Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day Nine---Board Games

Okay, maybe it sounds silly to you, but I just LOVE board games and I am thankful for them. Our family likes to play them together, especially now that the little ones are getting old enough to participate, and we have had some good times and many laughs while playing a goofy game. Yes, I said goofy. Most of the games we play as a family are goofy and creative in some way. We have a bunch of kids who like to think outside the box and I think playing games is a good way to encourage that.

When I was checking out someone else's Gratitude Challenge post the other day, I was intrigued to see the coolest gadget on their sidebar...it was a carousel of books from Amazon. I just had to have one, so I signed up to be an Amazon affiliate to get one. It is my first foray into the world of affiliation (or whatever it is called) and I certainly don't expect to make any money from it, but putting together the gadget and getting it up on my own sidebar was FUN! You can look to the right and see the cool-spinningness of the carousel gadget I made for my Favorite Homeschooling Books. The reason I am mentioning this in this post, is because I also made one a bit farther down (it is currently below the pictures of our animals) for Our Favorite Family Games.

Just in case you DON'T want to check out the nifty new gadget I made (you are missing out...it even spins...FAST!), I will list them here with a brief explanation of why we like them:

  1. Cranium Family Edition is an awesome game for the older members of the crew. It offers something for everyone, from sculpting to drawing and acting, and it is just plain fun.
  2. Cranium Cadoo is for when we include the youngest kids. This even simpler version works well when playing with teams (so even the three-year-old can play).
  3. Uno Attack! is a hysterical take on the classic favorite, Uno. My brother grew up playing Uno with "local rules" (ie. he and his friends added rules to suit their moods, and the rules usually weren't nice. Things  like "You can lay a 'Draw 4' on a 'Draw 4" which cancels it out and doubles it for the other guy...lol). This NICER version of the game SPITS the cards out at you, instead of you having to pull them off of the deck. However, it can go on spitting for quite a while sometimes. We buy those plastic card holders to make it easier for little hands to play. It's a great game for teaching colors and numbers.
  4. Charoodles is a sillier version of charades as it uses goofy props like a wacky noodle. This (in our opinion) makes it easier for little ones to grasp, though since you HAVE to use the prop or you are penalized, it sometimes can be a draw back. When played with little ones, it is a good team game.
  5. Apples to Apples Junior Edition: We have both the regular and Junior editions of this and Tex and his friends (and the youth group at church) love to play this game. They play for hours, laughing and teasing each other. The drawback with the regular edition lies in the sometimes less than appropriate (and obscure to sheltered children) cultural references ("Which is scarier, Mom? Madonna or an earthquake? Definitely Madonna, son!!") The Junior edition helps alleviate some of this. I recently saw a Bible edition in the Christian bookstore and I am thinking about picking it up for our family game at Christmas this year.
  6. Boggle is a classic word search game. I love it because I always win...lol. Well, I always win when playing hubby, but when playing with the kids, well...I am just glad they can practice observations skills and spelling words, and have fun at the same time.
  7. Phase 10 is a card game that is a favorite of my grandmother's and aunt's. We found that we really like it, though it is too hard for the little ones to play. It's a good one for after Thanksgiving dinner, though. Not too much activity...just a little thinking and some old-fashioned good luck of the draw.
  8. Scattergories is a good one for a party. If youngers are playing, you can do teams. In this game, you are given a card with a list of topics (for example, "actors") and then you have to list at least one for each topic using whatever letter of the alphabet was rolled for that turn. You'd be surprised how hard it can be to come up with a list in a short amount of time...and you only get to count answers that weren't listed by someone else, so it pays to be obscure instead of obvious.
  9. Outburst Junior is one that was popular as a "waiting for the bus" game in my classroom when I taught, and we still find fun in our own family. We usually side the boys against the girls and have a good time shouting out answers and laughing when some of them are ridiculous.
  10. My all time favorite game is Scrabble. Okay, maybe it's not fun for everyone, but I LOVE it, and it's a good way to learn while playing a game. You can adapt it for the younger ones by playing with only tiny words.
Tex would say that I have neglected to list HIS favorites (Risk and Monopoly), but I did not list them on purpose because in my mind, they are too competitive in a tense way, and I just don't see any way to adapt them for the younger ages. I also did not include some of the younger kids' simpler favorites, such as Cranium Hullaballo (it's a hoot, kind of a "twisterish" game, with learning colors and shapes thrown in, and much more movement and silliness) and the Dr. Seuss I Can Do That! game (which I really like, as it combines early reading with silly challenges using fun objects, and they all like it a lot). As nice as those easy games are, they are really too simple to reasonably use with a mixed group. Maybe I will have to make another carousel for EASY Board Games. Now that sounds like fun...

Anyway, I really, really am appreciating board games this month, and we are taking more time to play them than usual. Truly, it is the positive family interactions I appreciate the most, and the growing closeness in an atmosphere of pleasant and entertaining...okay, FUN is the only word I can think of for here, though I have surely overused it in this post. We all do benefit from a good laugh, so we will keep the board games coming. I hope that you will take the time to drag out an old family favorite over the holidays, and share a few chuckles with your loved ones. What are your favorites? Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know about any great ones I might have missed!

Blessings and laughter to you,


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