These family game night ideas for Thanksgiving and year round are shared by our guest blogger Cindy Utzinger, pediatric Occupational Therapist.
Over the holidays while we had family in town, I was reminded of how much fun “family game night” can be. In fact, I asked my kids what their favorite thing about having their Mimi and Grandpa in town and they agreed that playing games with them topped their list.
Playing games together as a family is, of course, fun. What we probably don’t think about, though, is all of the other benefits of playing games with our kids. Playing games gives our kids an opportunity to work on developing many life skills such as:
- Social skills and showing respect- Games require interaction either with an opponent or a teammate. They require practice at taking turns, practice being a good winner, practice not being a sore loser, and offers opportunities to encourage others.
- Academic skills- Many games require math or reading skills, color or shape recognition, or memorization skills.
- Motor/Visual skills- Gross motor, fine motor, and visual motor skills are required for many games, as well as, visual memory, visual motor skills, and visual perceptual skills.
- Communications skills- One of the negatives to our kids playing with electronics is that it robs them of the opportunity to communicate with others. Family games are a great way to communicate with your kids and model good communication skills for them.
- Problem solving skills- Most games propose a problem and the players need to figure out how to solve it (and often form a strategy to do so).
I probably don’t need to mention how family game night can also lead to laughter and bonding (And, who doesn’t love that?). The great thing about games is that it doesn’t matter if you are fast or slow, short or tall, get good grades or get notes sent home from the teacher daily. Everyone is on a level playing field and can be successful. What a confidence booster!!
I will admit that in my profession I tend to over analyze things when it comes to my kids. For this reason, many of my favorite games are from Melissa & Doug because they really give my kids the opportunity to work on developing their skills. The great thing about this is that these games are my kids’ favorites too! Some of our favorites are:
Family game night is a tradition that your kids can look forward to as a time to spend with you having fun and get your undivided attention. Whether you make family game night a weekly tradition or monthly tradition, this can be a cheap and easy way to make great memories with your kids while working on important life skills.