In an age where screens and electronic devices dominate our lives – everything from phones to talk to friends and family or playing games, tablets for turning on the lights or heating from the comfort of our armchairs and large screen tvs to stream the latest must-see drama, putting down those devices or turning off the television seems like a hard task. Once that device is put down or turned off, what do you fill your time with? For me it’s reading but that is a solitary activity and as great as reading is, it excludes the rest of the family (unless you are reading to them).
Family entertainment has changed an awful lot since I was growing up, where board games, card games and tabletop games were the best way to spend quality time with family and friends. Thankfully this type of play and social interaction seems to be making a comeback in a big way and getting more and more popular.
Board and tabletop games offer more than entertainment, they encourage social skills, concentration, creativity and help to educate, as well as having other benefits of learning patience, sharing, turn taking, how to win and lose gracefully and can even help with speech and language skills. They also have surprising benefits of keeping the brain active and helping with mental stimulation and memory function, so it is not just kids that benefit! And unlike solitary games that are played on phones and tablets, they get the whole family interacting with each other, from the youngest child to the oldest of adults.
There is an abundance of games of the market for kids, teenagers, adults and families. Some require a great deal of time to be invested in game play – Monopoly played properly can take a good few hours. Others require very little time and can be completed in 10 minutes (our favourite at the minute is the fast card matching game Burger Party). And then there are strategy games that require you to think and plan your next moves like chess and draughts, or a brilliant combination of the two in Prometheus (we love this challenging game that is so simple to play). Or if you just want something completely different then we have been really enjoying escape room and puzzle-type games.
Sitting around the table for some face-to-face gaming is far superior than faceless online gaming, is a lot more fun, has an excellent social aspect and can bring people closer together. They can also help relieve stress, especially when laughter is involved.
At Our Family Reviews we love playing board games and tabletop games and the kids are always asking what game we will be playing of an evening, they enjoy the family time as much as the adults and are quite happy for their phones to go away. So why not check out the game reviews in our Fun with Board Games feature and see if anything piques your interest and gets you and your family around the table playing, laughing and competing – but most of all, spending quality time together.