Here’s something that you can talk about today over dinner or at your next family gathering: arranging a “Family Game Night”.

When thinking back at some of the best experiences I had as a little kid, it was simply gathering around the table with my cousins and parents and friends, playing board games for hours. Monopoly, Sorry, Operation, Trouble, Battleship, Clue, Risk, Life, Parcheesi. Bring back memories?

Then why aren’t we sharing that with our kids anymore? It seems — in came the video games — and out went the family time. Where kids spend countless hours alone now, glued to a television set or iPad, while their parents, arms crossed, wonder:

  1. When they’re going to get their TV or iPad back, or
  2. Where they can go, or what they can do, that doesn’t cost any money.

And Bingo was his name-o

So here’s some of the ways you can save and still have fun with family and friends for next to nothing:

  1. Set a date for family game night. Maybe every Thursday or Friday is your game night. It doesn’t matter what day, just make it recurring. You may get some “but dad, I don’t want to” at first, but it’s up to you to make it fun. And mix it up, so every week you’re playing something different. Make it fun. There’s lots of great game night ideas on the Internet, if you just spend a few minutes looking.
  2. Look for board games you already have. You have to have some buried away somewhere. If not, they can be had for relatively cheap or throw a couple quarters at a weekend garage sale. I’m sure there’s lots of people trying to empty their board game collections. Or better yet, ask your friends if they have any, if they would lend, and if they would want to join in on it too!
  3. Bring on the snacks. After all what’s a game night without snacks? Go cheap and make your own popcorn or cookies. In any case, whatever you spend on snacks (assuming they’re not gourmet) will be cheaper than going out.

Not free enough for you?

Just to eliminate all excuses, how about some free games, while we’re at it:

  1. Charades. My wife’s personal favourite. An acting game, where each player acts out a word or phrase and the other team guesses.
  2. Win Lose or Draw. Yes, a TV series from the 80’s, but you can bring it back to your living room for free. Split up into teams. Like charades, but with drawing.
  3. Fictionary. Where you pick an obscure word from the dictionary and have the other team guess.

And I’m sure you can think of many other free and inexpensive game night ideas.

But there you have it! Family game night is a great inexpensive way for your whole family to spend quality time together and create lasting memories. It’s also a great opportunity for your kids to learn social skills, and learn about competition: learn how to lose (and to win), and that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun.

So when’s your next big family game night?

 

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