When my youngest was home on Christmas break, I proposed that we have a game afternoon. I dug out my two big plastic tubs of games and we sat down for a few hours. We played checkers and ate popcorn. She beat me at checkers and I waxed her butt at Trouble—love those “popomatics.” We also played mindless games of stacking chairs and Battle Ship (some would disagree here, but really!).
Playing board games together in real time seems to be coming back into style. A millennial just opened a tea room in town here and immediately began having board game nights. Game stores are also popping up here and there. I was in a children’s toy store recently where you could play any of the games they had in stock with the staff before deciding to buy.
Playing board games makes you sit down and interact directly with your opponent—I mean, loved one! Your attention is directed at each other and the board. You have to focus not only on the game but each other—this builds intimacy. There is a give and take to the play that demands communication. For example, do you remember sitting across the kitchen table on a hot summer afternoon playing Clue shouting triumphantly, “The Butler, in the Library, with a Rope!”
We collected a lot of our games at garage and estate sales for 50 cents or $1 during the years of visiting our local nursing home while my daughter was growing up. It was a part of our homeschooling philosophy of education to volunteer in the community at least once a week. (I also used to make educational games with the facts that we were learning at the time in our homeschool. On Fridays there was no book work, we just played games.)
We visited one-on-one (or did manicures) at the nursing home from the time my daughter was six years old until she was 18 years old. We did one-on-one visiting with people of all abilities. Some it was easy to talk to and others had physical limitations, such as dementia, blindness, or deafness. Games were a bridge for interacting with some of these people, especially the kinetic games like Don’t Break the Ice, Booby Trap, The Last Straw, the Fishing game, stacking games, Ker Plunk or any other games where things fall down or fly apart after a certain number of moves. (These just happen to be my favorite games, too. I’m not much for strategy.)
You can find board games cheaply at any time of the year. Many thrift stores sell games when there are no estate, church, or garage sales to attend. The cheapest prices will usually be found at garage sales, but when you consider how many hours of family entertainment you get for the buck, you can’t miss even if you purchase your games retail. Compare the cost of one trip with the family to the cheap seats (movie theater) to buying a board game at Target or Toys R Us. You still come out ahead in most cases.
Have a game night with family or friends. Have fun. Begonia