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What Does Operation (Game) Teach? 15 Lessons Kids Can Learn from This Game

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Operation is a game aimed at children 6+. While the game is undoubtedly fun, it also provides a learning element that makes it the perfect pick for parents who want their kids to enjoy themselves while learning something new. 

Operation is not just a game that’s perfect for evoking giggles and forming memories. It also teaches children several things that can be applied at multiple levels of their lives. When playing Operation, children are required to help Cavity Sam, who seems to have a lot of health issues, get better. 

Cavity Sam has 12 cavities, and each is an ailment. Each player uses tweezers to remove ailments from Sam’s body carefully, without connecting with the sides of the cavity. If the sides are touched, there’s a buzzing sound, and the player loses that round. If they are successful, they earn money for the task completed effectively.

Some of the things that Operation teaches children include math (adding up the money), hand-eye coordination, the value of family time, communication, basics of human anatomy, how to follow instructions, how to lose gracefully, problem-solving, and dexterity.

These are just the start of the lessons that you can expect your child to experience when playing a board game like Operation. So, if you want to know more about the various lessons Operation can teach your kids, read on!

1. Mathematics

When children play Operation, they are required to complete a task successfully without getting buzzed out. When they are successful, they are rewarded with money. The money needs to be added and subtracted with wins and losses, which promotes both counting and mathematics. 

2. Hand-Eye Coordination

It takes a certain amount of skill to use the tweezers to remove the ailment from Cavity Sam’s cavity. Players must develop good hand-eye coordination to use the tweezers effectively. This can take a bit of time if kids are a little shaky at first, but with consistent and persistent practice, hand-eye coordination develops, and the task becomes a little easier.

3. The Value of Family Time

It’s easy for families to become disconnected. Life gets busy, and before you know it, parents and children are living almost separate lives, only seeing each other from time to time for a few brief moments. 

With the rat race and modern living, families have to find innovative ways to connect, and if you’re struggling to do that, a family game night is a great option. Young children who are introduced to compulsory family time soon learn the value of connecting and spending time together.

4. Clear Communication

Most board games help children to learn better, clearer communication. This is because players have to communicate throughout the process, and if there’s a lack of clear communication, it can lead to frustration, confusion, and even bickering. 

Learning how to communicate with different people in different scenarios is certainly something that Operation can teach.

5. Basics of Human Anatomy

When playing Operation, children have to become familiar with the different parts of the body in order to play effectively and communicate with the other players. Cavity Sam is depicted in an image along with his ailments, which helps children to better understand the human body. 

6. How to Follow Instructions

All board games, Operation included, have a list of rules that need to be followed. When first introduced to the game, children are taught the rules but may make a few mistakes along the way. It is only through the reiteration of the rules and learning how to follow instructions carefully that helps children play the game with greater ease along the way!

7. How to Lose Graciously

If children never play games where they can (and do) sometimes lose, they will never know that losing is something that should be done with grace. Losing graciously is an art. It doesn’t come easily. In fact, the first time a child loses at a game, they may feel overwhelmed, angry, sad, or even lash out at their friends. 

It’s important for children to learn that they can sometimes lose, and that’s okay. They can indeed learn to be happy for their sibling, parent, or friend who has won.

8. Problem-Solving

In order to help Cavity Sam, children/players need to problem-solve. Without problem-solving skills, the player will not know what to do to help Cavity Sam. While children may start out with minimal problem-solving skills, they may develop these as they go.

9. Dexterity

Using tweezers to help Cavity Sam overcome his ailments requires definite dexterity. Dexterity is the ability to effectively use one’s hands to complete a task. As children play Operation, their dexterity and precision will greatly improve. 

10. Helps Kids Make Friends

It can be difficult for some children to learn how to make friends, especially if they are shy or the new kid on the block. By introducing Operation as an ice-breaker, you can help children make friends easier. 

When playing a game, children (and adults) don’t feel the pressure to make conversation and generally feel less awkward as the game becomes the main focus of attention.

11. How to Have Off-Screen Fun

In today’s modern times, it can be hard for children to find innovative and healthy ways to enjoy themselves and have genuine fun without a screen in their hands.

Operation provides an engaging and fun way for children to still have fun and learn something without the need for a screen in sight. For a few short hours, they may even forget screens exist.

12. Quick Thinking 

To solve Cavity Sam’s ailments, players must think quickly. The more children play the game, the quicker they think and get the problem solved. 

13. Focus and Attention to Detail

Cavity Sam requires assistance in overcoming his ailments. The player can provide that assistance but not without careful attention to detail and focus. 

When children first start playing the game, it may seem easy, and they may not realize how much focus and attention it requires. But as time goes on and children practice playing the game, their focus and attention will develop and improve. This is a skill that will help children in their current life but also as they grow older.

14. Promote Bonding with Siblings

Playing games in teams can promote bonding and togetherness. Pairing up children and family members can help to build a solid foundation for friendship and bonding. 

If you’re looking for a way to get the kids to play better together or want to promote a platform for parents to connect with children on a level that they understand and is fun for them, playing a game such as Operation is a great way to do that. 

15. Action and Consequence

In a game of Operation, making the wrong move, not being precise, or merely playing the fool and not taking the game seriously can result in a poor consequence – at Cavity Sam’s expense. As children learn more about the game and how to get the job done right, they learn that every action has a consequence, and Operation can perfectly teach that lesson.


There are several things that children can be taught by playing a game of Operation. Action and consequence, bonding, focus and attention to detail, quick thinking, off-screen fun, dexterity, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and mathematics. These are just the tip of the iceberg of how positively a board game can impact a child’s life. 

If you’re looking for fun ways to entertain the kids while promoting learning and bonding, there’s no doubt that Operation is a good choice. Next time you’re wondering what to play on family game night, grab a copy of Operation and enjoy!

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.