As a kid, I loved watching my dad and his brother play intense rounds of chess on a wooden set my dad purchased in Guadalajara. I’d sit in-between them at a bridge table with my glass of milk and a stack of Chips Ahoy!, marveling at their passion. My father was always a gamer; he taught me to play Monopoly, Clue, and our absolute favorite Boggle.
Game night encourages more than just parent-kid bonding; playing traditional board games also create cherished memories and reduces screen time.
Classics such as Yahtzee and Parcheesi, have been around for generations. In fact, according to The University of Waterloo, it’s rumored that Parcheesi was first created in India as early as The 16th century. So, games you enjoyed as a child, that your own kids play, your grandparents likely enjoyed as well. I loved the look of the 1970s edition of Monopoly my grandmother stored; it looked so different compared to my super-colorful, modern version of the game. (Like me, Gram loved the wheelbarrow playing piece, too!) When I gifted my mom with a 1960s version of Video Village, memories of her Brooklyn childhood were triggered, she said, and she felt 10 all over again.
They keep video games at bay
“Why am I learning about John Hancock? What’s the point? So boring…” Does this rant sound familiar? Well, youngsters, your schoolwork can and will apply in the real world, contrary to what you think. Want proof? Those “I know the answer!” moments in Trivial Pursuit for Juniors, for example, are priceless for kids when they proudly state a correct answer. I’m convinced Boggle and Hangman sharpened my grammar skills in the fourth grade. Additionally, board games help pass time in a more personal manner than a video game, and provide a stress relief for the whole family. My mom and I played travel-sized Simon (still a family fave!) when waiting in an airport or a medical office. It provided a mentally-challenging distraction and got our noggins rolling. Plus, everyone around us would want to play, too. New friends! I enjoy some cell phone apps that have game play, but there’s something comforting about classic, old-school games.
They teach life lessons
One of my favorite quotes is: “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” Meaning: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Games can teach children that simple life lesson, especially if they’re competitive. New York-based therapist Jeannette Sinibaldi, LCSW, uses Chutes and Ladders in her sessions with kids. “Children take losing very personally, and in playing games, they learn that winning varies,” she says. By reminding children that “you win, you lose” the aim, says Sinibaldi, is to separate self-esteem from winning, and to emphasize enjoyment of playing. Game night also encourage laughter—always a mood-booster!— and coerce siblings to work as a duo while simultaneously cheering each other on— just like a day in (their future) office.
What is your family’s favorite board game? Share below!