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Family Togetherness: Game Night

Art by: Word Art World

A few months ago I attended a math workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to provide an arsenal of fun game oriented ideas to teach math. One of the speakers brought up an interesting point. He told us that board games inadvertently teach our children math. (I guess I probably already knew that but sometimes I need someone else to say it for it to really sink in.) With preschool aged children board games can encourage counting, learning patterns, shapes and colors. As they grow they learn to take turns, cause and effect, and logic.

While it is wonderful that games offer an avenue to learn from, families can also benefit from the time spent together. Last year before we moved I sang with a woman’s choral ensamble. One evening I was surprised to learn that the director, whose children no longer live at home, was eager to make it home in time for game night with the family.

Game nights can be anything from sports to board games. Some nights game night is playing hide-and-seek. Our kids love “monster coming”. My son’s friend plays Dominoes when her extended family gets together. I have fond memories watching my mom play 10 pennies with her family. A friend from college always played cards with his family. We started game nights with the kids when they were young. It did not always go smooth. Sometimes we changed the rules around to fit their understanding.

Games nights teaches us to work together. If a team member draws poorly we can teach our kids that we do not criticize. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses. When we play games with our children we can mirror how we expect them to treat others. If we lose we do not shout and get angry. We can show respect for the other players and exhibit patience. The kids learn to take turns and the responsibility to be honest. As a family we can talk and listen and laugh together. The act of communicating while having fun is the fabric that strengthens family ties.

Here are some of our favorite games. What are your favorite board games?

  • Dominoes
  • War
  • Matching
  • UNO
  • Blokus
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Go Fish
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Scrabble
  • Operation
  • Allowance
  • Clue
  • Life
  • Monopoly
  • Racko
  • Cards: Old Maid, Go Fish, Spoons,
  • Mario Wii
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Soccer