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Board Games May Help Children Develop Math Skills

By: Matthew Wang

In a study released in the journal Early Years, some number-based board games were observed to be beneficial to student’s development of addition and subtraction skills and number recognition.

Researchers discovered such behavior after years of tireless studies, according to, which reports, “The research team, led by Dr. Jaime Balladares from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, discovered that structured board game sessions under adult supervision resulted in significant benefits for children’s mathematical development.“ In an interview, Dr. Balladares stated that, “Board games enhance mathematical abilities for young children. Using board games can be considered a strategy with potential effects on basic and complex math skills. Board games can easily be adapted to include learning objectives related to mathematical skills or other domains” (, 2023). In more than half of the cases, the children received marked improvements in math scores, and in about a third of cases, they outperformed those who didn’t play in the game sessions. These results show great potential for board games to be used as a learning tool in schools, if used in a structured manner.

However, these games are far from reaching their full educational potential. In, Dr. Balladares emphasized the need for designing and implementing board games while testing them for effectiveness. She later states, “Future studies should be designed to explore the effects that these games could have on other cognitive and developmental skills. An interesting space for the development of intervention and assessment of board games should open up in the next few years, given the complexity of games and the need to design more and better games for educational purposes.”

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