Thank you to Hasbro Gaming for sponsoring this post. All content and opinions expressed are my own. This article contains affiliate links.
I grew up with game nights, though they weren’t called ‘game nights’ back then. They were just those many, many times someone would pull out a board game and gather a round of folks to play with. And I played with everyone—siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. It was a ‘thing’ growing up.
Even now, we still play. Even when it’s just me and my husband over a Scrabble board game. Or with our six-year-old in a round of Jenga.
Learning how to plan a family game night starts with having fun. That’s what games are for, right? And family game nights continue to be awesome for so many reasons:
- They’re multi-generation. From the little kids to grandma, everyone can join in.
- Every game is a learning activity (Monopoly, anyone?).
- No two games are ever the same. Yes, you can play the same board game every week, but you’ll still come up with a new experience for each one.
What are some useful tips on how to plan a family game night?
Decide on two or three games.
Anything more than two or three might be too long, especially for younger children. But having at least two will give kids a chance to take a break or not get too frustrated if one game stalls.
My kids usually eat their snacks at the dining table. So having snacks available while they play makes it even more special. Choose easy-to-clean finger foods like popcorn, finger sandwiches and pretzels.
Pick age-appropriate games.
You’re never too old to play board games, but sometimes you can be too young to play a few. With my little twins, I stick to games like Jenga, Hungry Hippos or Connect Four. Then I save more complex games like Monopoly and Scrabble for my eldest (while the twins nap).
Adjust the rules for the younger children.
I’m the youngest in my family, and I still remember the older ones bending the rules to accommodate me. Younger kids may need flexibility with the rules or how you play. You can do a ‘little kids’ version of the game. For instance, if you’re playing Jenga, set aside a few blocks. Your younger child can tinker with the blocks while your older kids play by the rules.
Focus on the process, not always on winning.
Yes, games have winners, but the way we treat winning can make a huge difference. Focus on the process of the game and the strategies your kids develop to move ahead. And talk about everyone‘s effort. For instance, when we play Candy Land, I say, “We’re getting so close!” instead of highlighting who’s ahead and who’s not.
Don’t overwhelm your kids.
One time, my mom, siblings and I along with all our kids had a game night. We’re the ‘loud’ family, so you can imagine how hysterical we get when we play board games. And I remember a few times when the little kids would cry or get flustered. Maybe they didn’t like the uproar, or they lost, or they didn’t understand the game. Keep an eye out for your kids to see if they’re too stimulated or worn out.
Make family game nights a tradition.
Whether weekly or monthly, turn family game nights into a tradition. Your kids will look forward to their regular game nights. You can even rotate games by the week or month. These are the moments that will develop into classic and nostalgic memories.
It’s amazing that many of my fondest board games are still around for my kids to enjoy. Rely on the classic games from Hasbro Gaming for a fun night. These are my favorites:
Use these tips to plan your next family game night and “Get Your Family Game On.” Whether a one-time event or a regular weekly tradition, family game nights build memories.
Tell me in the comments: Your turn: Do you have family game nights? Did you grow up playing family game nights? What are some of your favorite games?