Ever since my kids were babies I’ve looked forward to the time that they would be able to start playing board games and we could have a Family Game Night! And here we are, at 4 and 6, they are at great ages to play games with (and I mean fun games that my husband and I actually enjoy playing too!)
Last year I wanted to make it more of a weekly ritual in our house to have a game night. We would play games occasionally, but I find unless you make a point of it, there always seems to be other things that come up and it turns into “we’ll play that tomorrow” and then tomorrow never comes (or rarely comes).
My son has an excellent memory and is constantly reminding us of things, so when he knew the plan that Wednesdays would be Game Night, you can guarantee he doesn’t let us forget about it ;). We chose Wednesdays because we didn’t have any extra curricular activities on that night and it was a nice way to break the week up.
I know a family who likes their game night on Fridays, but I’ve always been more of a pizza and movie night girl on Fridays and enjoy some quiet unwinding time after a long week at work. Wednesdays work for us and we do keep our game night relatively short since we still have a 7:00 bedtime we try to stick to 😉 As the kids get older we can add more games to our evening.
A few reasons you should start Family Game Night:
- Quality Time – This one is obvious, but needs to be said. No matter what game you are playing, the important thing is that you are spending quality time with your kids and everyone is having fun together. These are the moments they remember when they are grown up!
- Turn Taking and Sharing – As a Kindergarten teacher I can’t stress enough how important it is for children to learn how to take turns and share. When they learn these skills at a young age, it sets them up for being a good friend at school.
- Learning how to win/lose appropriately – We need our kids to learn this right from the beginning. You will win some and you will some, and that’s life! It’s important or them to know how to be a respectful winner and how to lose gracefully.
- Learning Skills – Depending on the game you choose, there can be many learning opportunities in board games. When young children play with dice, they learn quick image counting strategies that are key in later math learning. Playing Go Fish with cards teaches them to recognize numbers. Counting spaces on the game board as they move their marker teaches them one-to-one correspondence. These are just a couple of examples, as I could go on forever with all of the great learning games on the market today!
- It’s Fun! – Family Game Night allows everyone to have a chance to relax and have fun! Usually one of the games turns into everyone laughing about something and it really doesn’t get much better than that. If game night gets too serious, you need to remind yourself why you’re doing it. It’s not really to see who gets the most properties in Monopoly Jr. or to hurry the kids up when it’s their turn. If everyone only gets a couple of turns during the game because your kids are chatting away in-between rounds about the funny thing that happened at school, then roll with it. Remember, the bottom line is that everyone is spending time together and having fun too!
A few of our favourite games include:
- Monopoly Jr.
- Life Jr.
- Guess Who
- Beat the Parents (we have the regular version and the Disney version)
- Hungry Hungry Hippos
- I hope you have been inspired to try a Family Game Night in your house! If you’ve already been doing this, I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favourite family games?