8 Benefits of Family Game Night
Board games have been a huge part of my life, growing up playing the classics, and then later getting into Eurogames when my brother-in-law introduced my wife and I to Small World. Since then we have tried lots of new games and it has continued to be a cornerstone of our relationship. When we had our first child I knew I wanted family game night to be a part of our family, but I didn’t begin to imagine all the amazing benefits of family board games we would see.
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1. Board Games Make Learning Fun
Board games are a fantastic way for kids (and adults) to learn new things while having fun. While formal learning has its place, I’m a big believer that learning should be as fun as possible to help our kids grow up and be life long learners. Board games are the perfect delivery system for fun learning! Board games are fantastic for all kinds of skills, starting with colors and shapes for the littlest gamers, expanding to letters, numbers, reading, spelling, and math as kids age. While all the technical skills are great, I didn’t realize all the less obvious skills kids take away from board games. Problem solving, spatial thinking, reasoning, communication, and emotional intelligence to name a few. With the opportunity to learn all these essential skills, why wouldn’t you play board games with your kids?!
2. Getting Everyone Engaged in Family Game Night
One of the constant struggle’s we battle as parents is engagement. It is a hectic world with lots of things vieing for our attention, kids, work, friends, and smart phones updates. Combine that with the short attention span of our kids and it can feel like no one is paying attention to anything…ever! We’ve really come to appreciate board games as a way to counteract this. As parents we put out phones and other distractions of life aside and just enjoy being together. It allows us to be focused on having fun as a family! At the same time, board games help kids learn to stay engaged in a single activity.
3. Family Entertainment
Of all the benefits of family board games, fun is probably the most obvious, but also one I don’t want to overlook. We have had so much fun with our kids playing board games! I still remember the first game we played when our son was a toddler (check out My Little Orchard). He is a wild child (understatement!) and I had reservations about him being able to sit down and actually play a game. He learned the game and had a blast playing, and has been hooked on board games ever since. As our kids have grown the fun we have with board games has only increased.
4. Creating Family Game Night Memories
Another of the benefits of family board games is creating great family memories. What is better then spending a rainy afternoon cozied up with a pile of board games, creating memories? I have fond memories of those days growing up, and it has become a staple for our family as well. I love that when our kids see bad weather outside they race to the board game closet and I hope they’ll remember these game days when they are older as fondly as I do.
5. Lasting Traditions
Having family traditions is very important to creating family culture and bringing families closer together. Board games have been a great tool for our family to create traditions. Our traditions are weekly, family board game nights, as well as new board game to play on Christmas Eve. The anticipation build up to our weekly board game night, and even more so on Christmas eve, is so fun to see and just makes the actual ‘events’ even more enjoyable!
6. The Board Game ‘Reset Button’
We all have those days where the whole family is a little…grumpy. Maybe its a bad nights sleep, maybe you were out of bananas at breakfast, the most random things can set a day off on the wrong foot. Do you just accept that its going to be a no good, very bad day? No, you try like heck to turn everyone’s attitude around! Cooperative board games have become our go to reset button, to turn a grumpy day around. What else can you do in fifteen minutes to get the whole family together and competing against the game? After the game everyone is (usually) in a much better mood and we can go about having a better day. I think this is a big reason why research shows board games are good for mental health!
7. Sibling Bonding
While our kids squabble just like any siblings, they are also best buddies a majority of the time. Board games have played a big role in building their relationship. There is a really special dynamic built when the older sibling can be the expert and help the younger sibling learn a game that’s new to them. At the same time the younger sibling has just as much opportunity to win the game putting them back on equal footing. The kids learning and playing board games together has really helped them build a strong relationship.
8. Inspiring Passion with Family Game Night
When I was a kid and we played board games I remember it being a pretty standard set of options, Checkers, Connect 4, Chess, maybe Monopoly, all games we had fun with, but not a ton of imagination involved while playing. Today the board game landscape is very different. For almost any subject that your child is into there is a board game to go right along with it. When our kids went through the dinosaur phase, board games were there to encourage and expand on the obsession (Dinosaur Escape was our go to during the preschool years). The current focus is medieval times and Brandon the Brave has been getting a lot play. It is so great to see them play a game focused on something they are passionate about!
Start Your Family Game Night!
What benefits of family board gaming has your family seen? Comment below!
With all the great benefits of family board gaming, I am sure you are ready to start your family board gaming. Check our lists of favorite board games for each age: Best Board Games for Toddlers, Best Board Games for Preschoolers, Best Board Games for 5 Year Olds, Best Board Games for 7 Year Olds, Best Board Games for Older Kids