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Family Game Night!

2014-12-08 by Cindy Utzinger
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These family game night ideas for Thanksgiving and year round are shared by our guest blogger Cindy Utzinger, pediatric Occupational Therapist.

Family Game Night *Learn about starting a family game night tradition and building family memories at Thanksgiving, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

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.

Family Game Night *Learn about starting a family game night tradition and building family memories at Thanksgiving, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

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).

Family Game Night *Learn about starting a family game night tradition and building family memories at Thanksgiving, on the Melissa & Doug Blog.

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.


Cindy Utzinger

Cindy Utzinger is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, handwriting tutor, and founder of Building Write Foundations LLC. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children (a son and a daughter). In her free time she can be found running through the streets of her neighborhood to get some exercise or enjoying time on the lake with family and friends. Through her website (www.cindyutzinger.com) she provides parents, teachers, and caregivers with information regarding the importance of building each and every child’s sensory foundation and provides ways to help build their sensory foundation and their foundation for learning. Through her website she also blogs and tackles issues dealing with handwriting problems, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and diagnoses on the autism spectrum. You can follow Cindy on Facebook, Twitter and her blog!

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