Plan, prioritise, organise and monitor.
These are all words that sound like something we do at work or at school. But we all do these things in everyday life really. They’re life skills that we use and they are also life skills that we can learn through board games.
They encourage us to focus our attention, so our attention is focused because we are taking turns, we’re planning strategies and we learn consequences. From being young children we learn that if you’re not paying attention in the game, and you’re not thinking about what’s going on, then you can lose points, you might be penalised and fall behind.
So as well as looking at our own strategies of what we’re doing, we also like to keep an eye on our opponents – What are they doing? What are they after? Because it may be that our actions, we may do something different because we’re trying to prevent our opponent from doing something.
So we’re keeping our attention and focus sharp.
We’re planning our go, we are seeing what’s happening, we might be planning future turns; If this happens, then this and then that and then maybe I can get to this objective that I’ve got for myself within this game.
We’re prioritising. Well if I want to get this resource over there, then maybe I need to do this first, so my priorities then become clear.
And we’re organising, so how am I going to make this all happen?
But also, monitoring the opponent’s. Well it looks like my opponent to my right might also want this resource, that’s over there… Can I get it before they do? Can I protect my knight in chess at the same time as not lose my Queen over here?
We’re doing these things in games, but they’re life skills. We need to plan, prioritise, organise and monitor what’s going on in our lives.
For example, if we go to the shops, we might go without a list, but if we have a list of what we need, what’s important, then we’re more likely to get what we need and come back and be able to actually make a full meal.
So what we’re doing when playing board games is they’re helping us in real life with our focus and attention, both for ourselves and for others.