It seems that the conversation that I have been having with my mom friends regarding our time in quarantine is the same. We all feel that the slower pace has ushered in a much-needed break for our busy families. And while all of this togetherness can be beneficial for everyone, parents are wondering how to take advantage of the time we spend together as a family. One way to do this is to become childlike ourselves and cultivate an attitude of play.
Remember the feelings you felt when your parents played games with you? For me, it wasn’t so much about the game we were playing, but the simple fact that the whole family was participating and having fun together. Creating those memories with your children can create lasting lifetime memories.
Not only is playing with your child a good way to bond and connect, but family-style playtime also has so many positive psychological and developmental benefits such as social skills and regulation training, self-esteem building, and physical and mental stress relief, to name a few. The big question is often: What should we play so that everyone can participate?
The Best Family-Friendly Games
Here are some games that the whole family can enjoy, both young and old.
Let’s face it. There are games that children need to be introduced to simply because it is a rite of parenting passage. There are so many classic games that have been played together and passed on from generation to generation. Here is a list of games that are necessities for your household.
- Chutes and Ladders
- Hi Ho Cherry Oh
- Connect Four
- Guess Who
Take it Outside
There are many benefits to playing outside together, which often require very little preparation. The benefits of enjoying the outdoors with games is a great way to bring the family together while taking advantage of long summer days.
- Play Ball – Whether it’s a game of baseball, soccer, basketball, or dodgeball, it’s easy to get outside with children of any age to enjoy a simple family favorite.
- Water Balloons – Children love to splash and play with water. And what child doesn’t love to throw water balloons at their parents. This is a fun game, sure to include lots of laughs! (Read here for the 10 best toys for outdoor play ages 1 – 8)
- Hide-And-Go-Seek/Tag – Ever notice how children easily strike up a game of tag? This is a great way to introduce skills such as counting, strategy, and physical exercise is an added bonus.
In my family, all generations love to get together for a good card game. Card games are an easy way to get everyone around the table. There is a multitude of games to play, depending on the age group of your children. There is great fun to be had with a simple deck of playing cards even for children under age 5, such as Go Fish, War, Rummy, Pig, Snap, and Crazy Eights. These are easy games that begin to introduce children to a deck of cards. Other card games that are fun include Uno, Old Maid, Memory Games, and Skip Bo.
Games that Help Develop Visual and Fine Motor skills
As mentioned above, playing games helps to build skills in children. One of those is the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are achieved when smaller muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists are used and exercised. Some great family games really help to enforce fine motor skill development:
- Hungry, Hungry Hippos
- Ants in the Pants
- Legos and Block Building
The Non-Board Games
In keeping with the sentiment that children just want to spend time with their parents, your family game night does not have to include one of these popular board games. There is a ton of family fun that can be had simply by being creative. Here are some of the popular games that don’t require gadgets and stuff!
- Family Talent Show – One of the best ways to build self-esteem is to help your child figure out what they are good at. One way to do this and have a little fun is to have a family talent show where each family member has a turn showcasing their unique talents and gifts. Loads of fun!
- Family Dance Party – Do you know why everyone is going crazy for Tik Tok? Because people love to sing and dance. What better way to have fun as a family but to crank up the music and dance together. I have solved many bouts of boredom with my children by turning on “The Cha Cha Slide” and dancing like a maniac!
- Would You Rather – This is a game that young school-aged children like to play. It is always interesting to pay attention to the things that children think are crazy wild. As your child grows and matures, this game can get quite entertaining.
Your children just want to be with you! Playing games as a family has so many positive benefits. What parents should really understand is that it truly comes down to quality over quantity. Even playing for 15-30 minutes per day with your son or daughter can create so many memories. As we have come to appreciate more and more the value of spending time together, incorporating a family game night is surely one way to stay connected and grow your family ties.
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