Family game night? Time to get board

The old-fashioned way still presents fun — for all ages

Somewhere between sliding down snakes and climbing ladders, getting an out-of-jail-free card and conquering the world with green and red plastic armies, board games entered the video game realm.

Games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Sorry! have been re-created in the Xbox title Family Game Night. The Ultimate Board Game Collection on Wii features checkers, chess and Boggle. The Game of Life is even on PlayStation.

What does this mean for the tradition of family game night?

For Toronto mom and blogger, Emma Waverman, her family keeps up with traditions.

“I think that playing board games sends the message that we’re unplugging,” said Waverman who blogs at Embrace the Chaos.

While she plays Boggle with her son on her Ipad, board games remain an important role in Waverman’s family. Each Christmas she and her husband have a tradition of giving each of their kids a new game.

However, with three children, ages 6, 8 and 11, Waverman said it can be hard to find games all of her kids could play at the same time.

“You have to recognize 4 and 5-year-olds don’t like to lose, don’t like to follow rules and like to cheat,” she said.

Parenting expert and author of the book Who’s in Charge Anyway?, Kathy Lynn, also thinks old-fashioned games are the best for family night. She suggests titles like Clue and Trivial Pursuit, which come in kid and adult versions.

“If your family’s playing and having a good time together the game is irrelevant,” said the mother of two. “The goal isn’t really the game.”

Board games get the whole family thinking at the same time, said Lynn. But kids have different abilities and weaknesses, said Waverman.

“If you have one kid who has amazing strategy skills, then you have to play games based on luck sometimes (if your other child isn’t good at strategy).”

Lynn suggests you adjust the rules of some games to make it easier for your kids, but she doesn’t believe in always letting them win.

“(Games teach kids) how to be graceful losers, how to work together, take turns, and what’s fair and not fair,” she said.

Game night should also be fun for parents too. It’s important to relax, enjoy and don’t get too competitive, said Lynn.

“Sometimes parents always let the kids win, and sometimes parents want to win,” said Waverman.

Lynn suggests you set an end time if you have older kids because they don’t want to get stuck with the family all weekend. Parents need to know when it’s time to take a break from the game or to call it a night, said Waverman.

“Monopoly never gets finished,” she said.

About this article:

By: Meagan Bowden
Posted: Feb 1 2012 2:00 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto