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The Family that Plays (Games) Together, Stays Together

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Games
Depending on how old your children are, youre either going to get a response of Yippee or one of That is so stupid, I dont want to play when you announce the inception of game night in your house. Make it non-optional, but make it fun! It will be worthwhile and will create a bond you would have never imagined.

Plan aside one night a week where everyone will be home. If you dont have one night where everyone will be there, you have a bigger issue and you need to juggle some things around so you have at the very least one night where the entire family is home.

Providing Mom or Dads back and knees can handle it, set up a blanket on the floor. This needs to be fun, not something the kids dread. Set up themes to play a game. Perhaps choose a Hawaiian theme. Have pineapples and things like that, everyone wears leis. Hey, even Sponge Bob lives in a pineapple under the sea!

Ok, so back to the theme. Each person needs to bring to the blanket an idea about the theme. For example, each person could talk about what they know or ask any questions they may have about Hawaii. (Or Sponge Bob trivia!)

The game itself doesnt necessarily have to relate to the theme; just the atmosphere and conversation. You could be playing Yatzee, Life, Clue, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Dont Spill the Beans, Uno, Texas Hold Em, it doesnt matter which game youre playing. You could incorporate your theme into various intervals throughout the game. Every time someone lands on a yellow 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, its your turn to do the Hula!

At the end of each game night, talk about next weeks theme. Family members can take turns choosing the theme and the accompanying snacks and décor. If its 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 7th grader made opt for an art theme and paint or draw the decorations.

This doesnt have to be an expensive night at all. 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 youre getting second hand games or even the dollar store. Make it fun. Your children wont 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.