We love games! Perhaps this love of game-playing stems from my MK (missionary kid) roots – no tv, no electricity, but we did have board games! Perhaps the love for games also comes from many years of working with youth groups. Perhaps the teacher in me just loves being able to engage young brains in learning activities that are fun and entertaining for the whole family.
I’m sure all of those reasons come into play in one way or another. Over the years family game night has been something we all look forward to, and I think more families could benefit from it as well! Even those who don’t have their own families can enjoy similar benefits by playing games with those they have relationships with (friends, neighbors, other relatives, church family).
- Quality family time. We play games together and laugh together. Sometimes, we even get mad at each other. 🙂 Often family game time results in more than just playing a game to win. While we play, we relate to one another and focus in on one another. Playing games together leads to a lot of good conversation and sometimes even leads to family jokes that last well beyond game time. Years later, whenever I hear certain phrases, like “rooooo-aaaaaaddd,” I’m instantly taken back to some awesome family memories. Some games have even become part of our family identity (Settlers of Catan, for example, is simply known as “The Game” in our household). Why not build game-play into your family identity?
- Media-free entertainment. Yes, I’m one of “those” moms. Even before our children were born, I knew I didn’t want them to spend a lot of time in front of the tv. My husband and I have compromised by allowing tv, but with time limits. So, we try to find other ways to encourage our children to entertain themselves when they are bored. On rainy days, wintery days, or long summer days of boredom, why not break out a board game or card game?
- Frugal entertainment. Other than the initial cost of a game, and perhaps some snack food, you can entertain a whole house full of people for very little. In fact, we’ve entertained guests with games that you don’t even have to pay for, such as Mafia (a story-telling, role-playing, whodunnit? type of game). Family Fun nights are often game nights when the budget doesn’t allow for taking out a family of six. Also, My husband and I even have mini-dates at home on occasion when the kiddos are sleeping by playing Battleship or other two-player games.
- Learning new skills. Playing games is not only entertaining, but it can also teach your children new skills, such as counting, matching, planning, developing strategy, problem-solving, and more. The bonus? It’s so much fun, your children won’t even realize they are learning. 🙂
- Learning sportsmanship. Children have to learn how to be good sports, whether they are winning or losing. We have one child in particular who is extremely competitive and really struggles with emotions in general. What a perfect opportunity to model good sportsmanship for him and his siblings during family game night. Additionally, playing together as a family gives children multiple opportunities to make mistakes and grow in the safety and comfort of their own home.
- Learning about others. Whether with family or friends, playing games with others is a great way to get to know them better! When people are relaxed, they are more open and honest about who they really are as people. One thing our guests are sure to learn about us when playing games is that some of us are more than just a little competitive and that we all like to laugh! I especially enjoy playing games with my husband. It brings out the silly side in each of us and gives us an opportunity to tease each other, much like the flirting of our early dating relationship. Game playing fosters a feeling of friendship between us that is important for two busy parents who sometimes end up feeling more like business partners than soul mates. 🙂
I’m certain there are other reasons for playing games together, as well, but these are our favorites. I’m happy to know that my children enjoy playing board games just as much as they enjoy playing video games. Although, I have to also admit that on occasion, family game night does revolve around the wii (Mario Kart, anyone?). 🙂 The main idea is just to take time to play together. It’s an investment in your relationships that will multiply endlessly. As our children grow older, we enjoy family game time more and more!
Be sure to check out Our Big List of Favorite Games for ideas on great games for the whole family. The list is even organized by age and group size!
The family that plays together stays together…..or something like that, right? I’m putting family game night on the schedule for this week or next.
Will you join me?
How does your family enjoy games? What are your favorites?