Monday, 18 November 2013

Family game nights

Games stimulate little minds and build family bonds. I love it that we do family game nights, be it board games or self invented games, I love every part of our play. More importantly, I like the values and skills set that can be taught in different games. 

We learn to play games by rules, create rules and sometimes with compassion, play out of the rules. The kids pick up game ethics, they learn to wait, take turns, cheer on each other and experience the emotions of victory or lost. Jazz grew from a bad sport to a good sport after umpteen times of games playing. She couldn't face defeat, but now, she knows its not about the end result, but the journey.

We house many board games, some of which were inherited from my kind neighbour who shifted out. Other than age appropriate board games, here are some easy, out of the board, games we play with our time together. 

1. Hot or Cold
Js love it when I hide a treat or an object that requires effort to search. I'll define a specific area for them to comb. When they get near, I'll hint 'Hot, which means they're near the target. 'Cold' and it means far away. They'll form their task force, discuss their strategy and begin search. And of course, to not ruffle much with tidiness, make object an easy search. Then, we take turns to hide.
Objectives: Reward comes with effort. Patient and teamwork.

2. Memory
Gather a few small items and hide it under a blanket. Open up and give them about 10 seconds to remember the items, then cover up again. Test their memory with what they saw. They always outshine me in this. As their memory gets better, mine deteriorates.
Objectives: Memory builder and concentration

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Working their little brain
3. Guess me
Our favourite road trip game. I would have a thing in mind, and do up a riddle for it. For example, I've chair on mind, I'll go,"People sit on me, I'm always found with the table and I've 4 legs." Be surprise with their replies. They are sure excited to get it right. For Jare, I'll go for a really simple one. I love playing this game not only because it works our thinking cells, it also helps build their knowledge, vocabulary and sentence structure when they hear the riddle. And when they build their own riddle, I'll either be impressed or depressed with their knowledge and structure. A mother, a teacher.
Objectives: Creativity,  Academics - Language, general knowledge

4. Scissors, Paper, Stone
Place a target or treat at the end of a flight of steps. Start from the top or bottom. Play the traditional scissors, paper, stone. Winner takes a step down or up towards the target. Whoever reaches the target wins or keeps the yummy treat. I usually play few rounds, till both child gets their fair treat. This is when you know compassion rules the game.
Objectives: Reward comes with effort, patient

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Jazz leading the game

5. Hide and seek
This is old school, but we know its fun! Play too often, and you'll run out of places to hide. So play this once in a long long while. Kids love repetition anyway. Js loves this game and they can be really good hiders at times.
Objectives: Hide in teams for team work, learn to stay quiet and count while waiting


Remove skills and values out of the objectives, playing games as a family not only makes everyone happy, it also creates meaningful lasting memories. Have you some nights set aside for games too? All you need is a little fraction of some daily time. We know they won't want to play with us forever.

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