Board Games and Parental Involvement in Learning

Children whose parents are involved in their education are more likely to succeed academically (Wilder, 2014). But what forms of involvement work best, and what tools are available to help parents have positive and active roles in their children’s education?

The Benefits of Parental Involvement

There’s little agreement on the relative effectiveness of specific types of parental involvement. Wilder describes the difficulty of looking at how each type of involvement impact due to the number of factors involved (Wilder, 2014, p. 378).

Some types of parental involvement that may lead to academic success in children include reading stories, encouraging performance in school, and showing an interest in school events. We don’t yet know which activities are the most beneficial (Topor, Keane, Shelton, and Calkins, 2011, p. 2) Until more research is done on specific activities, we can assume that any parental involvement in education will have a positive impact.

Educational Impact of Board Games

Not only are board games fun, they also teach decision making, motor skills, probability, math, and social skills. On top of that, they’re fun and inexpensive.

Dewar (2012) argues that board games improve critical thinking by offering children an opportunity to explain their reasoning in their decisions. It’s a natural next step to bring board games to the classroom, regardless of the age group.

Board games can range from sprawling and complex (Uwe Rosenberg’s Agricola) to simple and quick (Spot It!), and the range of skills they teach is wide and varied. With the recent resurgence of board games, there is an entire library of games to choose from.

Board Games as a Family Educational Activity

Family game nights are already a fixture in many homes. But by putting an emphasis on “gameschooling”—teaching with games, especially non-digital ones—parents can teach their children while spending quality time with them.

Many games are inherently educational with the difficult decisions they offer. However, some games can be modified to focus on a specific subject by replacing die rolls or other random elements with flash cards.

At Genius Adventures, we create games that bring education and play together and are fun for parents as well as students. We hope our games find their way to living rooms and can bring families together while teaching students a variety of skills and subjects.


Wilder, S. (2014). Effects of parental involvement on academic achievement: a meta-synthesis. In Editorial Review, (377–397).

Topor, D. R., Keane, S. P., Shelton, T. L., and Calkins, S. D. (2010). Parent involvement and student academic performance: A multiple mediational analysis. In PMC, (38(3); 183–197). DOI: 10.1080/10852352.2010.486297

Dewar, G. (2012). Board Games for Kids: Can They Teach Critical Thinking? Retrieved from:

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