Having a regular, family board game night has so many benefits. Not only is it educational, but it's also fun and helps your family to bond in a special way.
A game night is about so much more than just the games. Of course, it can be a really fun (and cheap!) way to spend time together, but it has some really wonderful character-building and educational benefits as well.
Board games can make learning fun. You might be playing a fun game of Risk, but you're also learning the names of 42 countries (that's geography by the way). Having some Monopoly fun? The kids are also doing a bunch of math and learning to strategize. Uno is great for teaching colors and numbers to young kids. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. Almost any game you choose will be teaching some sort of thinking skill, and the best part is your kids probably won't even realize it.
Spending time together as a family is really important. Not only are you bonding and getting to know each other better, but you're also building a common identity. Memories give you things to laugh about and remember together. Playing board games is a great way to learn something new together and gives your kids fun, light ways to connect with you.
Having fun together is so important for family bonding, but taking everyone on an outing or out for a meal can end up being really pricey. There are loads of cheap ways to have fun together and a game night is one of them. Apart from being cheap, it's also really easy to pull together which is always a big win.
Family traditions are important for building your family identity. They help your kids feel like part of a family that has special ways of doing things. Making game night a regular and predictable event transforms it from a fun activity into a family tradition. You can decide how often you want to do it. Once a week? Once a month? Always on the last day of school? It's really up to you.
Being able to win and lose well are both important life skills. Boardgame nights give your children the chance to practice both skills in a safe, low-stakes environment. A fun way to keep it light is to ask them to show you what they'll do if they win and what they'll do if they lose. Get them to show you before you start the game. The kids find it hilarious to act out their responses and it helps them plan how they'll respond before they're actually faced with a real situation.
A family game night is a lot like baking cookies with kids. It sounds wonderful and homely and special, but the reality can often be a sticky mess and a big clean-up operation. Don't be put off though, this is an activity that has real benefits and the good news is it'll get easier the more you practice.
Choose simple games that don't take very long. You'd rather play a few quick card games than drag a bunch of unhappy children all the way through a Monopoly game. Go Fish, Uno, Twister, Spot It! and other child-specific-board games are what you're looking for.
If you're a board games geek, you're going to have to hold yourself back for a while still. Keep it quick and simple and lay a foundation for how much fun board games can be. Browse the kids' section of board games stores and find games that you think will appeal to your kids' specific personalities and interests.
For older kids, there are a lot more options. They can handle longer games and might enjoy some more complex gameplay. Traditional favorites like Monopoly and Cluedo are always great. If you're not super into board games, then you might not know that board games have really been taken up a notch since you were a kid. It's worth having a look at some of the newer ones like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and Sushi Go! Do yourself a favor and have a look at BBG (board game geek) to get an idea of just how many options there are to choose from.
How can I keep the costs down?
Playing board games is usually cheaper than going out, but board games can still get pricey. Some libraries will lend out board games, so your local library is a great first stop when you're planning a games night. Otherwise, swap games with friends and slowly build up your collection. If all else fails, a deck of cards is dirt-cheap and will provide endless hours of family fun.
Some board game stores let customers play their games at the store. They sometimes even have a special room dedicated to board game playing. It's not quite as relaxed as being at home, but it can be a fun and cheap time out. The best part is, you'll get to try out all those board games you've been eyeing before you actually buy them.
Snacks can help make the evening feel special and they don't need to be super expensive either. Choose a few of your family's favorites and bring them out throughout the evening to make things even more fun and cozy. Popcorn, nachos, pizza slices, cupcakes, brownies, hot chocolate, or smores are all quick and easy snacks. Just choose what fits your budget and makes your family's hearts sing.
Pro tip: have some wet wipes on hand to deal with sticky fingers and be prepared to endure a sugar rush if your family has a snacking-sweet-tooth!
Check your Save mailer and watch out for coupons and discounts on your favorite board games. Save is always adding new content to help you save and still live a life that is rich and full of joy, so check back regularly for more tips and ideas.