Do you enjoy playing board games with your kids? When they say, “Do you want to play a game with us?” do you immediately put down what you’re doing and join in?
I must admit, I’m not very good at doing this. Quite often I say, “I’m busy at the moment. Maybe another time.” Unfortunately, ‘another time’ doesn’t arrive very often.
About 8.30 pm, my daughter Imogen said, “Let’s finish off the evening with a rousing game of Scrabble. Who wants to play?”
“Do you want to join us, Mum?” asked Sophie as she opened the box and emptied the contents on the kitchen table.
I almost gave my usual response but instead, I closed my computer and said, “Yes.”
Gemma-Rose placed the board between us and then handed round the bag of tiles. I extracted 7 cream coloured squares and then arranged and rearranged them on my letter rack trying to make a good word. My rack was positioned so no eyes but mine could see my tiles.
“Don’t worry about hiding your tiles, Mum. If we can see them, we can help you.”
Help me? Perhaps my girls didn’t have much confidence in my Scrabble playing ability? No, that wasn’t it at all. They just don’t play board games in the usual way. An individual win isn’t important to them. Their object is to play the best they can as a team.
“I can see a word,” Charlotte said. “If you use your ‘j’ and the ‘a’ in the word ‘groan’ you can …”
“But if you move your word to that other ‘a’, you’ll get a triple word score. That’s even better.”
“What letters have you got, Mum?”
The girls weren’t thinking about the outcome of the game, but I was. I had a secret thought: “I hope I win!” Old habits, you know. And I thought I would win. I was well ahead. I was trying hard not to grin. But then two minutes before the end of the game, Imogen found a spot for Sophie’s ‘c’ and ‘r’ that gave her a big triple word score.
“60 points in one go!” All the girls grinned. Sophie won the game. But I didn’t really mind losing. You see, I didn’t really lose. I was part of the team who together earned a very respectable Scrabble score. That last 60 point word was amazing. Yes, that was worth grinning about!
So why do we play board games? Of course, homeschoolers will tell you they’re educational. Yes, while our children are having fun, they’re absorbing all kinds of useful things such as maths, vocabulary, and thinking skills. But maybe this isn’t the most important reason for playing games with our kids.
Here are two other reasons:
- Playing board games makes us slow down and concentrate on the present moment. In order to play properly, we have to push away all thoughts of our usual concerns. For a few minutes, all that matters is the game and the joy of playing it. And of course, our children.
- Yes, if we put aside our own occupations with smiles and glad hearts whenever we are invited to play a game, what does this tell our kids? We’ll be saying: “You are important. I love spending time with you.”
On Christmas Day, my girls will say, “Hey, Mum, do you want to play this new game with us?” What will I say? What would you say?
So I’m wondering…
Do you play board games with your family? Do you play by the usual rules or do you ignore them? And what is your favourite game? I’d love to know!
Images: I took these photos while we were on a recent holiday at Swan Lake. We found a good selection of board games on a shelf in our cottage.