Picture in your mind a 13-year-old boy. What is he doing? Television advertisements would have you believe that he’s loving every electronic gadget he can get his hands on. BATTERIES


Now let me tell you about a real 13-year-old boy. Once a month my friends and I get together to play board or card games, just to have some good clean fun and to socialize. When it was my night to host, my son came home from running errands with his dad and approached the table where we were playing to say hello to my friends. Then, to my surprise, he lingered around the table watching us play. I invited him to sit down and he did. He even began to play with us! Who would have thought that a 13-year-old, boy or girl, would want to hang out with women old enough to be his mother or grandmother?


The next month, when game night was mentioned, my son got a glimpse of excitement in his eyes, until I told him that we weren’t hosting, which would prevent him from easily spending time with his dad if he didn’t like the game. With a sad face, he decided not to go to game night with my mom and me. We did, however, promise to have family game day the next day.


I encourage parents to leave the batteries behind and give the gifts of table games, especially the ones that require reading, math, fine motor skills, decision making and critical thinking. list of games  fit one or more of the skills above that build the brain to give it the strength and abilities to achieve the intellectual feats required of school and life.

  • Clue
  • Yahtzee 
  • Operation
  • Connect Four
  • Guess Who?
  • Battleship
  • Hangman
  • Mad Libs
  • Cribbage
  • 500 Rummy
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Jenga
  • Scrabble
  • Monopoly


In addition to brain building, children learn to take turns, respect rules, be aware of proper placement, take care of their things, put things away, roll with the tide of winning and losing throughout an event, be a good sport when competing with others, and be a good winner and loser.

Without rejection of the “three R’s,” parents can have their children practice their academic skills and be happy to do so!


Lora Incardona has been a public school teacher since 1993 and holds master degrees in bilingual education and educational leadership. Visit http://LoraTheStudyCoach.com to follow her blog and read more articles about education today.

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