Board games have been around since, well, since the early civilizations of humanity as any Social Studies teacher would tell you. While they have added fancier game pieces, eye popping artwork and more packaging than Santa, it is the games themselves that still hold mass appeal for audiences and kids of all ages.

Dave Yearick, an Upstate games inventor, believes that in such an advanced technological age “the analog connection gives people the digital downtime they need.”

Yearick maintains that the popularity for children and families is the old school results it produces. 

“They get to do all of those things that are healthy for us like make a human connection, laugh, exercise the competitive spirit, learn team skills,” he said. “Not only that, but it levels the playing field for a kid who is 6 and an adult who is 60 and teaches them that it is OK to laugh at themselves.”

All the major box stores have them, but if you have time, a local game store that specializes in board games is the place to go. The employees and owners have kiddos themselves and are always willing to recommend or demonstrate a board game. Not all are competitive. If Candyland, which was invented in 1949, is a problem in your house because a loss causes tears, there are cooperative games that a middle school student and an elementary school student can play without the arguments.

Sherri McGuire owner of Boardwalk Games in Greenville likes games because they sneak in learning such as strategy, critical thinking, colors, numbers and reading. 

Maguire also noted that the old games often get refreshed and updated and even made easier, since kids’ versions of the adult games are often released, making it easier for parents to introduce non-electric gaming to their children.

“The face time is really beneficial to families,” McGuire said.

In fact, Boardwalk has space and tables to play. Families can bring their own games or borrow one.

Board games can even be used to teach scholastic concepts from counting and math to spelling and reading. There is an entire homeschool community that embraces using board games. Even in the classroom, there is merit to using them for instruction. For example, in the English classroom alone, there are games that focus on spelling, phonemic awareness and elements of storytelling. There are games that cover world history and math facts. All of them have a unique lure for children where they absorb the information without knowing they are learning until suddenly, they have the knowledge they need at their fingertips. 

Best of all, board games are portable. After a family trip in the car, having a game or two to decompress with can really kick off a vacation right. 

Learn more at and A list of Danielle’s favorite family-friendly games is online at

Danielle Howell Roland is a middle school English and Social Studies teacher in the Upstate. She is a mom to a 7-year-old boy who still thinks mud is a clothing accessory. Her family has two dogs, a few hairless “skinny” pigs and some backyard chickens that make her laugh. She reads whenever and wherever she can.

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