Board games are just plain fun. Thank goodness, because that fun has saved many a family get together from boredom or bickering disaster and kept us away from couch potato land. We actually talk and laugh like human beings while playing games. Yep – no bickering (yes, adult siblings bicker) and no big debates allowed. Just some fun competition. A word to the wise: actual family bonding happens. I swear.
I remember playing games with my family since I was little and to this day, it is one of our favorite things to do. Now that I have kids, I love them even more. Not kidding – this is just the grown-up games.
Top 8 Reasons Board Games Rock for Families:
1. They do not cost a bajillion dollars a game. In fact, many are really inexpensive, especially for kids’ games and they can be played over and over. Perhaps because it is people playing board games with each other and not a computer, they just don’t get old.
2. They are fun! Yes, playing games with other people is awesome. Families sometimes get stuck in ruts together and everyone goes their own way. Throw everyone on the floor or around the table and play with each other. This is one of those times when people come together and have fun. Yippee!
3. This is healthy competition. Instead of who is better at soccer or piano or who has the better job or is the better cook – just throw out some chips and play a fair game that determines who rules the world at Monopoly (my husband) or Boggle (me) or Scrabble (toss up).
4. You totally learn things. Even as a grown-up I learn facts in games like Trivial Pursuit, strategy in Monopoly or Axis and Allies, and words in my favorites, boggle and scrabble. Play some operation and learn body parts! Guess what, your small children can learn too! With games like Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land the kids learn counting and rules. They learn directions like forward and backward. They learn coordination with a lot of building games. They also learn to fly solo and be their own character for the game. Without mom or dad, they can play and win or lose. This is no small thing.
5. Everyone can play. Using teams, even our kids can join in on fun with harder games and they love being part of the grown-up activities. They can move the piece, roll the dice, be the money keeper. This way you don’t have to play Candy Land all day and your kids can still play with you! When visiting my 96 year old grandfather I realized how important games are. He can still play them. He remembers the rules and you don’t need to talk that much to play. He doesn’t hear well. My husband and I spent an entire day with him playing games and enjoying his company.
6. Board games make better people. You know with games and cards, kids learn really fast how to cheat. They want to win and of course, no one wins all the time. Very early on, Sophia bent the edge of a certain Candy Land princess card accidentally because she used to carry the card around. Then, I figured out that she was purposely looking for that card and pulling it. We talked about cheating. We talked about winning and losing. I bent a lot more cards to make it fair. It is interesting because I have totally seen grown ups try to bend the rules of board games and flat out cheat. Playing in a group and talking with your kids about games helps them to grow and learn. It also reminds and grown ups that playing fair is always the best way to play.
7. Board games can travel. At a big family get together bring one or two along and you will be set for some great entertainment. They easily pack in the bottom of a suitcase. Sometimes you need to leave the box at home but hey – whatever brings the bonding, right?
8. Board games make great memories and make people want to get together. This is real quality time. Get to know your family all over again.
A Few Tips for Board Games with Smaller Children:
1. Store your board games where they cannot reach them. Many a game has been destroyed using the pieces in the dollhouse and the money in the dress up purses. I used to find cards all over the house and never be able to put a whole game back together.
2. Don’t push them too far. If kids aren’t having fun the game really may be above them or frustrating them because it is too complicated. As long as people are having fun, keep going, but consider choosing a different game or switching to a puzzle if kids are not happy.
3. Consider some house rules. Think about the game and maybe simplify it a little. It works for a lot of games. Basically you just take out some of the work or strategy. Maybe people can see what other people have. Perhaps you shorten the game. Many games come with a shortened version. It is easy to use the board and the pieces and make up some rules. Try it sometime!
I hope you have a wonderful time playing games with your own family and friends. Unplug and enjoy a little good old fashioned fun!
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