This time of year, the days are cold, the nights are long, and the kids spend too much time indoors – playing video games, watching TV, or complaining they are bored. This is the perfect time to pull out a deck of cards or some board games and declare a Family Game Night. There are numerous benefits to playing games. Did you know that board games can actually benefit kids’ brains and language development?
Additionally, Alvin Rosenfeld says:
Just by virtue of playing them, board games can teach important social skills, such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns, and enjoying interaction with others. Board games can foster the ability to focus, and lengthen your child’s attention span by encouraging the completion of an exciting, enjoyable game. Even simple board games like Chutes and Ladders offer meta-messages and life skills: Your luck can change in an instant — for the better or for the worse. The message inherent in board games is: Never give up.
Just as important: it’s fun, and games are a great way build family memories. The summer I was 10, I spent several weeks with my grandparents at their home in Arizona and learned to play pinochle. More than learning a new game, the memories of the time spent sitting around their table, playing and chatting always make me smile. Wanting to share those memories and build some of our own, my mother and I tried to teach my children how to play; sadly they did not take to the game. That, however, was really our only game failure. When they were little, we would play Go Fish and Old Maid. Simple board games like Candy Land, Sorry!, and Trouble are all games I enjoyed as a child that I also happily shared with my children. As they grew, we enjoyed more difficult games like Clue and Yahtzee, and playing card games like Uno and Phase 10; we have spent many enjoyable afternoons or evenings laughing, creating memories, and making those sitting next to us “draw four.”
Now that they are grown, we’ve added games like Apples to Apples, Imagine If, and Loaded Questions to our game repertoire. My son-in-law, who did not grow up in a game-playing family, really enjoys visits to our home when we call everyone over for some fierce games of Uno or his favorite: Scattergories. Before too long, my grandson will be old enough to play games and I can bring out a deck of cards for Go Fish or dig Candy Land out of storage and begin building memories with the next generation.
So, the next time your kids complain they are bored, grab a game, have some fun, and build some family memories of your own. Do you need a refresher of the rules to Go Fish or another card game? Find them all in The Penguin Book of Card Games or Hoyle’s Modern Encyclopedia of Card Games .