One of my favorite things about the fact that our girls are getting older is that the games they are capable of playing are all that much more fun for me. Happy as I was to play pretend with little figurines and capture their dress-up scenes, I love watching them work through the challenge of learning board game strategy. I love it even more when they are able to beat me fair and square without any extra <cough, cough> assistance.
We've tried to establish a weekly game night for the family. The girls love the routine of looking forward to playing with us and I look forward to consistent together time for our family.
I've discovered that there are 3 crucial elements to the perfect family game night:
1. Choose your game wisely:
Finding games that work for a wider spread of ages has been the most challenging part of game night for us. With Little Pea still learning to read and the Peanut ready for something more mentally challenging, it's hard to strike a balance while keeping everyone engaged.
When I attended the sneak peek of Melissa & Doug's booth at Toy Fair NYC in February, I got the chance to meet Melissa and Doug themselves. Melissa spoke about how they developed their line of oard games because she wanted something more challenging for herself. Oh how I related to that! It's not just about keeping the kids interested, but making games that the parents want to play with them.
Some of our favorite Melissa & Doug games include:
- Suspend: though it says 8+, we've been playing with the girls for years. So fun!
- Shut the Box: perfectly portable, my mom can't resist this one. Truly great for all ages.
- Tips Ahoy: we just added this to our collection and the girls are obsessed. Very quick play and good for as few as 2 players.
- Don't Be Greedy: Little Pea couldn't get this one opened fast enough. A simple strategy game that is perfect for kids who aren't reading yet.
2. Be prepared with excellent snacks:
The difference between simply playing a game with your kids and Family Game Night (in capital letters!) is all in the snacks.
Often we have already had our dinner and are playing a game afterwards. So, I like to stick with light little sweet treats for munching. Some favorites for game night include:
- Anything popcorn based like our favorite birthday cake popcorn mix.
- Sweet Chex mixes like this sweet and salty Chex mix or the Sweet and spicy honey sriracha mix we were seriously obsessed with last summer.
- Bite-sized versions of our favorite cookies like Handyman Tim's ALL TIME favorite cookies here.
3. Think beyond the dining room table:
After a long week at the office, Tim likes to stay home on Friday evenings so our game nights tend to happen right at the dining room table. There's nothing wrong with this, but it is easy to fall into the habit of assuming that is the only place you can play a game with the kids. So not true!
I am so inspired by my friend Zina over at Let's Lasso the Moon and how she takes her girls on coffee shop dates with Shut the Box under their arms or over to an outdoor patio with Suspend ready to go. These perfectly portable game options don't need to stay at home. Try a change of scenery and use them to connect with your kids on the go.
We even took the simple step of using our games outside on the patio picnic table right in our own backyard so we could enjoy the fresh spring air while we played.
What are your favorite family game night traditions? How do you keep everyone around the table happy? Have a favorite snack recipe? Leave me a note in the comments, I'd love to know!
This post was sponsored by Melissa & Doug. Peanut Blossom is proud to be a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador. All thoughts and opinions are our own.