(Family Features) - Even with all of the worries about today's economy, families can still enjoy fun, entertaining evenings together and stay on budget by playing board games. While board games can certainly be played and enjoyed at any time, a designated family game night provides an opportunity for families to share an economical night of staying in, having fun and creating new memories together.
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Hasbro, nearly half (48 percent) of Americans believe that a family game night is the most enjoyable form of family bonding, ranking higher than watching movies (22 percent), cooking (19 percent) and playing sports together (9 percent). Additionally, three in four (75 percent) Americans would rather play board games than video games as a group activity at a family reunion or gathering.
"Family game night invites everyone to turn off the outside world for a short time and reconnect with each other," said Matt Collins, vice president of marketing for Hasbro Games. "A new game generally costs less than other family entertainment options, such as dining out or attending a sporting event, making adding a new game to your game night repertoire an economical choice."
A night out at the movies can cost a family more than $40 and the experience is over once you leave the theater. On the other hand, a new board game often costs less than $25 and can be added to the family's game collection to be played again and again.
Are you ready for a great family night in? If so, get ready for a night of fun and schedule a family game night! Hasbro, the maker of Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games, suggests a few tips to maximize your family game night so that it is something the whole family will look forward to week after week:
Schedule it!: Decide in advance which day will be your family game night. It doesn't matter which night of the week you choose - any night will do! As long as the date is marked on a calendar that everyone can see and the parents make it a priority to keep the appointment, the night will be one to remember!
Involve everyone in the planning: Involve the whole family in the planning process by allowing the kids to pick the games or choose the snacks. For variety, rotate responsibilities each time you have a family game night.
Create a tradition: Whether it's a specific family-favorite dinner before game night, the way that teams are chosen or a 30-minute extension on bedtime, establish an activity on family game night that becomes a family tradition. This element will create even more excitement with everyone in the family.
Keep a family scoreboard: From week to week, recognize the family member who won the last game night by posting their name on a special scoreboard - perhaps it's a place of honor on the refrigerator. Or, create a family crown that can be worn by the winner at dinner or during the next game night.
Remind everyone: To keep the date with the family, set up reminders to make sure that game night happens. Set up an alarm on a handheld device or on the family computer. For the kids, put a note in their lunchbox reminding them about family game night. By building anticipation for family game night, you will help build excitement for family time.
Mix it up with special guests: To expand the fun, invite other families in your neighborhood to participate in a family game night tournament. Or, if you have extended family members staying with you or if you are traveling during a scheduled game night, invite everyone to participate!
The top reason to have a family game night is to have fun! However, whether enjoying a family-favorite game or discovering a potential new favorite, playing board games as a family provides other benefits too, including:
Laughter: Games offer a fresh experience every time you play, providing new ways to have fun and laugh together. Some games, such as Cranium and Operation, are developed with giggles in mind and would be a great choice on nights when everyone needs a good laugh.
Family Bonding: Game play allows your kids to learn from you and from each other. It encourages a sense of connectedness and respect among family members.
Learning: Games can be a subtle learning tool. For instance, Clue is good for learning deductive reasoning. Monopoly is ideal for teaching beginning budget skills and Yahtzee provides a fun way to teach simple addition and multiplication.
Life Skills: Games teach kids important life skills such as patience, concentration, teamwork and perseverance. By taking turns, following rules and even losing a game, kids learn skills that they can apply at school and in the home.
By mixing together kids and parents, turning off text-messaging and playing a board game, you'll have an evening of fun, laughter and love that will bring the family closer together and create memories for years to come.
Games for all ages
While the game you select isn't as important as the time spent together as a family, you may want to consider the age of the players and the amount of time available for family game night when selecting a game. To get you started, here are some all-time favorites, and a few new games, to consider:
Families with kids ages 6 to 8: Pictureka!, Sorry! Sliders, Operation, Monopoly Jr.
Families with kids ages 8 to 10: Clue, Monopoly, Cranium Family Edition, The Game Of Life
Families with kids ages 10 to 12: Monopoly, Yahtzee, Clue
Families with teenagers: Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition, Scrabble, Cranium Wow, Jenga, Catch Phrase, Trivial Pursuit
For more game ideas, visit www.FamilyGameNight.com.
Did you know?
- More than five billion little green Monopoly houses have been "built" since 1935.
- Cavity Sam, the long-suffering patient on the Operation table recently received a face-lift. He now suffers from such modern-day ailments as phone finger and bad plumbing.
- The highest sum of money that a player can earn in The Game of Life is $3,115,000, which is taking into account that the player lands on all of the spaces that give money and that the player has the highest salary amount.
- Tokens from the United States Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition were flown into space aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2007.
- According to a recent survey, Scarlet and Mustard are the most popular of the six Clue characters.