Parents Attention! It is about the Way Your Child Counts in the Board Games

CHESTNUT HILL, MA-Adding a different angle to a hitherto belief that playing board games effectively improves the counting skills of a child, a novel study has stated that the manner in which a child counts while playing these board games plays a pivotal role in the child’s development. The study clearly highlights the fact that playing these board games is not enough as the way a child moves its token at each turn has a greater role to play.

According to the researchers at Boston College and Carnegie Mellon University, teachers and parents must concentrate on the way children count while playing the board games such as Chutes & Ladders. This report is called “Learning From Number Board Games: You Learn What You Encode.”

Laski, a developmental psychologist, said, “We found that it’s the way that children count – whether the counting procedure forces them to attend to the numbers in the spaces of a board game – that yields real benefits in the use of numbers. What’s most important is whether you count within a larger series of numbers, or simply start from one each time you move a piece.”

The Study

The study, authored by Boston College Assistant Professor of Education Elida Laski and Carnegie Mellon Professor of Psychology Robert S. Siegler, checked two counting methods. From a pool of 40 children who played 100-space board game, there was a set of children who counted from number one each time they moved a piece, and the other set counted from the actual numeric of their recent landing. This meant that in the latter case when a child who moved the piece 15 spaces, he counted from number 16 in the next move.

A report published in Developmental Psychology has also said that the process of counting aids children to develop their potential to encode the relationship between numbers and spaces.


The scientists discovered that counting from number one in board games did not involve a good amount of learning. The children doing the same were not found to benefit in number line estimation. On the other hand, second way of counting was termed as a better method of counting for children.

Laski stated, “Board games help children understand the magnitude of numbers by improving their abilities to estimate, to count and to identify numbers. But the benefits depend on how children count during the game. By counting-on, parents and their children can see some real benefits from board games. It’s a simple way to enhance any game they have at home and still have fun playing it.”

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