Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Why Families Should Play Games

on August 18, 2013

 

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).

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  1.  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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 🙂
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

Jen 🙂

How does your family enjoy games? What are your favorites?


29 responses to “Why Families Should Play Games

  1. Delora says:

    I really loved your post! I am stopping by from moms the word link up. I have a toddler so we usually play with him by throwing base balls and running around outside. Do you have any other suggestions for those with toddlers?

    • Delora, I’m so glad you stopped by! I have a whole post planned out about our favorite games organized by age groups, etc. for Tuesday, but since you asked, I suppose I could give a sneak preview. 😉 The toddler years are not really board game friendly since they don’t like to sit for long. However, you can modify games to fit those needs for activity. For example, my kids loved the game Memory (a matching game). However, at the age of 2, the whole game is too much for them. I would choose out maybe 5 to 10 matching pairs to start with and just play with those. If he does well, you can always add more. Twister is a fun game for learning colors (even if they don’t know right hand or left foot, they can walk to or even jump on the color). Any game that involves matching, sorting, colors, or counting would be great for his age. Also, simple puzzles are fun for one on one time and you can use them for teaching, too, if you get ones that have shapes or colors, etc. When our oldest was 2, he knew what an octagon was, but only because it was in his favorite puzzle, haha. I hope that helps, and be sure to check back on Tuesday (possibly even Monday evening) for more!
      Jen 🙂

  2. We love board games too! I think they are great ways of bonding a family and you have listed a number of really important benefits. Such fun!

    Linked here from Mom’s the Word.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  3. I LOVE everything about this post! I have such wonderful memorizes of playing board games with my family and friends growing up. My husband and I have a whole closet full of games…unfortunately, they are not age appropriate. I think we need to invest in some toddler appropriate games… Elefun, anyone? 🙂 (Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!)

    Thank you so much for this post!

    • On Tuesday, I’ll be posting a list of our favorite games organized by age categories, so maybe you can find some ideas there! And I totally forgot about Elefun. 🙂 We had that game for a while until it quit working and the kids loved it! Thanks for stopping by.
      Jen 🙂

  4. Kirsten says:

    Games are my favorite way to play with my five-year-old (I’m not as good at pretending and playing with dolls as I used to be). We’ve gotten into the habit of playing Candyland every afternoon while my son is napping. I completely agree games are a great way to end some boredom and prevent too much TV time! Stopping by from the Mom’s the Word link up!

  5. Marie says:

    Our family loves games! It’s a great way to interact with your kids, teach them, and just have fun together as a family. I really like those where most ages can plan. Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, and Trivial Pursuit are some of our favorites. Stopping by from Mom’s the Word link up!

    • I agree, Marie! And two that you mentioned are on Our Big List of Favorite Games that I posted earlier today (our children aren’t really old enough to enjoy trivial pursuit yet). Settlers of Catan is our top favorite, though!! Thanks for stopping by.
      Jen 🙂

  6. carol says:

    I have been getting to know my son’s girlfriend as we play boggle and banana grams. I am glad that my son brings her home.
    Games are a family tradition for us.
    Visiting from Encourage One Another.

  7. Crystal Brothers says:

    We love games for many of the same reasons! Love to see other families playing games together 🙂 Makes me so happy.

  8. We love to play games as a family!

  9. adelien says:

    Our family rarely play game. Kids prefer playing in a computer. Your post is very encouraging to start playing board games rather than spending a lot of times with the computer. Thanks a lot..

    • Adelien, I think the key is to find a game that they can really get into. Sometimes it takes several tries to find one that works well for your family, but the effort is definitely worth it! Praying you find a way to interest your children in some family game time.
      Jen 🙂

  10. […] Why Families Should Play Games – Being Confident of This […]

  11. Renee says:

    that is a great list, thanks for sharing!

  12. […] Strong Willed children. 2. Wildflower Ramblings tells you to step away from the internet. 3. Confident in Grace thinks your family should play more […]

  13. Monica says:

    Jen,
    You totally rocked this topic! Thanks for inspiring me with some great ideas. 🙂 Featuring at Family Fun Friday. 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I’m excited for more mamas (and perhaps even some dads, too) to have the chance to read about family game night. It really is one of the things that allows for the most family bonding, at least at our house. Thanks for the feature!
      Jen : )

  14. […] :: Jen shared some great reasons in her post Why Families Should Play Games. […]

  15. Joanne says:

    My family loved playing games together when the kids were young and now that they all are grown and are starting families of their own, the favorite activity when we get together is board games. We’ve had many laughs and a few tears (mostly from laughing.) It is also a great way for inlaws to get to know each other and relax. So, parents of young kids, start family game nights and keep it going through the teen years. My kids admitted that even when they called it lame, they secretly liked our family game nights.

    • I agree with every word of your comment, Joanne! We still play board games when I get together with my parents and siblings, too! Nothing makes me happier than to see our thirteen-year-old (our first teen!) excited about playing board games with his family. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
      Jen 🙂

  16. […] family, but they are definitely our favorites!  I hope you find some ideas for new games to try out at your next family game night.  We’re always looking for new family oriented games to add to our collection, so let us […]

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