Learned: Money Management

7. The Game of Life

The Game of Life will help teach your children about…well…life!

It’ll give them a peek into adulthood as they experience things such as owning a car, going to college, having a family, and buying a house.

They’ll also pick up skills such as decision-making.

Life Skills Learned: Decision Making, Adulting

8. Pay Day

Pay Day goes deeper into teaching money management skills by helping kids learn about family finances.

They’ll have to figure out how to budget a monthly paycheck, and it’ll show them the value of working to earn money.

Life Skills Learned: Family Financing, Budgeting

9. Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer strategy game where players try to dominate the map by building roads, settlements, and towns by collecting and using resources.

While playing this game, your child will learn skills like resource management, negotiation, and problem-solving.

They’ll have to look at how other players have established their roads and settlements to formulate their own strategy, as well as consider which resources are worth hanging on to.

Life Skills Learned: Problem-Solving, Resource Management

Video Games That Teach Life Skills

What? Kids can learn from video games?

For some reason, generations past are still trying to convince us that video games are bad for kids – but we know better!

Video games are actually an amazing way for children to learn life skills. They are fun, interactive, and engaging.

As long as you’re not letting your six-year-old play Grand Theft Auto, here are some ways that video games can teach life skills:

10. Minecraft

This popular video game is a hit for both kids and adults but can teach some very valuable life skills.

For instance, Minecraft teaches kids how to reach objectives in ways that require creative and out-of-the-box thinking.

It also teaches coding and engineering skills that are going to be useful in the future!

Want to impress your kids with your Minecraft skills? Check out these Minecraft hacks for parents!

Life Skills Learned: Creative Thinking, Goal Setting

11. Cooking Mama

Cooking Mama is a fun, interactive game that teaches kids the basics of cooking!

While there are many cooking simulators out there, this one is super easy to get into and has even integrated social media into the gameplay.

Life Skills Learned: Cooking

12. Animal Crossing

There’s a reason why the Animal Crossing franchise blew up during the COVID-19 shutdown!

Not only does this game teach valuable life skills, but it fosters a sense of socializing as players interact with villagers and other players.

Some of the life skills your child can learn from Animal Crossing include building, cooking, and decorating.

Plus, with the new Happy Home Paradise DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, your kids can design vacation homes and earn money.

Well, pokey as it’s called in the game.

Life Skills Learned: Creative Thinking, Design

13. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a farm simulator that goes beyond growing vegetables and milking cows!

It teaches important life skills such as caring about your neighbors and taking care of the environment. Kids will learn time management skills as well.

Life Skills Learned: Time Management, Social Responsibility, Environmental Responsibility

Learning While Playing!

The best part about all of these games is that your child won’t even know they’re learning life skills – they’ll be having too much fun!

And, as a parent, you can easily join in and make playing these games together an opportunity to carve out some quality time.

Whether you’re playing Monopoly as a family or checking out your kiddo’s latest Minecraft build, take the time to connect with them – and you may learn a thing or two yourself!

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