The Ridenhour household has lately sucumbed to an obsession of gaming. We bought a lot of new games for Christmas: Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights edition, Carcassone, Zombie Fluxx, and Munchkin. It’s one of our favorite things to do as a family, and for the past several months, I’d say we play a game either during or after dinner at least three times every week (usually Catan or Carcassone). Add to that an almost daily luncheon three-player game of Munchkin. The kids and I call it “Lunchkin.”
This is why I carve out so much time in our week to play games:
1) It makes me spend non-task oriented time with my kids. I’m not teaching. I’m not doing laundry. I’m not planning dinner. I’m just sitting there, playing.
2) It makes all of us laugh. A lot. Especially Munchkin.
3) It feels decadent, sitting there, playing those games. Like you’re having a terribly delicious dessert every day.
4) It provides family ritual/tradition. I love looking forward to small rituals in our family. Saturday morning pancakes, pizza-movie nights on Fridays, games, games games.
5) As a ritual, it provides a regular point of connection as a family. I’ve always held family meals as sacred, and am loathe to give many of them up during the week, unless it’s to share them with friends (friends are always welcome!). Playing games at the meal table extends that time together, and makes it feel even more like a special occasion.
6) It reduces stress. It just does.
7) It puts winning/losing in perspective. When you play as many games as we do, you win a lot and you lose a lot. There is ample opportunity to remember that we play because it’s fun, not necessarily to win (although winning is fun too).
8) It can teach patience and strategy skills, depending on the game(s) you like. We like games with a sense of story to them – funny characters, civilization building, Viking invasions – most of them have both elements of luck and strategy built in, and most of them take an hour or more to play. It’s been fun to watch the kids get better at playing our games and giving their mama a run for her money.
9) It helps homeschool feel more fun. There’s nothing like finishing up the hard work of the morning and sitting down to a lively game of Munchkin over a yummy lunch.
10) It helps me be in the present and really see and appreciate my kids and my family, and how precious our time is together. And really, if there weren’t any other benefit at all, that would be enough.
Do you have games you love? I’m always looking to add to our extensive collection!