Games. Board games or card games — it doesn’t matter. Bring on the games in this house! There is so much to be learned through a simple, no-risk game. In our home, game night took on a whole new meaning when our kids were around 3 and 4! I thought I’d share a few of our favorites and the lessons we learned from them.
Sorry: The game of Sorry has always been a fan favorite at our place! It was the first game that we could all actually play that wasn’t some sort of Disney Princess or memory game. It is a great game for number recognition and counting! It’s good for teaching patience, if you make your kiddos wait to get out of start! Sorry also became a way to teach our children how to explain their thinking. When you “Sorry” someone they have to go back to start. We taught our kids that they had to give an explanation as to why they picked the person to Sorry. Even if it was just, “She is annoying me right now!” It opens conversations about anger, frustration and when things aren’t fair.
Skip-Bo: This game is also an excellent way to teach counting! It is an organizational teaching game since there can be so many piles! Our youngest loved this game because for the longest time, it was the only game she could win at! This game is just basic dumb luck, not real skill, but depending on how many cards you decide to start with, it can last as long or as little as you like!
Chinese Checkers: This game isn’t so much for littles as it is for bigs. There is a lot going on in this game which requires focus, especially if four people play at once! There is a lot of logical thinking as well as strategy. Our bigs became hooked on this game! We realized it was helping our child who was very scattered to slow down and focus only on his pieces and block out all of the others.
Phase 10: We started playing this when our youngest was 5. This game requires a LOT of patience. It is a great game for showing that things are not always fair. When one person or all but one person gets to move on to a new phase and you don’t … well … nothing teaches patience better than that! This game is also a perseverance game. If you get left behind on a phase you can’t quit or give up, just like in life or outdoor sports.
A big part of game night is how we handle life when the games are done. In all games there are winners and losers. It’s just a fact of life. It is never too early to teach children how to appropriately handle the feeling when they lose. Game play at home is a safe environment to learn how to win graciously and lose respectfully. At the end of every game we play, there is always the courteous “Good Game” handshake. Even through tears it is a requirement! The winner is allowed to be excited but not boastful. The loser is not allowed to stomp, throw a fit, or yell. They are allowed to share their feelings and tears happen often, but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
There are so many classic board/card games that will bring so much learning and fun to your home! Family game night is a must!