For the Love of the Games
Family Game Night Reconnects Friends and Families
By Jenny Jurica
Last year, when we spent so much time at home, many families became joyfully reacquainted with the concept of “family game night.” But now that life feels a bit more normal, people are back in the office and kids back in the classroom, and free time is again in short supply. Some families, however, are still making a habit of hosting a regular game night and the benefits of this time spent connecting with family and friends stretch far beyond just an evening of fun.
It’s Not All Just ‘Fun and Games’
Research indicates that children who come from families who regularly have game nights or family dinners benefit in many aspects of their development. In fact, these studies show that children who are part of regular family gatherings have larger vocabularies, better relationships with friends, and a more positive perception of parent-child relationships. So, family game night isn’t just fun–it’s developmentally important!
Marin, a local mother of two, says, “We usually have a dedicated family game night every Friday night, and the kids enjoy fun drinks like Shirley Temples or hot chocolate. My kids are ten and eight, but they are pretty good at strategy and card games since we have been doing this for several years. Games are so great for problem-solving skills and critical thinking for the kids.”
“We also never ‘let’ them win, and they often beat us! Playing together as a family, they can learn to win or lose and understand how to appropriately handle the emotions that go with either,” Marin added.
Game night isn’t just for older kids, though. Little ones and those with developmental differences can get in on the fun, too. Games like Memory, Cootie, and Chutes and Ladders don’t require reading to play, and these games are fun for all ages. Families with fewer than four members might find games such as Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza and Uno can have as few as two players and are loads of silly fun.
Adults-Only Game Night
My neighbors and I try to make a point to have at least one adults-only “Family Game Night” every few months or so. We usually choose a less-family friendly game to play than we would play with our children, but the results are the same. We get to connect with each other, get to know one another better, and just get silly for a night. We usually all bring an appetizer and beverage of choice and just hang out for a casual, kid-free evening.
Board Games that Don’t Break the Bank
Having a large board game collection sounds fun, but games can be expensive. Local blogger and business owner Amy Lynn likes to shop at thrift stores for board games. She shares that you can find great games, still in good condition, for a fraction of the price of buying new. Also, check your local public library for games that can be borrowed. This is a great way to try out a game to determine if it’s something that your family would enjoy before purchasing it.
Family game night is an engaging way to gather the whole gang to spend time together and let off a little steam. Since last year was spent largely trying to avoid gathering with others, now feels like a great time to organize a good, old-fashioned game night. So, order some pizza, turn off the tv, collect everyone’s phones and make an evening out of getting back to the basics with those that you love the most.