Family Game Night: Lasting Memories and Forever Skills
All parents want their kids to be socially well-rounded and adept at communicating with others their own age as well as able to interact comfortably with adults. Personal connections are so important to make at an early age. Relationships strengthen and help hone skills that continue to develop and be used throughout life. Those connections enable kids to ask for help when they do not understand a concept in school, join conversations at extended family holiday parties, and meet new friends as they join clubs, make teams, and change schools. So how can we teach face-to-face interactions? How do we counteract all the digital interfacing? And how do we provide kids with opportunities to practice personal connections in a safe or comfortable environment? The answer is simple – Family Game Night!
There are so many benefits to Family Game Night, Including:
- It is a time set aside to strengthen relationships and bond as a family.
- It is a time to unwind, de-stress, and simply enjoy one another.
- It is an inexpensive option for entertainment.
- It is a learning opportunity to instill good sportsmanship, following directions, and taking turns.
But beyond that, Family Game Night instills a sense of belonging – a realization that each of you is worthy of undivided attention. Simply set aside time, turn off digital devices, and play together. Those regular rounds of cards or board games or outdoor games, that create a competitive evening of fun, can and do lead to memories that will last a lifetime, and skills that will be used throughout life. A few things you can do to make sure Family Game Night happens:
- Schedule it. Commit to it. Be protective of it – do not allow other activities to encroach on that precious time.
- Eliminate distractions. Swap screen time for face time: no TV, no texting, no phones.
- Keep it FUN. Take turns picking the game, the teams, the snacks. Keep it new by swapping games with your friends, so each month you have a new game to play, and so do they!
- Make sure everyone participates. This is important. Always pick games that everyone can access, play, and enjoy. Games with different levels of challenge are great for both young and old, where everyone is truly engaged and having fun. Games that require no reading help children who are not yet reading, who have difficulty reading, grandparents whose eyesight is poor, and even foreign exchange students you may have staying with you!
Here are some helpful hints to make Family Game Night successful if you have children in your family with special needs:
- For children who have trouble staying attentive for the full game, fold the game board in half so the duration from start to finish takes half as long. This way they can be successful in playing a board game and feel that sense of accomplishment for finishing a game. Another option is to play under a direct light – like the pendant light over your kitchen island or a gooseneck desk lamp. Turn off all other lights so you have a “flashlight focus” feel.
- For children who have physical limitations, a card holder for cards can help – even make one by cutting a groove in a piece of 2x4. A dice dome or dice thrower can help if the difficulty lies in grasp and release. Use tall game pieces so they are easier to pick up and move. Place the game board on a lazy Susan to make it easier to see and reach on your turn.
- For children who may have intellectual delays, alter the directions. For memory matching games, lessen the number of cards used. Play until everyone gets rid of their cards rather than “first one wins.” If rules call for you to get rid of cards, flip the rules so you have to collect the most. Set a goal to reach a total of 10 points, rather than 100, or place the cards face up, rather than face down. Read the directions and alter them however it makes sense for your family.
Have a great time, share a few laughs, and enjoy one another. As more Family Game Nights pass, you will see how your family interacts more. Watch how your kids help younger siblings, test older siblings, and become comfortable calling an adult’s bluff in a game of cards. Watch as these immediate connections take place within your family and later outside of it. Best of all, watch your children develop the assertiveness and confidence to be socially well-rounded. Play with them as you delight in seeing them grow into responsible, mature, independent individuals.
At Learning Resources, we know the time spent with your children is special. That is why we put so much time and effort into making games that are engaging and encourage interaction, boost learning, and feature multiple play options and challenge levels. We want to do our part to help you seize those precious moments and make the time with your children fun and memorable.
About Learning Resources
By unleashing their imaginations, children learn problem solving and practice real-life skills, helping them grow up to be creative thinkers. At Learning Resources® our mission is to provide high-quality and innovative products that provide fun and engaging learning opportunities for children as they explore, discover their world and develop their creative side. Our award-winning educational toys, learning toys, discovery toys, and teaching tools are designed by educators and have been beloved by teachers, parents and children for over 30 years.
Give the little learners in your life more than a toy. Learning Resources toys are designed to foster the development of key skills for children of all ages. Our extensive selection of learning toys & games is perfect for promoting hand-eye coordination, early numeracy skills, letter recognition, critical thinking and imaginative play.
Learning Resources is an international company headquartered in Vernon Hills, IL.