Planning for Play: Ideas and Insights on Family Game Night

family games

Families that play together stay together.  Family vacations are great times to bond but are likely to be few in number due to related expenses.  However, a game night is an inexpensive way to stay together and strengthen bonds between members.  Here are a few suggestions to ensure moms and dads can make the most of time spent with the family and keep the peace between members.

Settle Differences

Throughout the week, family members can get into squabbles related to who gets to watch what on the television, sharing the bathroom, sitting in the front passenger seat on long rides, etc.  Regardless of the reason for the difference, it’s best to settle it before family game night takes place.  That way, there is no harbored feelings that can get in the way of family time.

Assigned Preference

Despite sharing the same home and bloodline, family members can be drastically different when it comes to personalities and preferences.  To ensure that different ideas and choices are not a topic of conversation, take turns in assigning a ‘leader’ each game night.  The leader gets to decide what games to play and for how long.  Otherwise, five different family members may want to play an array of games.

Bring Food

Particular activities make it more likely that people will stay in a good mood.  All people enjoy eating, so cook or order food to complement the game playing.  Whether you’re ordering pizza, baking lasagna, or assigning one family member to be in charge of getting Chinese takeout to bring back for everyone, bring food into the equation.

Go Out

Family game night does not have to take place in the home.  Perhaps there is a nearby cafe or library where the family can gather and engage in family card games.   A change of scenery is good and provides opportunity to get other friends involved in the fun as well.  Consider pairing card games with another activity such as bowling or seeing a movie.

Varied Games

Be sure to account for the age, interests, and strengths of members.  For example, some members may be great at drawing, so a game like Pictionary will favor their abilities, yet members who are not born artists may struggle.  Alternatively, games like Scrabble are favored by those who are great with words and spelling.  Vary the games so game night remains challenging and interesting to all family members.  Check your local library to see if you can borrow games for a short time.  That way you won’t have to invest the money, which would be a waste if members did not enjoy playing it.

Insert Lessons

Playing games involves winning, losing, collaboration, and creativity. It’s a perfect time for parents and guardians to insert life lessons.  For example, no one likes a ‘sore winner,’ a person who is overly celebratory and makes others feel ‘less than’ for losing.  If a family member begins to gloat about a victory, rather than correct them directly, parents can relate a story about a sore winner they knew growing up or use a fairytale to teach family members proper ethics and behavior.

Dominic Hicks looks forward to family games night each Friday, it’s a great way to wind down, look forward to the weekend and bond with the family after a busy week. Dom writes about family life in his articles.