Games are a gateway to family time
BY COLLEEN ALMEIDA SMITH World Associate Editor
Monday, January 14, 2013
1/14/13 at 6:44 AM
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We are a game-playing family. My husband and I grew up with family game time and continue it with our children.
Board games, dice games and even Wii - "Mario Party 8" or "Just Dance," anyone? - can provide hours of family fun. My mom says my brothers and I practically learned to count by playing a variety of card games as children.
Family game time can be a great bonding experience, where laughing, joking and cheering each other on is part of the fun.
The games allow you to learn about one another and learn new skills.
Here are a few of our favorite games that can be played with families of young children:
Tenzi. Our latest obsession is billed as "the world's fastest game," and it is incredibly easy. Each player has a set of 10 dice, and the object is to roll the dice as fast as you can until all 10 show the same number. Whoever gets there first yells "Tenzi!" and then the fun begins again. It's like Yahtzee but much simpler, and everyone plays at once. We broke the game in Christmas night by playing with various family members who rotated in and out.
Qwirkle. Matching colors and shapes are the keys to this game. If you complete a row of six of the same shapes or six of the same color, you get a qwirkle - and six bonus points. It is simple and strategic at the same time, but the game can stretch on for a while.
Gather 'Round Dinner Game. This entertaining game is played during a family meal. (We enjoy it at weekend breakfasts.) Press a button and the light lands on a sentence telling you what to do. The actions range from the easy - "Wink, snap and clap five times fast" and "Everybody eat a bite of dinner" - to the difficult - "Go around the table naming a vegetable beginning with each letter of the alphabet" and "Think of an animal for everyone to guess using yes or no questions."
Our other favorites require a certain level of literacy to play:
Trivial Pursuit. We have various sets of questions, including boxes from Trivial Pursuit Jr. and a pack of Disney cards, that allow my 8- and 12-year-olds to play on almost equal footing.
Scattergories. My kids are getting really good at this game in which you roll a letter and then all of your answers must start with that letter. You can earn two points for a two-word answer that both start with the letter. (If the letter is "m" and the category is TV show, you get one point for "Modern Family" but two for "Mork and Mindy.") The timer makes this extra challenging.
Monopoly. We like to play one of the variations of this game where each player is dealt three properties to start and we set a timer for one hour. Whoever has the most capital - that is money and property - at the end of the hour wins.
Sorry. It's a classic draw-a-card-and-move-your-piece game, but I still love playing it with my 8-year-old.
Colleen Almeida Smith 918-581-8481
Board games like Monopoly are great for family bonding. HASBRO / AP file
Tenzi is like Yahtzee but much simpler. Courtesy