As a parent or teacher, you may look ahead at what's to come for future generations as they transition from the sandbox to their first job, college, and career.
What skills will the youth of today need for tomorrow's world? And what tools will help them thrive in college or while entering a competitive job market or start-up?
Research shows that the earlier, the better when it comes to building social and academic skills, while Forbes released an article stating soft skills are more in demand than ever.
"Learning in an interactive setting as opposed to a passive one is conducive to the mix of soft and academic skills we're looking to develop in our kids."
So, let's dive in and uncover the difference between soft skills and hard skills, and how a balance of both can set children up for success in the classroom or future boardroom.
Learning to communicate, cooperate, and empathize with others is essential for children to navigate the world around them. Developing soft skills early on can also help them thrive in school and the future job market.
One of the best ways to help kids develop soft skills is to encourage them to spend time with their peers. Face-to-face time with friends allows kids to practice sharing, solving conflicts, and taking turns. You can set up playdates, find local activities or host a board game night at home. Here are some fun games that can help children build soft skills!
Resource Management & Problem-Solving with Eat & Tweat
2-6 players • 30 min • 8 & up
Move around the board, collecting food along the way. Every turn reveals more paths to explore. Try to reach your nest with as much food as possible to win!
Build Communication Skills with Pickles Pig Tales
2-5 players • 30 min • 6 & up
Players move Pickles along the gameboard and draw a card to tell the story. Tell the story correctly and receive the card. The player with the most cards when Pickles reaches the castle wins!
Collaboration Skills with Shelly's Pearl
2-4 players • 10 min • 4 & up
Enjoy exploring the ocean floor with your dive team collecting colorful shells to trade with Shelly the octopus. The game ends when everyone has collected their prize pearl and can “shellebrate” together!
Empathy-Building Skills with Wake Up Stars
2-4 players • 10 min • 3 & up
Find out what makes your friends happy or sad. Players collect stars and share stories about what makes them feel the emotions found on the faces of the stars. The player who collects the most stars wins!
Decision-Making & Adaptability with Crystal Cup Rally
2-5 players • 30 min • 7 & up
This three-dimensional race car game will have players practicing their planning skills and adapting to new conditions.
Planning & Strategy with Dish 'em Out
2-5 players • 30 min • 8 & up
Hustle to seat and serve hungry customers that have arrived for breakfast in this diner-theme strategy and planning game.
For an extensive list of soft skill games, check out our life-thinking games
Hard skills require comprehension in subjects like art, writing, coding, math, and analytics. The key to piquing a child's interest in developing hard skills is removing barriers such as boredom and frustration. Try gameschooling with a few sneaky math games or building vocabulary skills with a card game or two!
Build Vocabulary Skills with Chalk-A-Word
2-5 players • 30 min • 8 & up
Using the letter cards in their hands, players take turns creating new words or adding to words already in the play area. Points are awarded for each letter used. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Explore Spatial Reasoning Skills with Marble Matrix
2-4 players • 15 min • 7 & up
Slide marbles across the grid so that two or more matching marbles line up. Then collect those matching marbles.
Strengthen Basic Math Skills with Sumology
2+ players • 30 min • 8 & up
Players use tiles to place valid equations that are connected to other tiles on the table, and earn points based off the value of the numbers played. The player with the highest score wins!
Explore Creative Building and Social Play with Asymbol
3-6 players • 30 min • 8 & up
Asymbol challenges your creativity as you build 3D forms from the fun wooden shapes, while others try to guess what you’re making.
*Tip: Use our advanced search to shop hard skills games by age and subject!
How SimplyFun Games Help Children Develop Both Soft Skills and Hard Skills
Playing regular board games with your child teaches them primary skills like patience, taking turns, and empathy. As your child ages, their interest in more complex games can help them develop strategy, negotiation, planning, and organizational skills. All of which are traits associated with leadership and management.
Board games also help develop sportsmanship. Gameplay creates a safe space for children to understand that there is no harm in losing and that it presents an opportunity for growth. As family members continue to play a few more rounds of a board game, a child can learn from their mistakes and perfect their strategies.
Combining hard skills and soft skills can prepare children for future success, but how can parents and teachers light the way? The key is organizing and developing a game plan to help strengthen a child's social and academic development in incremental steps.
At SimplyFun, our library of over 140 games helps meet children's individual needs by age, subject, and skill, with modifications for children with developmental challenges.
Whether you are looking for games that help with emotional-social development or to strengthen math, language arts, social science, or creative skills, we have games for every age and stage in their learning journey!