Not only will you be building some family identity (our family plays games together) and making some memories together (remember when …), but you’ll be having lots of FUN together, too. Read on to find out 4 big reasons why game playing really is time well-spent with your kids.
- Intellectual Skills
- See different sides of your kids
- Opportunity to practice sportsmanship
- Give them the opportunity to BEAT YOU
(i.e. You get to model GOOD sportsmanship!)
Perhaps the most obvious are the intellectual benefits. Reason, logic, strategy, spatial reasoning, reading- all depending on which game you’re playing- are direct benefits. If you are playing Blokus you are giving your left brain some good exercise as you manipulate those pieces and strategize how you can block your neighbors. If you are playing In a Pickle or Apples to Apples, you are thinking outside the box, stretching the vocabulary, and perhaps trying out some humor. If you are a homeschooling family, try substituting a Scrabble-like game for spelling on Friday- and have kids USE THE DICTIONARY to assist them in choosing (and correctly spelling) words.
See different sides of your kids
While playing a quick game of Apples to Apples Junior yesterday, our 5 year old was SO PASSIONATE about each win he got, and it DELIGHTED me to see him have that opportunity that is hardest for the youngest of 4 to come by. You’ll see your children stretching and achieving in ways they may not do under normal circumstances. If you are playing a team game, you may see some camaraderie and team work develop that you couldn’t get by just asking for it. Until I saw Josiah playing and beating adults at Chess when he was only 5 and 6 years old, I wouldn’t have believed it possible! Game playing also helps reveal facets of their personality that might otherwise go unnoticed. Is your child really bothered by not winning? Is he or she particularly interested in seeing everyone have fun? Has her sense of humor developed to includes puns or plays on words? Or is he particularly good at analyzing and strategizing and you hadn’t see that side of him before?
Perhaps the most important reason to play games as a family is to help your kids in developing their character. Playing games as a family will give you the opportunity to encourage your children to cheer for each other, even when they are disappointed themselves. It will give them the opportunity to practice exercising self-discipline over their emotions when they are discouraged and frustrated. It will provide the laboratory to try out and develop different skill sets as well as practicing etiquette and social skills.
Opportunity to Beat YOU!
Though this may not seem like a biggie, it IS! Kids, especially boys, work for the opportunity to prove themselves worthy. Rightfully beating mom or dad is a serious self-esteem booster! I am not suggesting that you just let them beat you. However, there are games such as Apples to Apples, Uno, etc. where there is more chance and less skill involved in the determining the final outcome. When they win these games, like my 5 year old winning Apples to Apples Junior yesterday, it helps convey the message that they CAN do some things just as well as mom and dad. It is a genuine self-esteem booster and if the family all rejoices WITH that child, then we’ve ALL won. : )
Some of our family favorites:
In a Pickle
Apples to Apples Junior
Mexican Train (Dominoes)
With all these benefits to game playing, the fun you have becomes the icing on the cake. So, after the dinner dishes are cleared, before you rush them off to finish schoolwork and get ready for bed, grab a game, make some memories, and watch them grow and develop right before your very eyes.