At the beginning of the school year, I would cringe as Thursday night rolled around. I should have been excited because Friday was coming, but Thursday nights in my house meant I needed to find a game to play for Family Fun Night. My first grader had vocabulary homework on Monday, math on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Family Fun Night on Thursday. Sounds great, right? No. It was a stressful pause in our evening routine! Play a game with three children aged 7, 4, and 2? No thank you! I realize now how terrible it sounds, but it was torture at first.
We started by playing simple games – Go Fish, Uno, or Rush Hour on our iPad. These were simple and semi-included everyone; anything to check the box that we completed the homework. Then, for my daughter’s birthday in October, she received a few board games as gifts and was so excited to play. Something shifted, and I realized how important this time was. So, I adjusted our evening routine; I fed them dinner a little earlier and pushed bedtime to ten minutes later. I made it work!
Fast-forward to now, Family Fun Night is amazing! I love the time we spend together playing a game. For Christmas, my girls asked for new games and they also saved their money to buy new ones (below is an awesome list of our favorites). Growing up, my favorite board game was The Game of Life, and when my daughter received the game as a gift, playing it was like a trip down memory lane! We do have to plan which games we play according to my toddler’s schedule. If she didn’t nap and goes to bed early, we play more complex games, and we keep it simple if she is joining in on the fun!
Now, as the school year comes to an end, I thank the first grade teachers for the homework assignment. It opened our eyes to so many new games and activities. It made me slow down, pause, and relish in this time with my children. It’s easier said than done, but I promise, once you make the effort to adjust your routine and make the time, it’s worth it!
Here is a list of games suggested by trusted moms (including FCMB contributors)! I have listed them according to suggested age – youngest to oldest:
Finding Dory Matching Game
Let’s Go Fishin’
Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed
Hi Ho Cherry-O
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Chutes and Ladders
Sequence for Kids
The Game of Life
Race to the Roof
Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride, Jr.