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Frankly Fatherhood – Games Night

I would love to say that we have a regular weeknight dedicated to playing games with our kids. Alas, our fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants lives haven’t blessed us with such consistency in our family schedules. Playing games is just something that naturally happens when we’re all home and have the time. And it’s time that we all thoroughly enjoy!

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, it’s quite common to see our living room littered with half-open boxes of board games, a table covered in Lego, and a few decks of cards scattered on the rug. There are so many benefits to playing games with our kids. Learning to take turns, how to win gracefully, and how to lose patiently are important social skills we try to work on. Games can be very language-rich and help our young kids with their reading and speaking skills. We read rules together, solve problems, learn strategies, and practice patience and attention skills. I also really enjoy how games help to promote conversations, as we scheme and plot against one another, and relish together in celebration after a hard-earned victory.

Some of our favourite board games include Monopoly Junior, Sequence for Kids, Connect Four, Dominoes, Kerplunk, Guess Who, and Blokus. Some of the belly laughing, face-palm worthy games that my kids love are Doggy Doo and Flushing Frenzy – yes, both are games that involve poop! My six year-old just started playing Checkers and Battleship, which are gaining momentum and feeding into his competitive nature. We also really enjoy card games such as Skip-Bo, Uno, and the ol’ classic Go Fish.

Of course, there are games that our family haven’t enjoyed all that much. Operation results in too much frustration and the Pokémon card game makes me cringe every time it comes up. We’re not quite ready for Scrabble or Chess yet, but I’m hopeful they’ll be added to our family fun nights soon!

And while I try to promote screenless games as much as possible, we also do enjoy playing video games with our boys. Our recent purchase of a Nintendo Switch has been quite popular – to kids and grown-ups alike! Whether it’s a competitive game of Mario Kart with the neighbours, or some alone time building in Minecraft, age-appropriate video games can also offer some benefits to our kids. The right games can help promote problem solving, turn-taking, pre-planning, and creativity. Turn the volume off and the subtitles on and you’ve got some highly motivated readers on your hands. Kids want to be good at games and also like to teach each other how to play, making video games quite social if you set the stage for it.

So whether you choose to play cards, board games or video games, make it quality bonding time with your kids. Dive into the game together and have some fun!

Frank Emanuele is a proud father of two boys, a special education teacher, and a director of Dad Club London.


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