Would you like your family to spend more time together as a family? Is inexpensive family entertainment something you've been looking for? Do you love the sound of your children's laughter and want to hear it more often?
Establishing a family game night is an inexpensive way for the whole family to spend precious time together. Families need this important time together more now then ever. It seems we're always on the go - working late, participating in after school sports, running to sports practices, running to swimming or piano lessons. We're so busy that the family often doesn't even eat dinner together any more. How are we supposed to connect with our kids and learn about what's happening in their lives if we're always dropping them off someplace or participating in extra activities ourselves?
To start a family game night tradition, choose one night out of the week and designate it as "family game night". Creating a family game night might mean cutting out extra activities from your family's schedule, but if a healthy, strong family relationship is your goal, you might need to make that decision for the good of your family.
Next, choose a game in which everyone can participate. If you don't have many games yet and don't want to pay hundreds of dollars to stock up, check out thrift stores and online auction sites for inexpensive deals.
You can also look online for rules to lots of family friendly card or dice games. A pack or two of playing cards or a handful of dice won't cost much at all.
If your children's ages span many years, make sure to play age appropriate games for the younger kids some nights. Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O are two timeless favorites that younger children can participate in and still be enjoyed by older kids. But when playing a game that isn't quite understood by younger children, consider teaming up a young child with an older child or parent so they can still participate where appropriate, even if it's just rolling the dice, moving the pieces, and picking up cards each turn.
Family game night will establish a routine and tradition in your family - two important factors that are lacking in today's rush-rush, hectic society. To make it even more fun and to create more participation from the kids, consider letting the kids decide upon dinner for the night, the game to be played, and even the snacks for the night. When they're more involved in the decision making process, they'll have even more fun and want to continue the tradition.
Game nights are also a good way to teach your children many important life skills and lessons. First, games can teach them counting, spelling, reading, cooperation, patience, and teamwork. It is also an opportunity to discuss important character traits with them like honesty, conflict resolution, strategy, compromise and how to be a graceful loser - or a graceful winner, even.
And another benefit to game night is it's far more inexpensive than a family night out at the movies. With the price of gas, movie tickets, and snacks for all added up, it's not hard to spend $50 on one movie night. Family game night can be enjoyed by all, including lots of laughter and good conversation, for next to nothing.
When you consider the lifelong benefits your family will gain from implementing a family game night, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Happy gaming!
Dave Roth runs SC Cornhole games, a website devoted to the game of Bean Bags. The site offers cornhole bags, sets, and directions for building your own tailgate style set.