Lets face it, we are all busy. Who has time for a game, right? Think again. Game nights may be just what the doctor ordered. In a time where kids are over-scheduled and parents are glued to their smart phones {{guilty as charged}}, gathering around a table (or laying on the floor) is more important than ever.

I’ve learned that if it’s on the calendar it’s more likely to happen — so schedule it in. Pick a day of the week or weekend and stick to it. Get the whole family involved in the set up. Have a few different game options, grab some snacks and turn up the music!

Choosing the game
Think personality…do you have stackers, story tellers or strategists? Games linked to an existing interest/ skill will generally have a greater rate of success.

Length of Play
Younger players are more likely to enjoy a quick game (10-15 minutes) while grade school kids can manage longer play lengths (20-35 minutes).

Game Play
Competitive or collaborative? Both! Learning to win [and lose] gracefully is just as important as working together. While collaborative games focus on team building, competitive games expose players to healthy competition.

Age appropriateness
Choose games that have appropriate concepts and length. Whether you are working on building a particular skill set or have a little genius remember, the goal is to have fun.

Cheating
Don’t allow it. Who wants to play with a cheater? Game Night should be fun for everyone. Letting kids (or adults) cheat sends the wrong message and you may end up with a behavior problem that escalates.

Games are not just child’s play. Game Night should be something the entire family looks forward to. Look for games that provide a great mental workout and prove to be challenging — yet allow for success — regardless of a player’s age.

Spot It by Blue Orange Games is a Towles Family favorite. Not only can you play with a wide range of ages [eye-spy matching sort of game] but you can also play in any language — which in our bilingual household is a definite plus.

For more unique and fun game ideas check out the Game University series on the aMuse Blog.