One of my absolute favorite things to do with my family is play board games. Im not sure when or how I was introduced to board games, but I love them. There is something so exciting about sitting around with my kids and introducing them to a game that they want to come back to over and over again. I love hearing, “awww…just one more game daddy?”
I know I’ve got them hooked.
My wife and I have more board games than we can count. I’m not sure how this became the go to gift for us, but it has. Every birthday or Christmas someone gets us a new one. We don’t mind it, but storage is not as readily available for these rectangular friends as it used to be. We still figure out a spot for them and keep on playing.
We first introduced our oldest, Claire, to board games at the age of two. Having her mommas brain allowed the kiddo to pick up rules pretty quickly. We have a Disney version of Shoots and Ladders that she got the hang off right away. As the years have gone by we have evolved to more complicated games that require strategy. Some of these games are pretty complex (for example, Settlers of Catan) however it all depends on your kid. We know Claire can handle complexity so we introduce her to more complex games. Cecilia is not quite there but she picks up on the excitement in the air and “plays” with mommy or I.
Playing board games have many advantages. Here are my top five reasons why you should play board games with your family.
1.) Strategy: Board games require you to use your brain. Strategy is something that even the most basic of games require and this can only occur by thinking. I love seeing my daughters rethink their strategy because the plan they thought was going to work is now not a possibility. This fires up those synapses and the the brain tries to figure out a new solution. Your kids learn via board games to think in a way that most classroom activities cannot teach.
2.) Winning and Losing: Personally I think we are living in a candy-ass culture that is absolutely out of touch with reality—especially when it comes to what is “fair”. Young people and grown adults pout over not getting “what they deserve”. Board games have clear winners and losers. This is very important. I love seeing my daughters confidence grow when she wins. I also love it when she loses. I love it because it gives my daughter the opportunity to grow in virtue, temperance and just being a good person all around. Letting our children learn from their loses is one of the best things we can help them with. Board games create a simple environment that can teach winning an losing. I think this is really important. If your kid doesn’t win a race or soccer game there are some real emotions attached to that. Personally, I believe that playing board games preps our children in an objective way that helps them to deal with their emotions and ultimately come to grips with the reality that sometimes you win some, and sometimes you don’t.
3.) Being patient: Daddy really struggles with this one. I have a very strategic mind which means I calculate moves two to three steps ahead. My wife takes forever, which leads me to say unhelpful things such as: “are you still playing?” “Do you need an assist?” “Hey, we want to put the kids down to bed before midnight”. My daughter Claire will usually respond with, “Daddy, be patient.” Claire has some of her daddy’s genes because she gets very excited especially when she sees that the next move could bring about a win. She will often times go out of turn and celebrate victory a little too soon. We have to remind her that it wasn’t her turn and this frustrates her. Daddy usually responds with, “Claire, be patient.”
4.) Quality Time: I know there are lots of ways of creating amazing moments for quality time. For us playing board games is one of those ways. When ever we finish playing a game there is this sense of bonding that has occurred. We immediately begin talking about that awesome move someone made, or how close so and so was to winning. There is a real satisfaction that comes about from playing board games. It is palpable and you know it has filled up your family’s quality time tank.
5.) It is fun: Yup, this is probably the top reason why you should play board games. They are just plain ole fun!
To close out this post I wanted to share some of our families favorite games. We definitely have some individual and family favorites. These are a lll games we play with as a family. Claire is now 6 and can handle all of these. As mentioned before, Cecilia (2 years old) “plays with mommy and daddy”. Cecilia doesn’t quite have the capacity that her older sister had at two years old. It is what it is, but Cecilia can spin things, roll the dice and move pieces.
Here’s a list of our favorite games to play as a family: