In our technologically advanced world, it is hard to have everyone in your family ditch the electronics and spend some quality time together. But here’s the thing…it is possible. How? By instituting a Family Game Night. I was lucky enough to collaborate with Linda Schmidt, co-owner of popular Chicago toy store, Cat and Mouse Games, to come up with some great game options for your family.
One of my favorite childhood memories was when my sister and I would bring a stack of board games into the family, clear off the table, and spend the night competing at old school games. Our favorites? Monopoly (we actually had the Chic Chicago version…we were obviously the COOLEST Chicagoans on the block), UNO, dominoes, Connect Four, Battleship, Candy Land, and Scrabble. And while we still like to play those games as moms ourselves, Linda has introduced me to some modern and unique games that appeal to kids of all ages.
So what should you look for in a board game? As a mom and a teacher I am focused on game’s whimsical learning possibilities:
Different Levels of Learning: When initial instructions are basic but can be slightly altered to grow with the learner in order to become a more challenging game.
Hands on/Interactive Play: If all you are doing is moving a piece around a game board, it isn’t going to be very fun. When players have to get up and move, they become much more engaged and have a better time.
Promote Discussion: You know when you are playing a game that is so engrossing that you don’t want to stop for dinner or bedtime? Or one that you are still thinking and talking about the next day? THAT is the game you want in your family closet.
Teach and Reinforce Social Skills: Look for games that teach age appropriate social skills such as taking turns, following rules, problem solving, creative thinking, decision making, dealing with consequences, etc.
All of the games in this list can be purchased from locally owned Cat and Mouse Games (at both Bucktown and West Loop locations) or online. In addition they have the most extensive collection of puzzles I have ever seen, arts and crafts, as well as games for adults. I highly encourage you to visit one of the locations to try out some demo games and have fun spending some time blissfully unplugged.
Board Game Suggestions for ALL Families
But before you bust out the games, be sure to get some snacks to enjoy your Family Game Night. We love setting up a Make Your Own Trail Mix bar and everyone creates a different mix each week. Some ingredients to put out? Popcorn, pretzels, goldfish crackers, peanuts, veggie chips, chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, sprinkles, etc.
Looking for other ways to bond as a family at home? Then this page is for you!