Family Game Night is one of the best nights of the week at my house. It’s something we definitely don’t want to miss out on while traveling. Time spent playing games with family and friends is time well spent and it’s time that should be planned into every family vacation. And there are benefits to doing just that! We all know the obvious benefit—bonding—but there are other benefits as well.
Benefit # 1—It’s fun
One of the best things about getting together with friends and family and playing a game is the laughs you have at the table. We are social creatures. Playing a game together gives us an opportunity to be social.
No matter the game, there are always laughs to be had when you get together and play. Some games can be pretty hilarious (think Twister) while others may be more serious (Chess), but even during those games you will find the time to laugh and enjoy yourself. No matter the game, there are always laughs to be had when you get together and play.
Benefit #2—It’s affordable
Another great reason to take some games along with you is that they can make your vacation a little more affordable. Many forms of entertainment that you go out to these days cost a fair amount of money and are once and done. Instead of some expensive activity why not play games. The games don’t have to be $30 board games to have a good time playing. They can actual be quite simple.
How about Pictionary? Not an artist? No problem. This game is actually more fun if you can’t draw. Get ready for loads of laughter when your team can’t decipher what you’re drawing. You can create your own game set with a white board and some fun words to draw, Just write yhem on small pieces of paper.
Charades is another great game. You’ll never go wrong with a classic game like charades. Simply divide up into teams, have one person from each team act out a movie, book, or TV show, and see who will guess the correct answer.
Telephone is fun for both children and adults. One person starts the game by whispering a sentence into the ear of the person sitting next to them. They whisper what they think they heard to the person on the other side of them. This continues until the sentence gets to the last person. At that time, the person says out loud what they think they heard. (This is a good morale lesson on gossip, too.)
Taking a night and staying in and playing games together can definitely help reduce the overall cost of traveling.
Benefit #3—Playing games builds social skills
In today’s world people are now more connected with each other than in recorded history thanks to technology. But that same technology has the power to alienate and isolate us. It is scary seeing my grandchildren in the same room, on their iPhones/iPads/tablets with earbuds in their ears, playing a game or watching Netflix, seeming oblivious to what goes on around them.
I think that all too often problems in our society arise from the lack of socially interacting with each other in positive ways. Take time on vacation to unplug and interact with another.
In the end, outside of the family bond, this to me can be one of the best ways to help my grandchildren. Having the social skills to interact better with others can only lead to good things. The act of gathering to play a game in itself starts the process for learning social skills. These skills will carry forward into school and or work and help us to better interact with others.
Benefit #4—Playing together builds a legacy of memories
You just never know when or how a legacy moment will happen, but when it does it will burn itself into your memory for a lifetime. While other forms of activities will certainly give you good memories, there is just something about games and the repetition of playing them that creates great memories. These moments will live forever in the minds of those that were participating.
Some of our favorite games are Farkle—all you need are 6 dice, a pad of paper and a pencil to keep score. Easy enough to carry in a Ziploc bag in your purse and whip it out when needed. On a vacation to Europe, we had an unexpected long layover in Heathrow while flying to Ireland. My sister and I started playing it and the sound of the rolling dice attracted some young Irish students. We ended up passing the time laughing and playing with them until we could continue our trip.
How about Spoons? I taught my nephews the game while visiting them in Germany. (The game is kind of like musical chairs only played with spoons and cards.) The game is lots of fun but so was teaching them to balance a spoon on their noses.
A family favorite is Dummy Rummy. I have no idea how old this game is but I’ve been playing it for over 50 years. I can close my eyes and see us playing it in those August weeks each year we spent at the cabin. Or on the deck of the ship cruising to Alaska. Or lazy days at the timeshare. No family reunion is complete without at least one game of Dummy Rummy going. (10 Card Rummy is another family favorite.)
If you want to play a card game and you have exactly four players, I recommend the game of Spades. I learned this game during the winter in snowy Minnesota when there wasn’t much else to do. That might be why it is the first game that comes to mind in inclement weather. You never know when storms will roll in and you are stuck inside with nothing to do on vacation. Having some games handy can save the day!
All things considered, having a few games along can be very beneficial for you and your family as you travel. Games can help when the weather is bad and help save money, either way they are another positive option for your family. The next time you pack for a family vacation don’t forget a game to two.