Family Game Nights: Why and How to Host Them

Family playing guess in 10 board game

Family game nights give children the chance to form core memories that they will always cherish. 

All over the world, establishing family traditions is recognized as an important parenting tool. Not only do traditions create the most memorable moments for you, but they also help families bond together in a fun way. What's more, family traditions can make any day a special one for you and your little one!.


As everything starts to reopen and life returns to a post-pandemic new normal, many families are filling up their calendars with social events of all kinds. But in this rush to be out and about, family time can end up taking a back seat. Setting some time in your weekly calendar to reconnect with your family is important and you can do so in a variety of ways. From days at the park to pizza nights and to movie nights to beach days, family traditions are probably the best bonding exercises out there.


A weekly family game night is a tradition worth exploring, as it creates lovely memories, and ensures that your family spends quality time together. Let’s take a look at why this should be your go-to for an easy, fun way to do things together as a family.

Why Are Family Game Nights Important?

Beyond creating special memories for your family, here are some top reasons games can benefit children:


1. Teach Important Life Skills

Many games mimic real-life scenarios. These can help develop important life skills as strategies needed in some games increase the ability to adapt to situations. Likewise, some games lead to fun conversations between the family. Board games can help kids showcase their memory skills and problem-solving techniques. Activities like card shuffling or moving lego/puzzle pieces can even help with motor skills development in children.


2. Make For Excellent Stress Busters

The pandemic has reinforced the need to relieve stress. Having a fun family night means everyone in the family gets a break from homework, chores, and the office. For a single night every week - in place of responsibilities and the daily grind - the family has some time to enjoy each other's company. Interactive games are terrific stress busters, and create good opportunities for laughter


3. Reduce Screen Time

Possibly the biggest issue in today's digital-heavy world is the increasing amount of time that people - both children and adults - spend glued to their phones, computers, and televisions each day. A weekly family game night can help the entire family switch off from their screens, unwind and consciously engage in some face-to-face time and communication.


4. Teach the Value of Good Sportsmanship

It is important to teach your child to be a good sport and the incredible value of good sportsmanship so they carry those values and skills with them as they grow up. There are two sides to every good sport: taking wins gratefully and handling losses gracefully. If you win, you shouldn’t rub it onto your opponent and if you lose, don’t make a fuss. Regularly playing games with your family helps demonstrate the intricacies of being a good sport, as well as ingrain important sportsmanlike values in your children, including teamwork.


5. Improve Communication and Collaboration Skills

Games are one of the better ways to improve your communication skills since they require everyone's work, collaboration, and efforts to progress further.


Following instructions and passing the message on to others are important communication skills  found in games. Games also can challenge you to do all this in more ways than one, forcing you to apply different communicative and collaborative strategies. Effective communication also includes listening properly, an invaluable skill you want your little one to develop early in life. Overall, game nights are essential to building language skills in adults and children alike.


Regular game nights with your family ensure you get enough time to practice communicating with each member. Better communication between the family means you become stronger as a unit, and messages are sent and received loud and clear.


6. Create Memories that Last Forever

Traditions are important for every family. They give members something to look forward to and count on. From anticipation to participation, the memories are part of a fun experience. Years down the line, the memories you make through these will be looked at fondly by both you and your children. Who knows - if you're lucky, you will still be hosting family game nights for years to come, with more family members joining the fun!


7. They are Fun for Everyone!

No matter your age, there's always a game for you. Family games are often created with a varied demographic in mind, so that everyone from ages 8 to 80 can join in for some fun! Board games, ball-playing games, adventure games, card games the list is endless to choose from, and you can't go wrong with any of these. Games let everyone in the family have fun, and what's more, you get to see relationships bloom and strengthen in front of your eyes!

Here are a couple of tips that will help you ace that family board game night or a card game Friday:


1. Do the Pre-Game Prep Work

When introducing a new game to your family, make sure you are well-versed in it yourself. Read the rules in advance and ensure that there aren't any prerequisites needed for the first-time playthrough. That way, you remove the stress of learning on the fly and engage with your family immediately. Children can lose interest quickly and you will have to be on your toes to ensure that doesn't happen on your game night.


2. Pick the Best Time to Play

Plan out your game night well in advance to select the most convenient time for everyone to join. Check the family schedule and avoid hours that are too early or too late, or can be potentially stressful, like bedtime.


3. Start With an Easy Game

Always stick to relatively easier games when you're starting your family game night ritual. Collective patience and engagement improve over time - and when everyone realizes that the activity is fun!


4. Set Aside all Distractions

One of the goals of family game nights is to reduce screen time. It is imperative to leave your cellphones and other devices at the door. Limit other distractions, too: don't keep the TV running in the background when you're playing a game.


5. Stock Up on Snacks

Ideal snacks kebabs for family game night

Game nights and snacks go hand in hand. Fun and excitement work up an appetite, so make sure you're ready. It doesn't need to be an elaborate, four-course meal: set out some chips and make guacamole beforehand, slice up some fruit, or bake cookies with your little one! You can even schedule your game nights after dinner.


6. Make It a Habit

To make family game nights a 'tradition', you need to repeat it frequently, ideally once a week. The more you set aside time to play together, the more easily family game nights will transition from a one-off thing to a family tradition. Plus, you'll have more practice with each of the games, so everyone will become tougher competition for each other!


7. Include Learning Games

A big part of family game nights is to instill life skills like sportsmanship in your children. Choose games that require communication and collaboration to cultivate teamwork in your little ones. Some games also enhance motor skills in growing children. Read up about them in advance and choose fun games to play with your family!


8. Be A Friend More Than a Parent

Understand what your child likes and arrange games around those interests. Game nights are when family rules are relaxed, and not all game rules are mandatory. Take off your serious hat and game faces and indulge in some harmless fun! You don’t need to power through the hour to finish a game when you can always come back to it later.

What Are Some Activities That I Can Include as a Part of the Family Game Night?

Game Ideas for Children of 3+ Years Old

For little ones that are 3 years and up, choosing your games is more important than other age groups. This is due to their rapid development of essential skills like learning vocabulary phonics, learning geometric shapes, and other memory and activity-based capabilities during this age. Here's our list of family games ideas for your 3-year-olds:


Minute to Win It types of games where kids complete an action within a stipulated amount of time are good ways to instill sportsmanship, competitive spirit as well as other motor skills. The ones we love are Chopstick PickupSnowman Stack or Cup Stacking, and Noodle Pickup.


Would You Rather games that are perfect for parents to learn about their kids’ preferences. Here, kids are asked to choose between two things –– critical to building socio-emotional skills in them –– and they answer as quickly as they can. Games like Would You Choose are excellent and fun ways to know your kids better without the need for stressful conversations.


Guess in 10 Junior is a guessing game designed for pre-readers and is perfect to expand your little’s knowledge of the world around the. 


Game Ideas for Children of 6+ Years Old

If you have children who are 6+ years old, you may want to check out these fun game night games:


Card Games are excellent starters while building up a weekly game night tradition. Not only do card actions like shuffling help develop motor skills in children, but card-based trivia games also help families know each other better, bond more, and learn skills like problem-solving, strategizing, and communication.


Guess in 10 is a collection of 50 card games that are themed accordingly to make kids learn about different things while playing. The series is a best seller on Amazon, with 10+ themes from Marvel to Animal Planet to the world of sports  so there’s a Guess in 10 for everyone!


Board games are another fun way to host family game nights. Like card games, there are a plethora of board games, each with elaborate themes and fun playing instructions. Board games help develop teamwork and strategy-making techniques in children. 


Guess in 10 and Found It are two of the best board games for children ages 6 and up, the latter being an interactive, scavenger-hunt activity that is fun for children and adults alike.

 

Category games are a unique take on word-recall, where players attempt to list words fit for a particular category, each starting with the same letter. Categories such as 'town' or 'actor' are decided by rolling a die, and each participant either shouts their answers out loud or writes their list on a sheet of paper. Category games increase vocabulary for everyone and cultivate fast thinking abilities in children.


Rapid Rumble is our favorite category game, innovatively mixing excitement and fun. Players roll the die to pick up a category card and race with others to eliminate as many letter cards as they can.

Kids Playing Rapid Rumble

The ones with the least amount of cards at the end of the time limit win! Rapid Rumble comes with 120 category cards, 100 letter cards, a wooden die, a timer, and an instruction manual for easy setup. Like other Skillmatics games, Rapid Rumble also enjoys a high rating on Amazon, with multiple positive reviews.


Game Ideas for Children of 8+ Years Old

Let's look at some games that you can choose if you have children aged between 8-and 12 years.


Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought is perfect for any game night. Aimed at creating fun memories via innovative challenges, this is an easy-to-learn card game, with each card containing questions or to-be-done actions. Learn about your loved ones and bring your family members together in this thoughtful conversation starter. Each pack contains 110 question cards, 20 action cards, and 20 wild cards, plus an instruction manual and other booklets.


Guess in 10 Marvel:

A baby girl playing skillmatics marvel guess in 10

Another simple yet engaging game of cards, Guess in 10 Marvel lets participants guess the Marvel character in the card with up to 10 questions. You can use bonus questions and clue cards and play one on one or in teams. This is the perfect game to build key skills like communication, team building, decision making, problem-solving and more!


A couple more games that we love: He Said She Said, a guessing game where everyone tries to complete a story by writing the lines that they feel best follows an initial line. 


Geography game where participants think of a place whose name starts with the last letter of the previous place. Interactive games like Flying Carpet - where you have to turn a rug upside down without stepping off of it - and Balloon Ping-Pong, where you play a game of pong with a balloon instead of a ball or a shuttlecock are also great options and great fun!


Scheduling family game times at least once a week in not only a great stress-buster but also helps strong communication skills between family members. Family game nights help build essential skills in children and help break the ice between members, all while having fun. Stock up on snacks, choose from family games to play at home, and vary the sweepstakes to introduce more excitement, and you've got a winning formula at your fingertips. In this article, we've given you some fun family game night ideas  and we can't wait to see how you implement them!


Tag @skillmatics on Instagram to share your game night memories!