My family enjoys our regular family game nights. We try to set aside one night a week to sit around the table together, laughing and making memories. Sometimes we let our kids choose the games, and other nights it is parents’ choice. We all look forward to these nights together, and each one yields different fruit.
One particular game we like is Apples to Apples. In this game, everyone tries to choose a red noun card from their hand that goes best with the green adjective card played by the judge. In our family, Dad always serves as the judge, because his keen sense of humor keeps everyone laughing and guessing which word association will make the most sense to him.
We use games for educational purposes too. We might play a game of ‘horse’ with spelling words. Bible baseball is one of our favorites. Sometimes we play a seated version with runs being scored as points. Other times, we take the game outside and let our kids actually hit the ball every time they recite a scripture memory verse or correctly answer a Bible knowledge question. If our 3-year-old son gets his questions right, it is an automatic home run for the team. Phonics bingo is often played with chocolate chips, and everyone feels like a winner after the game when they get to eat their markers! We keep strategy games like chess and checkers sitting out on a small game table and play almost daily whenever we have 15 minutes to spare.
Our newest family game is Settlers of Canaan. This strategy game is simple enough for our 5 year-old to grasp but strategic enough for my husband to love. Now that’s a perfect game! We have been known to increase game night to two or three times a week in order to fit in more of this beloved game.
Tips for incorporating games into your family’s life:
* On game night, spread the dinner table with a tablecloth and use paper plates. Serve a simple meal like soup and salad or pizza. The dinner mess can be quickly whisked away to make room for the game.
* If you have the space, dedicate an old table just for games. We keep a table in our basement for longer-term games like Risk. The game can be left out indefinitely until it is finished.
* Keep all your games together so you can always find them. I store mine on the top shelf of our coat closet.
* Whenever I find game pieces on the floor, I put them in a drawer for lost toys. I regularly have the kids empty the drawer and return all lost pieces to the appropriate games.
* Keep decks of cards and quick games like checkers or Dutch Blitz close at hand to pull out whenever you have a few spare moments.
* Get some inexpensive sporting equipment. On warm nights we take our gaming outside and play flag football, wiffle ball, or basketball.
* Keep extra dice, cards, game boards, and playing pieces handy for little ones. Our 3-year-old often rolls dice and plays with his own cards alongside the rest of the family when he is too young to join in that night’s game.
* Mix it up. Choose competitive games to teach sportsmanship and cooperative games for team building. Play card games, board games, and athletic games. One week try a word game like Guesstures, then a trivia game the next week and a strategy game the week after that. This gives each person’s different gifts a chance to shine.
|Apples to Apples, Bible Edition GameBy Cactus Game Design
Expand your “core” knowledge of Christian history with this hilarious, award-winning game! Apples to Apples ® Bible Edition brings the award winning card and party game, Apples to Apples®, to the Christian community. Players will delight in the clever comparisons while expanding their knowledge of the Bible. Comparing people, places, things, and events, players match their cards with the judge’s. The closest match wins the round. But you’ve got to be fast, because if your card is the last one on the table, you lose! Inside you’ll find 432 Red Apple cards, 144 Green Apple cards, 2 card trays and quick play rules. Games are fast–about 20 to 30 minutes per game, and it’s an easy game to learn. Recommended for 4 to 10 players, ages 9 and up.
|Dutch Blitz GameBy Dutch Blitz Games Company
Developed in Pennsylvania Dutch country, Dutch Blitz is a card game that’s exciting to play and easy to learn! Perfect for family game nights, or to play with a group of good friends, you’ll enjoy spirited competition as you try to get rid of your 10-card Blitz pile before anybody else. Not as easy as it sounds though, because players don’t take turns! You have to be the fastest to place your cards in sequence and in the same respective colors on the center Dutch piles while using as many cards from your Blitz Pile as possible. When your Blitz Pile has been exhausted, you’ve won! The game includes four decks of four colorful playing cards and easy-to-follow instructions. Two to four players can play this fast-moving game. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
|The Settlers of Canaan Board GameBy Mayfair Games, Inc.
An official adaptation of Settlers of Catan, this Old Testament version has players becoming tribes of Israel (Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Zebulun) and settling the land of Canaan from the time of Joshua through the crowning of King David. Slightly different than the original game, this version features a fixed playing board with land tiles and numerical disks printed on the board; the robber becomes “the plague”; and players must win 12 victory points through the traditional routes of trading, building and development or complete the “Wall of Jerusalem.” 2-4 players; ages 10 & up.
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About Molly Evert
Writer Molly Evert is a wife and homeschooling mom to 6 kids, who range in age from 2 to 18. She runs an educational website, My Audio School (http://www.myaudioschool.com), providing access to the best in children's audio literature. She also blogs at CounterCultural Mom (http://www.counterculturalmom.com) and CounterCultural School (http://www.counterculturalschool.com).
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