If there’s one thing we love to do as a family, that is to play games. From Monopoly to Cluedo to Balderdash, Scrabble and many more of the old favourites, board games and others have formed part of our family legacy over the years and no more so than in recent years with teenagers in the house. Games Evenings have been a fundamental basic social event for as long as we can remember both as an evening that we have enjoyed within the confines of our own family to extended evenings with other families with hoards of other people joining in. And herein lies the secret of the success of board games and their place in family life.
When the children were younger they were a stalwart in teaching (albeit sublimely) a whole plethora of behaviours and social etiquette from satisfying the most competitive of personality to fulfilling the basic social needs that children have of simply wanting to spend time with their parents. With four children under five, they weren’t always the smoothest and easiest things to get to grips with, but games such as ludo, pairs, snakes and ladders all played an intrinsic part in everyday life.
Critically though, as the children grew up, they continued to be an innate part of our family life and still today, with children who are now 19, 18, 16 and 14, we can all sit down and play a good board game with tears of laughter and screams of delight echoing around the room. And still these old fashioned favourites continue to teach many things that otherwise are awkward and hard to impart to more mature adolescent minds who really don’t want to sit through hours of parental lectures.
For instance this Christmas, the family game was “Would I lie to you?” With three budding psychologists in the family, this was always set to be interesting trying to get to grips with some of the basic deviant behaviours displayed by those members of the family desperately trying to concoct fibs from their otherwise honest hearts. Likewise, last year’s Christmas game “Cluedo” gave rise to a whole new look at research and investigation in the competitive bid to track down the murderer as quickly as possible.
But critically, all the games, we play as a family, unknowingly, teach and challenge skill-sets and attitudes across the board (please excuse the pun). Additionally, they can add to the fun of a team spirit, they can increase communication skills, enhance interpersonal interactions and of course, encourage focus and determination in an arena that fosters good sportsmanship. For younger players (and older as well), different games can aid their manual dexterity, teach about sharing, taking turns, counting, shape recognition, hand-eye co-ordination, different perceptions, letters, numbers, etc etc. You name it, a game can give rise to a whole host of learning and critically in a fun and stimulating environment.
Additionally, board games have rules and boundaries and even for the oldest of us playing them, they can reinforce the need to understand how these pre-requisites can help us function in society.
So regardless of age, financial status, the weather or any other such potential obstacle that so often scuttle the plans, games provide the ideal platform or medium to bond with your children imparting lessons for life – some educational, some academic, some social – in a fun and entertaining way, and of course, without too much expense!
An all-round winner any day of the week!
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