Picture this: the table is set, the snacks are ready, the teams are chosen. And it’s on: Family Game Night! The time when laughter is never out of bounds. And family bonding is the grand prize everyone wins. To help you get ready, the last two weeks of this month, all our toys, games and puzzles (and more!) will be 20% off. (Offer available Sept. 18-30, 2023. Valid on all regularly priced merchandise.)
Sure, Family Game Night may seem like just another thing to do as a family… maybe even a nice tradition to have, like Taco Tuesdays. Or Hot Fudge Sundae Sundays (wait, is that NOT a tradition with your family yet…? Highly recommend!).
But, in actuality, science says Family Game Night is a whole lot more than that. It’s a bonafide booster for both kids and parents.
So, let’s dive into why gathering ’round the game board is more than good times – it’s good for you and your kids.
1. It makes family ties even tighter.
Imagine a fortress of family unity – that’s what game night is all about. Research shows that engaging in shared activities like board games can forge memories that foster stronger emotional connections between family members. Game Nights are the kind of times memories are made of. The times you tell stories about – the big wins, the horrible losses, the unexpected twists, the bad choices and brilliant moves all become part of your family folklore…even (especially) that time when Mom got so mad she threatened to throw the game into Lake Michigan. These kinds of memorable moments give you and your kids a sense of shared identity.
2. It supercharges your family communication skills.
Ever tried explaining your strategy without saying a word? Game night is a masterclass in non-verbal communication. Whether it’s a sly grin, a fist pump, or an exaggerated eyeroll, these cues help teach kids how to read all kinds of situations and what’s being said between the lines. It also helps parents learn to read their kids better. It shows both kids and parents how they say a lot to each other without saying a word.
And a variety of studies have shown that children from families who develop strong lines of communication through ongoing shared activities like game nights benefit in multiple ways, including better vocabularies, reading scores, relationships with peers, as well as emotional well-being and life satisfaction. Who knew you could get all this from just playing Rush Hour together?
3. It shows that patience does have rewards.
Kids are not naturally patient. Adults aren’t always excellent at patience either, to be fair. Waiting your turn, handling setbacks, and strategizing for the long game – these are all patience-building lessons that can be neatly tucked into a game of Jenga. Researchers have found that playing board games can enhance a child’s ability to delay gratification and manage frustration as well.
Another fun way to teach patience? Puzzles. You could substitute Family Puzzle Night for Family Game Night occasionally just to keep things interesting…and equally fun … and packed full of patience lessons.
4. It turns sniping siblings into trusted teammates.
Some games, like Forbidden Island, are built on teamwork and cooperation in order to win. These kinds of cooperative games require everyone to work together to achieve a common goal. It’s not just about winning; it’s about the journey and collaboration. Studies suggest that collaborative activities can improve children’s social skills and help them understand the importance of working as a team, which is useful in school and later in work situations – the ability to work as a team member is one of those soft skills in high demand.
5. It shows math and vocabulary skills are actually useful.
Many board games involve strategic thinking, math skills, and vocabulary building. For example, Scrabble is more than just a word game; it’s a stealthy way to expand your vocabulary and flex those linguistic muscles. Zingo is a great matching game that helps pre-readers and early readers build language skills through play. Classic games like Hi Ho! Cherry-O, Connect Four, and Yahtzee, totally get kids using their math skills while having a great time doing it. So the next time your kids complain about having to learn math or long vocab words, just tell them ”…just wait ‘til Family Game Night…you’re gonna be happy you know this stuff then.”
6. It gets your family out of the digital world and into the real one.
In a world buzzing with screens, Family Game Night is a digital detox that gives everyone a refreshing break from social media and an opportunity to remember how to be social WITHOUT media. It’s a chance to unplug, laugh, and create meaningful connections without the constant ping of notifications. It’s like quality time on steroids.
You might even want to make one of the rules of Family Game Night that all the phones go into a basket in another room for the duration – not only the kids’ phones, but the parents’ phones as well. (This could be the hardest thing you do on Family Game Night…but you might be amazed at how good it can feel NOT being distracted.)
7. It boosts kids’ confidence and self-esteem.
Psychologists suggest that family game nights can provide experiences that can contribute to a child’s emotional growth and self-esteem. Winning or losing, every game night is a confidence-building opportunity. Winning provides a sense of accomplishment while losing teaches resilience. Winning can also be a great chance to teach kids about how to win well – good sportsmanship. And losing can provide lessons on not giving up when the going gets tough. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about how sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, sometimes you do great and sometimes you make mistakes, but either way, YOU are still all right – your wins and your losses don’t define you.
8. It’s a great multigenerational experience.
Often kids only see their grandparents as the chauffeurs who take them to practice when the parents can’t. Or the oldsters that sometimes buy them ice cream…before dinner. But how often do they get the chance to see their relatives’ true personalities? See who they really are? Family Game Nights that include the grandparents and aunts and uncles can be the perfect way for your kids to see these people as more than their labels. Family game night bridges generational gaps, creating an environment where kids can see their elders just being themselves and having a blast. This intergenerational interaction promotes empathy, understanding, and an appreciation for different perspectives. And of course, great stories! (Remember that time Uncle Harry snorted soda out his nose???!!!)
9. It just makes you laugh – and laughter matters.
Just try playing Blink without laughing. Or Exploding Kittens. Or Apples to Apples with your pre-teens. Laughter is the universal language of joy, and game night pretty much tends to be a laugh factory.
And laughter is nothing to sneeze at. Studies show that laughter releases endorphins, which reduce stress. And shared laughter does even more. It helps people feel closer to each other and supported by each other. And who doesn’t want that for their family?
So, there you have it – science and fun are in perfect harmony on Family Game Night. The benefits go beyond just entertainment; they ripple through the realms of emotional intelligence, communication, and lifelong memories.
So, grab some games (or puzzles…!), stock up on the popcorn, and gather your clan for a night of epic play, wild laughter, and cherished connections… and let the family bonding begin!