Even without taking into account how much fun and entertaining they are, the benefits of playing word games are quite notable. Yes, they are an amusing hobby and a great way to pass time, but they are also educational and a tool for self-improvement.
If you need any more excuses to get your Scrabble board out of the shelf or to open your book of Word Search challenges, get to know the top 10 benefits of playing word games.
1. Increases vocabulary
One of the main benefits of playing word games is the fact that exposes players to new vocabulary that they might, otherwise, never get to know. This learning is helpful to increase one’s game performance with time, but there are more important and practical advantages to it.
The richer one’s vocabulary is, the easier it becomes to organize and express thoughts and opinions as well as interpreting and understanding what others are saying and the world in general.
2. There is a learning process suitable for everyone
Word games can help improve one’s vocabulary through different learning processes. Notably, learning can be active or passive in these games.
Scrabble or Words with Friends, for instance, are examples of games that prompt an active learning process as the players need to study and enrich their vocabulary on their own time to succeed at these challenges. Through an online Scrabble Word Finder or a Word Unscramble tool, they can input several combinations of letters to find less-known words that can be made with them, and then learn them by heart.
Other games such as Crosswords or Word Search trigger a passive learning process. The players do not actively seek to learn a new word, but rather slowly take in those used in these games. Either by learning them through clues (Crosswords) or semantic groups (Word Search), new terms become engraved in the players’ minds and enrich their vocabulary.
3. Improves spelling
In games such as Scrabble, Crosswords, or Words with Friends, not knowing how to correctly spell a word is the same as not knowing the word at all. Players must get to know each term in detail to be able to write it properly.
Thus, these games can help to improve language skills not only by teaching new vocabulary but also by improving the players’ spelling skills overall.
4. Helps train concentration skills
All word games demand the full attention of players. Either when actively searching for a word on a game board or when sifting through their minds in hopes of finding a term that can be made with the given letters, they must be highly concentrated on the task at hand.
As such, word games can serve as a training ground to practice one’s concentration skills. The more they play, the more players are able to ignore external distractions and control any sense of restlessness.
5. Enhances cognitive skills
Games such as Scrabble and Words with Friends, in particular, are very strategic. As word games, they teach words, but as board games, they put every little gray cell to work too.
They are not solely about constructing words with the given letters on the rack, an activity that is already demanding for the brain. Players must also have into consideration the value of each letter and word and the placement of terms on the board. They must plan every more in order to get as many points as possible by analyzing the opponents’ words, if they can be altered in any way to also get points from them, and when it is possible or appropriate to try to aim for spaces that give extra points.
Since these processes of thought and analysis must be run at the same time, one of the main benefits of playing word games is the way they effectively help to enhance one’s cognitive skills. Players must learn how to strategize, how to plan their moves, and when it is more advantageous to take a step back to move two forward. Word games train decision skills, analysis skills, and the ability to predict and plan different outcomes.
6. Improves memory
While playing word games, players are actively working on their memory too. They must recall words, their definitions, and their spelling at every turn. While preparing for a game, they may also want to study and learn new terms.
Since players are trying to memorize something with a clear purpose in mind, it makes it easier to retain and organize the information in the brain.
7. It promotes a self-improving competition
Word games can be highly competitive and even a bit frustrating when things do not go as desired. However, more than competing against an opponent, players are competing against themselves.
To succeed, they must keep improving their skills and language knowledge. They must train their ability to focus, to react to unpredictable moves or sets of letters, to analyze the board, and they must study to increase their vocabulary as much as possible.
In this sense, word games promote a positive competition. Winning does not depend on luck at all, but rather on the knowledge and skills of each player. Thus, to improve their performance in these games, players must strive to improve themselves first.
8. It can make you happy
The benefits of playing word games can also be perceived in the players’ mood and self-esteem. Losing is always frustrating to some degree, but in these games, joy can be present even in defeats.
As they are a competition against oneself, players have many reasons to still collect some happiness out of a loss. They may be pleasantly surprised with how much their knowledge and skills have improved or that they were able to hold their ground against superior opponents.
However, nothing brings happiness as a victory. To win is to prove that one’s intellectual capabilities are better than others’ which brings a sense of accomplishment and self-appreciation hard to match.
9. It’s relaxing
All word games can help relieve stress. Even the more competitive ones such as Scrabble as a soothing quality to them.
While getting immersed in the letters and words, players can shut off negative thoughts and forget about their problems for an instant. This actively helps to reduce their anxiety and stress levels.
Additionally, because players have to use their cognitive skills to the fullest while playing, rather than being an escape these games can help people organize and calm their mind unconsciously so that when the challenge is over their daily worries do not seem so daunting anymore.
10. It’s a social bonding experience
Bring out a board of Scrabble and any dinner party with friends or family can suddenly turn into a game party. This word game is already a classic in many households throughout the world because everyone agrees it is a fun activity to share with others.
Word games are good group games. Even amid a competition, the players and the audience can share opinions and points of view and learn new words and meanings by simply talking to each other.
They create a relaxed and fun environment that prompts social interaction and bonding with anyone around, even strangers.