The one thing about Facebook that kind of stinks, is that you see what wonderful things other friends are doing with their lives, with their families, with their kids, and you kind of feel … jealous? Less than what you could be as a parent? Defeated ?
Take my sister-in-law for example. She grew up playing games with her parents, and has instituted these fun family game nights with my brother-in-law and their kids. Rounds of Monopoly (they own 20-something versions), or any other board game in their Game Closet (it’s a thing, capitalization is my own), have snacks and a roarin’ good time.
But when I’ve tried it with our family, it’s just a disaster. Someone ends up crying, there’s shouting, the dog’s barking, the kids want a snack every five seconds, and we vow never to do it again.
Then I see those dang photos on Facebook of another fun game night someone else’s family had.
But then, I had an idea.
I’ll ask the grandparents to get tangled up onto our craziness.
Yes, that’s it! The kids always behave better when Nana and Grandpa come over. It’s brilliant!
And you know what? It was brilliant.
We had a memorable, fun night with laughter, and … what was that I saw on my kids’ faces? SMILES. Holy cow, my kids enjoyed themselves and each other.
There was no magic formula, but these 5 tips for a fun family game night just might spark a smile out of your kids, too.
5 Tips for a Fun Family Game Night
1. New games – We have a boatload of games, from gifts received, or from buying one on a whim thinking that would make for a magical evening. But for this game night I opted to buy three new games, just to add some excitement for the kids. Not knowing how to choose among thousands of family board games (and it’s been way too rainy to play outside), I turned to my Facebook friends. I had an overwhelming 54 responses! Using Amazon’s free same-day delivery we bought Rummikub, Blokus and Rory’s Story Cubes.
2. Friendly competition – My daughter Mallory made a simple scoreboard, lining up everyone’s names and the three games we played. We placed gold foil star stickers for everyone that participated, and two if you won a round.
3. Inviting others – I’m thankful my parents were in town and had no plans, because adding them to our fun allowed us to spend quality time together, tell stories and enjoy laughter. I worry sometimes they think the only reason I call is to ask them to watch their grandkids so we can have a date night; so it’s important for me to share more of our everyday life – even a Friday night, family game night. And that’s truly priceless.
4. Snacks – You would think my kids are malnourished, the way they hoard snacks. Oh, we feed them, we truly do. But maybe the forbidden fruit in their world is potato chips & dip, because sometimes on nights like this, it’s ok to let them have a little junk, and a little caffeinated soda. I mean, I did have carrots and grapes to balance, so that’s good, right? For a dessert after the games were over, my mom scooped vanilla ice cream into waffle-cone bowls, and fresh strawberries on top. Simple, easy and delish.
5. Cool gear – If you want to go all out for your next family game night or any family, team or group get-together, design a team logo and have it printed on cool gear! CustomInk has the simplest online Design Lab, that allowed me to make this Rock & Rohe t-shirt design in literally under five minutes. Once my design was created, I browsed through the brands, styles and colors of t-shirts available and settled on a Hanes tagless. It was seriously that simple.
T-Shirts & Genes: Family Reunion Contest
CustomInk believes that t-shirts and other custom products have the power to bring people together and strengthen their sense of community. To further that goal, they’re hosting a “T-Shirts & Genes” Family Reunion Contest going on now through June 25th.
- Submit a family photo (you + at least 3 others) with a photo caption telling how you would use $1,500 to help unite your family!
- Visit CustomInk’s Facebook page to submit your entry.
Contest is open to U.S. residents over the age of 18. Contest ends June 25, 2015. Winners will be announced July 6, 2015.
The moral of the story? After having this first positive experience of a family game night with the kids & grandparents, we vow to have more!
So tell me, what do family game nights look like in your house?