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My husband and I have always loved playing games together. Just before we started dating, he taught me how to play spades, and he kept winking at me across the table. I thought he was flirting, but it turns out that he was just trying to signal me about which card to play.
We started dating anyway, and before we were married, we spent a lot of evenings at my parents’ house, playing board games with them. And throughout our marriage, having friends over to play games has been a part of our regular routine.
So when we had kids, it was a no-brainer that we would play games with our kids. So once they were old enough to start playing some easy games, we bought a few popular ones, and tried playing them as a family.
We hated it.
We believed in the power of a family game night to build strong relationships with our kids. Games teach all kinds of great skills, like math, strategic thinking, cooperation, and the abilities to be a good loser and gracious winner. But despite knowing those things, most nights, I just couldn’t find the energy to sit through a game of Candy Land at the end of a long day. (In fact, I distinctly remember stacking the deck a few times when the boys were little so the game would end sooner).
Thankfully, not all kids’ games are terrible. After talking to some friends who were board game enthusiasts, perusing the clearance table at Barnes and Noble, and a lot of trial-and-error, we have now found several that we actually look forward to playing each week. We try to set aside at least one evening a week (usually Tuesday) to sit around the table after dinner and play games together.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Some of these kids’ versions of adult strategy games that we like, and the more we play these, the better our kids are at learning new games. They’re now, at 5 and 7, able to play simplified versions of some our favorite games to play with friends. For more great game recommendations, we love watching YouTube reviews of games on channels like TableTop and Board Game Geek’s Game Night (though you might want to preview these without your kids; some of the videos contain language.)
What about you? Do you have any favorite kids’ games to share?