Between school, work, after-school activities and homework, it can be tough for a family to find quality time to spend together. Even dinnertime often gets interrupted or shortened with phone calls and mad dashes to scheduled activities. Planning an ultimate game night gives your family a chance to reconnect, laugh together and grow closer.
- Establish ground rules. No one is allowed to grab their phones, tablets or other distracting electronic devices during family game night, unless they are being used as part of a game. Once you have committed to a date that will work for everyone, keep firm and let everyone in the family know game night is mandatory. The event will not be canceled, no matter what cool concert, sleepover or TV show is going on.
- Pick games the whole family can play. If you’ve got a six-year-old and a 16-year-old, wordy board games aren’t going to cut it. You have to find or come up with games that everyone can play. For example, everyone could participate in picture drawing guessing games, as well as charade-style games. If you choose a card game, it should be a simple one that young children can understand, such as crazy eights, war and old maid.
- Pair up younger children with older family members. For any games you play in pairs, putting younger kids with older kids or parents helps even out the playing field. It can also help siblings that are far apart in age form a closer bond as they work together.
- Include silly competition games, such as building a tower out of crayons, gift wrapping a teammate or passing a ball from chin to chin. These are guaranteed to have the whole family cracking up, no matter who’s winning. Get creative and come up with the wackiest competitions you can think of, provided they are safe for everyone. Take game night outside when it’s warm so you can set up larger obstacle courses or games that might get messy.
- Set up a snack table close to the action. That way, the fun doesn’t have to stop when people start getting hungry. Keep the snacks simple and finger friendly, for example, pretzels, popcorn, grapes, orange slices and cut veggies with dip. If you want to serve something more substantial, prepare mini pizzas and chicken wings ahead of time.
- Consider inviting another family over for some friendly competition. Have each family form a team. You can play trivia games or run team relays outdoors, for example. You could also have the adults play against the kids in some games.