Our seven kids love to play games with mom and dad! We enjoy games more than worksheets in school, video-game tournaments more than television, and board games more than other family activities. As a homeschooling mom, I love how playing games together as a family provides benefits that go far beyond school time.
I love that games teach order, structure, and routine. Maybe a “supermom” doesn’t have this trouble, but my house, while orderly, is also ordered chaos at times. Board games to the rescue! Kids love the rules and predictability. They love learning that we can’t play fun variations unless we’ve first mastered playing by the rules.
Speaking of variations, I also love that games teach creativity. Did you ever think about the fact that we need rules and guidelines before we can truly be creative? Yet once order is established, our natural creativity is sparked. Kids thrive on making up new rules and even entire new games.
I love that my children get a chance for some healthy competition. While competition is often over-rated in our society, I also realize that competition hones my children’s skills, teaches them excellence, and motivates them to succeed. I prefer to foster their competitive drive at home, around my dining-room table, where I can monitor attitudes and relationships.
You see, I also love what games teach about relationships. Games teach us that we need to respect others. They teach us to lose with grace and to cheer on the winner, thinking more of others than we think of ourselves. They teach us how to have a good attitude, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. They teach us to encourage those who are just learning and to cheer on our teammates.
I also love the healthy socialization that games bring to our homeschool. When we invite families from our neighborhood or congregation to play board games with us, we learn how to interact with others, to be kind, to carry on conversations and communicate with many different age groups, and to discover the interests of others. Games can also be a tool to be hospitable to strangers and to show love to people that may see very little love or joy in their own homes.
Most of all, I love that games provide me with quality time to spend with my kids. As we play games around the table as a family, I have an opportunity to become my child’s mentor, example, and friend. As grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins join us, we build deep memories together as a family. We retell stories from our past and we dream together about the future.
Who knew that games could be so valuable?
P.S. The only thing I don’t like about games is that I’m often just too tired to play and put up with all their giggling and silliness, too. What do you do about this problem?
We love games, too. My husband did not like how many were underfoot so we had to donate the dusty boxes from games we didn’t actually use, leaving room for the games we love to play. Sometimes we use edible game pieces or play for prizes, and sometimes we use a quick game to get everyone motivated before a family chore. Game play is good for relationships.
Change the rules. We were playing Sorry yesterday and dinner time was approaching and attention spans were shrinking, so I said that no one could be sent back to start anymore and two pawns could share a spot. Sometimes I set a time limit. Instead of finishing every match in “Memory,” we play for ten minutes, person with most in that time limit wins. Also, play first, work later. This way you’re more likely to have the energies needed to play, then they are more willing to go off and do whatever so you can do your chores.
Anne Elliott says
Thia, that’s a really good idea, to shorten the games for short attention spans! Thank you!