Thursday, June 9, 2011

Have You Heard? Families That Play Together Stay Together

Take a chance! When you tell the family that it's games night at your home, the kids might think you've come unhinged, but make it non-optional and make sure you make it fun! Take it from me, I've done it and it works. Everyone joins in either as a player or a spectator when we played games on XBox. The house is filled with laughter and cheering and it's nice to see everyone having a good time. Playing games is ageless and there is virtually no generation gap.

Plan for one night a week where everyone will be home. If you don't have one night where everyone will be there, you need to juggle things around so you have at the very least one night where the entire family is home.

Then there's board games to consider. You could play everything from Monopoly to Snakes and Ladders depending upon the ages of the children. You could set up themes to play a game for example a Hawaiian theme. Have pineapples and things like that, everyone wears leis. Each person could talk about what they know or as questions about Hawaii. Use your imagination. You know what your family likes.

The game itself doesn't have to relate to the theme; just the atmosphere and conversation. You could be playing Yatzee, Life, Clue, Sorry, Snakes and Ladders, Don't Spill the Beans or Uno. It doesn't matter which game you're playing. You could incorporate your theme into various intervals throughout the game. Each time someone lands on a red square everyone must take a bite of pineapple. Spin a ten and all must eat a macadamia nut! If you select the Go to Jail card, it's your turn to do the Hula dance. Get the idea?

At the end of each game night, discuss next week's theme. Family members can take turns choosing the theme and the accompanying snacks and d├ęcor. If it's too much for one person to coordinate or if children are younger, these tasks can be delegated. Your three year old can decide she wants a clown theme complete with balloons and everyone will wear clown make-up. Your 6th grader made opt for an art theme and paint or draw the decorations.

If you want to keep it simple without the extras, that's okay too. You're sure to be a hit with games and their favorite snacks. Everyone will want to come back again and again.

This should be an inexpensive night. You can pick up new games at thrift stores and garage sales for $1.00. Most decorations you may already have around the house or can be picked up at the same places you're getting second hand games or even the dollar store.

Make it fun. Your children won't remember and thank you for all the hours you put in a work, but they will always cherish the family time together. The family that plays together stays together. Have fun!

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