Tips for Hosting Family Game Night
Growing up, board games and family game night were traditions in our home. We spent many nights gathered around the kitchen table playing our favorite games, laughing together and making memories. Some of my best memories from my teenage years are with my brother and our closest friends playing board games until the middle of the night. Now that I have a family of my own, I’ve made sure that my children have the same appreciation for these games, and we’ve made family game night a tradition as well. Family game night gives us a chance to connect with each other and make new memories. These tips for hosting family game night make it something everyone can enjoy.
Tips for Hosting Family Game Night
Paper is essential to us as we draw on it or craft with it but it also makes up so many of the games we love to play. Paper is critical in so many ways to my family. In 2015, the Paper and Packaging Board launched Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds ™ campaign, and I’ve partnered with them to help bring paper’s endless benefits to life.
Schedule a Time
Life gets busy and like anything important, scheduling family time is necessary. Schedule a weekly or at least a semi-regular family game night. If you have younger children that go to bed early, game “night” doesn’t have to be at night. You can schedule a game afternoon. We find that when we try to play games too late with the kids they tend to get too silly or grumpy and things go downhill quickly. If we play early when everyone is happy and no one is over-tired things go much better. Regardless of what time of day we play, the important thing is that we make sure we schedule regular family game time. With the older kids we used to do this once a week. Now that they are more involved in sports and have more commitments at school it’s less often, but we still have a regularly scheduled family game night at least once a month. We even take our games on vacation with us!
Build a good game inventory. I have saved a lot of games from my childhood and picked up more games at secondhand stores and garage sales. I also buy my children games for their birthdays and other holidays. We have a selection of games that are good for all ages – games that can be played with just the little kids, games for playing with the big kids, and games that are fun if we have friends over and want to have a grown-up game night. If games aren’t age-appropriate or you don’t have a variety, family game night can get repetitive or younger children may feel left out. When someone loses interest it’s less fun for everyone. Remember that you can adjust rules and make your own variations to make the games you already own seem new again!
Some of our favorite games are the classics, like Yahtzee and Clue, that contain score sheets..
The kids and I love to doodle on our papers and we actually save all of our score sheets. We even have some Yahtzee papers from when my siblings and I were kids! I love to look at the old sheets and see the kids’ writing skills and artistic abilities evolve over the years. It makes me smile to see these memories on paper!
We use family game night as a time to reconnect with each other.. When we get out the games we turn off our phones or leave them in another room. We shut off the television and put away the tablets.. We turn on some music and just play games and enjoy each other. No emails to answer, no text messages to look at, no checking social media to see what everyone else is up to. We are enjoying each other’s company in a real way.
Family game night wouldn’t be complete without snacks. Serve something that is easy to snack on while playing that won’t make a mess of the game. Avoid greasy foods like pizza or overly buttery popcorn. Finger foods are great. Pick foods that you know everyone will love and that can be left out for the evening without spoiling. Make sure you have plates and napkins so you can snack as you play. Drinks are a must too!
Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. In our home, our motto is “the more, the merrier”. We love to have friends over when we host family game night. Sometimes the kids will have a game going in one room and the grownups will get a new game going in a different location. The house is filled with love and laughter and so many great memories are made.
Our children have learned that we can have a lot of fun and make meaningful memories staying in, hosting a game night. We all look forward to these cherished moments together. We look back on the times we’ve shared and laugh at the memories. When we taught our now 10-year-old to play Yahtzee, he was 5. He tried for a Yahtzee every roll. We started using the phrase “play like you’re 5” because we loved how in his little mind he believed every chance could be a Yahtzee. We still say it now. Family game night is so special to us and is a tradition I’m glad I had growing up. It’s one I hope my children pass on to their children.
What are your favorite family game night traditions?