Fewer group activities bring the family closer together than a Family Game Night. Relaxed and casual with the only requirement being a desire for fun, Family Game Night can offer a wonderful opportunity to take a break from school and work and just enjoy having fun together. While the specific game that is chosen is not nearly as important as the positive attitude and spirit in which it is played, selected games should appeal to all the members of the family. Ideally, a bit of exercise should be a part of the game as well. Here are some suggestions to consider when planning your next night in with your family.
Throw Some Darts. Darts is a fun game that appeals to all ages. A traditional dart board can be purchased for around forty dollars. While children can certainly be taught how to properly handle the darts to avoid any injuries, boards that work with magnets are also available which will completely eliminate the possibility of any injuries. Divide the family up into teams and compete to see who can gain the most points in a certain number of rounds, or who can successfully work their way around the dart board hitting closing out each numbered area. Finish off the evening with ice cream sodas to reward the players for their effort and determination. We have a dart board set up in our front room and often have impromptu dart games. My youngest child loves to play the game when she has friends over and show off her acquired dart throwing skills.
Get Everyone Moving with a Scavenger Hunt Game. Spend some time before your Game Night making up fun and witty clues written on scraps of paper. Hide the clues in a sequential fashion, with each one leading to the next. The grand finale of the game will be finding the grand prize. The prize can be a plastic or cardboard treasure chest filled with small toys and items such as hair accessories, fun school supplies or silver coins to be shared among the participants. The older children can be engaged in this activity by pairing them up with a younger partner to successfully find all the clues. An upcoming holiday can be used as the theme for the scavenger hunt. For many years I planned an Easter themed scavenger hunt for my kids that we enjoyed on the weekend before the holiday. All the clues pertained to Easter and culminated in a basket of goodies that we all indulged in when the game was complete. The end of your hunt can result in a find of a wicker basket filled with homemade treats such as cookies, brownies or cupcakes that can be enjoyed together at the kitchen table.
Match Wits with a Game of Gin Rummy. Even kids who are just into their double digits can be taught to play this classic card game. Gather at the dining room table in cozy pajamas to play a few rounds of Rummy together. Not only is this card game lots of fun, it also teaches kids about strategy and the importance of paying attention to other players’ moves during games. Both my daughters love this card game and really impressed me with how quickly they picked it up and how often they now beat both their parents. Serve hot chocolate and and slices of warm cake right from the oven as a special treat.
Test Your Memory with Name That Tune. Gather whatever instruments you have in the house as well as items that can stand in for instruments in a pinch. Take turns humming or tapping out melodies of popular songs that have varying degrees of difficulty. Play this game one on on or divide into teams. If playing in teams, be sure to rotate members frequently so that no one team has an unfair advantage over another. Set up a point system which awards a range of points according to how quickly the player or team guesses the song. Munch on healthy snacks during the game such as vegetables or bowls of fruit salad to sneak in a little extra nutrition for the week.
Let Everyone Use their Creativity with an Open Ended Story Game. Spend an hour or so before your planned Game Night writing down the beginning sentences of several stories. Use classic fairy tales, vacation themed stories and spooky ghost stories. Be sure to have at least ten story beginnings to put in a hat. Let each family member take a turn choosing a slip of paper to start their story. That person gets to add one line to the story and then the next person adds their line. Let each story go at least two rounds before moving on to the next person. This is a great game to play as it encourages everyone to use their imagination to keep the story moving. The story may start out scary and end up very silly or the opposite. My girls absolutely love this game and I love to play it with them. It gives me a great insight into what is on their minds as well as allows me to see just how thoughtful and creative they can be. Lay out a nice selection of muffins, mini eclairs and slices of banana or pumpkin bread to enjoy while playing the word game. Hot cider or warmed milk is a great beverage choice during the winter months and lemonade or fruit smoothies are nice choices for the summer.
A regular Family Game Night can go a long way towards keeping the family close and connected and greatly reduce the stress that is a natural part of life. Long after your kids grow up and leave home, they will remember these family activities fondly, as will you.