Family Night Board Games – Some Great Ideas
Ever wish you and your kids didn’t plunk yourselves in front of computers and phones every evening after dinner? Me too. I found that after the dinner dishes are put away, homework is done (or not done, depending on your kid!) the first thing that is picked up is the phone or other electronic device and that is the main activity until bedtime, each to their own corn er of living space. There is a better way to spend an evening on weekend afternoon: family game time!
Why have family games night?
In the online digital age, even we adults often forget what sharing family time together is like. It’s important to remember that socializing with family is just as crucial as socializing with friends. Memories are made, bonds are cemented and forged into lifelong ties that should never be forgotten.
It’s important not to forget how ‘to family’. Instead of each member sitting in various corners of a room staring intently into their devices, pull out a game, any game, and get everyone around a table to play. Put one of the younger family members in charge of the play money or reading the rules to everyone to ensure their engagement. If they have a friend over, get them involved too. You never know, they may go home with renewed enthusiasm for their family to start their own family game night.
Snacks, snacks, snacks!
What’s game night without some healthy snacks? Healthy doesn’t have to taste bad either. Plan ahead, get the kids involved in offering suggestions or get them to help prepare something ahead of time. Depending on the game, you could also have a short snack break and enliven the evening with strategy chat.
Some great snacks are tortilla roll-ups, crackers and cheese and/or dip, pizza bites. A nice ice-filled pitcher of lemonade or iced tea would go down well with the snacks. In winter, smooth hot chocolate topped with dollops of whipping cream and sprinkled with cinnamon would be the perfect accompaniment to warm winter fare.
Snacks shouldn’t all fall to one person and especially not the person organization the evening’s entertainment. Assign a family member to take care of snacks for the evening. Let them decide with minimal consultation what should be served. You may be surprised to learn that you enjoy something new!
What are some good games?
There are endless options to choose from. Games can be chosen on the age-appropriateness of the players as well as interests. Visit a toy store or look online at the big retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Visit your local library – they often have games available for borrowing.
Sometimes your own games are the best. At one time, in my home, I used to have friends over once a month or so and we would play word games. We would make sure there was an actual paper dictionary – no phones allowed – and the person to start would choose an obscure word from the dictionary. Everyone had to write on a piece of paper what they thought the word meant. We would go round the room, each player would take a turn reading their definition…and the person who got it correct would get to choose the next word. I can guarantee you there would be some pretty hilarious definitions!
There are some classic board games such as Scrabble, Clue and Monopoly. There are loads of newer board games coming out on the market every week. There are new card games and old ones that still stand the test of time, such as Rummy, Snap and Crazy Eights. Really, the sky is the limit. I will choose some to focus on in another blog post, as this one is just to encourage families to dedicate an evening or afternoon a week to enjoy some time together. If your children are still quite young, then having a game night is a great family tradition to start.
Allow the winner to choose the following week’s game. This will engage each person and allow for some competitive fun to come through. Keeping it light is a good idea – one doesn’t want to deal with too much sibling rivalry!
What games to avoid…
Games with family shouldn’t be overly complicated or take long to set up. If they are complex or need hours of set-up and explaining, you may find some family interest straying.
Of course, age appropriate games should be considered. There are some out there that you really don’t want to play with your children, (including the grown ones). Choose games that everyone can enjoy and will be capable of winning. It’s no fun for the younger ones if an older sibling has the experience knowledge that gives him or her the edge to win all the games. Level the playing field whenever possible.
Really expensive games are not necessary, at least until you try game night a few times. When branching out, try picking neighborhood yard sales or wait for the big sales at your local Walmart or other game store.
Above all – have fun!
Family game night is about family bonding and fun, yes. But it is also an opportunity to teach your loved ones about fair play, sports(wom)anship and tolerance. I am not suggesting heavy-handedness during family game night of course, but a word here or there to let Sally know that her little brother could get the upper hand at the turn of a card might just be the reminder that she needs to keep her from gloating. Good behavior taught during family games night should be well-rewarded with a kind and encouraging word.
If playing a game where teams are necessary, try pairing up the siblings who will need to work together to win. It won’t always work of course, but if they see the other team winning because they were squabbling too much, it might give them second thoughts next time around.
Mom and/or Dad may need extra patience occasionally, but in the end the memories will be worth it.