Game night is a cheap way to spend an evening. It’s also a great way to teach kids (and some adults!) how to take turns, follow directions, and win and lose with grace.
Family game night can also strengthen family relationships and reduce stress through laughter and play. As an added benefit kids who regularly enjoy positive time with their families have higher self-esteem, increased success at school, and healthier peer relationships. They're also less likely to use drugs and alcohol.
A few rules to get started:
- Choose a game everyone can enjoy. Consider the ages of the people playing. Some games are a riot for adults, but not so great for kids — vice versa. If you can’t agree on a game, let family members take turns choosing their favorite one.
- Put the phones away. Family game night is for family — that means no screens.
- Lighten up. Ask family members to set competitive feelings aside for the sake of a good outcome. Of course, every family has one or two people who tend to take winning or losing to heart. It helps to remember this is normal and healthy. But by setting the tone early, you can take those feelings down a notch or two before you even start.
Set the mood with food
Elevate the level of play with snacks, appetizers, desserts, treats or a meal that matches the game you’re playing. Of course, anything will do, and simplicity (for example, ordering a pizza) may rule if you’re low on time. But a little extra thought can help game night rise to a new level of fun, especially if the whole family is involved in the process.
For example, if you have young children, the classic counting game Hi-Ho! Cherry-O® can be more fun with simple snacks, like a bowl of cherries or blueberries. Another game to try is Telestrations®. Good for most ages, this sketch, pass and guess game will have the whole group laughing. You'll be too busy drawing to eat anything difficult, so go with finger food. Pair with sliders and cut veggies with hummus.
Multi-player gamesApples to Apples®
This simple game of hilarious comparisons is fun for the whole family, regardless of age. If you have young children, try the “junior” version.
What to serve? Try chicken pesto sliders. If you want to go with a theme, serve apples and peanut butter or cheese slices. Or, try this quick and easy peanut butter apple dip.
For games with two players, try classics like Yahtzee®, Scrabble®, or Rummikub® or try new options like Ticket to Ride® or Codenames®.
What to serve? Instead of your standard cheese ball, try this lightened-up dip. If you’re up to the challenge, you can mold it to resemble a dice cube.
Need more game ideas for the whole family? Try KingDominoTM or Settlers of Catan®. Charceuterie trays and mezze platters are also good ideas for any game night because you can please a variety of palates and preferences.