The game of dominoes has been in existence for at least 750 years: it is one of mankind’s truly great games.
Why has it been so popular for so long? Well, like most great games its elegant simplicity makes it very easy to learn, yet the subtle strategies required to win can take a lifetime to master.
Above all, it is fun!
Why not teach your child how to play? Not only will they quickly learn a new game that the whole family can enjoy, but each time your child plays the game they will be exposed to all manner of educational benefits.
A set of can be purchased quite cheaply on Amazon, (click on the image to have a look). But the game can also be played free of charge – simply print off these two pages, cut out the shapes and you will have your own set. And, to help get you started, we’ve summarized the rules of the game here.
For very young children
* It reinforces simple counting for the numbers up to 6
* It helps children learn to recognize the number of dots without having to count them. This is an important skill which will help them count larger clusters of items more quickly and will also help them learn their multiplication tables more easily
* The requirement to place the tiles precisely helps build hand-eye coordination
For all children
* Assistance in memory development – if an opponent can’t move this gives clues as to what tiles they hold and it is important for these clues to be remembered
* The development of strategic thinking. A player will often have more than one tile that they are able to play – over time, your child will develop strategic awareness of which one will be a better option
* If you choose to score by adding up all the dots of the losing players this will provide your child with fun practice of more complex addition and subtraction
* As with all games, playing dominoes will give your child some experience in winning and losing. Because dominoes is such a quick game, when your child loses a round they will know another opportunity to win is only moments away – making it an ideal game to help you instill the notions of being generous in defeat and gracious in victory.
A final word
In our increasingly digital and tech-heavy world, playing a game that has kept humans enthralled for nearly a millennium can only be a good thing!