Children need to spend time with their family, and this is a need that is often overlooked as they get older. By building a tradition around playing games together as a family, you can engender a time-honoured method of reconnecting at the end of the week and breeding closeness between all the members of your family.
It is important to choose games your children are able to cope with, but don’t underestimate their skills. Children are easily bored by activities that provide no challenge to them at all, so choosing a game they are able to comprehend and play with gusto, without overreaching and confusing them is important. Check the age range on the games in question, but also take your own child’s abilities into consideration and don’t be tempted to expect too much of them. Different kids are good at different things, and some are able to understand, say, Monopoly when they are technically far too young for it. Others may not get Monopoly, but can rock Taboo. You know your children best, so judge accordingly!
Setting aside a weekly timeframe during which to enjoy games with your family is a great idea. The weekend is a good idea, but by the same token you can choose a week night when you all sit down around the dinner table and break out the Hungry, Hungry Hippos. What’s important is that it becomes a regular occurrence your children can really rely on. This develops into an evening for the family to gather and discuss whatever is on its collective mind, and a time for relaxing fun and healthy snacks to provide a social lubricant. And it’s a great time for young and old!
Organise your game nights carefully, and enlist your children to help with the preparations. Making snacks, putting together nice drinks and choosing the games are all bits and pieces that need to be sorted out before you can start. Before you know it, preparing for game night will be as exciting as having game night itself!
Some great games for smaller children include Coppit!, Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Kerplunk, which carries across almost all ages. For slightly older kids, give Mousetrap a go – it’s fun for everybody and it can make little kids laugh very hard indeed! This is also the perfect age for the new range of Lego games – games using Lego’s functionality in order to bring about new and exciting ideas. Minotaurus is a favourite in my house, but they all bear looking at! As they are games which allow you to annoy your fellow players, children find them hilarious indeed. As they get even older, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and chess become viable options.
Games can be an amazing way for children to bond with their families, and vice versa. Give some serious consideration to expanding your game collection and organising a weekly game night to enjoy these wonderful social experiments on a regular basis! Your family will thank you for it in the long run, and the short term… And you, in turn, will thank me!