Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Joy comes as Family Game Nights

Gathering around a table has long symbolized community for me. Yes, there are holiday traditions among various combinations of family and friends. But there are far more everyday moments. As a family of four, we eat dinner together with few exceptions. We often share meals with friends. And we like to play games.

This is where I find joy.

We got a new table recently. I'd been dreaming of this for the space we have. It's a counter-height square table that seats eight. I'm still hoping to find a rug to bring in some color and break up all the wood, but I feel at home around this table.

And we've been breaking it in with some competitive matches of Bananagrams and Skip-Bo. Games go through phases around here, especially as the kids grow into games they can play. {Unless, of course, you're talking about Settlers of Catan, which has remained a fixture among our best adult friends since February 2007 when our obsession began.}

Come take a seat around our table ...

If you're sitting around my table, you'll eat food that is easy to make. I like to cook dinner but I cook simply. I don't like recipes that have tons of steps or millions of ingredients. I really like eMeals and recipes I've learned and tweaked to our preferences along the way. I don't bake much, but that doesn't mean we don't like sweets.

And for entertainment purposes, I wanted to share some about the games we're into right now. The first list is about games Cate, my first-grader, likes to play.

  • Bananagrams :: Cate is still learning about the speed element of this game, but she likes finding words to use. Right now we play this together. It's a boys versus girls thing around here. Of course, that means Greg is just making sure Ben doesn't swipe any of his letter tiles in the quick pace of making words in crossword fashion.
  • Skip-Bo :: A card game that says it's for ages 7 and up. It's about ordering cards while trying to get rid of all your own stockpile. 
  • Catan Junior :: I already told you about the adult addiction to this game. Good thing there is a kid version too. Like the original, it's about expansion and strategy. 
  • Blokus :: The board reminds me of Tetris, but here your own pieces can only touch corners. Plus there is a competitive element of blocking your opponents. Sometimes when the kids are sleeping Greg and I like to break out this one. Shhh. 
  • Sorry! :: This one always produces the insincere "SORRY!" but it's a good lesson for kids to learn to be good sports when games don't go their way. Ben is close to being able to play this one. 

And for the younger kids, like my 4-year-old Ben ...

  • Uno :: Ben just recently learned this one. It's good for numbers, colors and matching. Thanks to Diego and Dora, they both have long had the "Uno!" part down. 
  • Sequence for Kids :: This is my favorite preschool game. It's easy enough they get it, but it also involves some strategy. {No offense Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders!} The goal is to get four of your own markers in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row as your draw cards that match animals pictures on the board.
  • The Best of Charades for Kids :: I'm not a fan of charades generally, but I like that my preschooler who doesn't know how to read can still act out words based on the pictures on the cards. Each card has one picture and two words that can each be performed. Ben is especially good at animals and sports. 
  • Hedbanz :: Once I can get beyond the intentional misspelling, this is a good game. It's like 20 Questions for trying to guess what picture is on your head. 

When I think about what brings me joy, I can list various people and places and moments. But so many of them come back to being gathered around a table, sharing a meal, playing a game, laughing and talking through real life, and making memories. For the first time, I'm in a season of motherhood I'd consider freezing time, you know, if that were possible. I'm a big fan of age 6. Playing games is certainly a part of that.

What brings you joys? Any board games by chance?

I'm joining Holley Gerth for this week's Coffee for Your Heart. I don't drink coffee, but challenge me in Words with Friends any day. {I'm KHT on there, if you're wondering!}

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  1. It sounds like y'all have a great time! How wonderful that you're teaching your children lessons about sharing, leadership, community and competition (the right way) through fun! I bet your joy reaches the rafters. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and I'm following you on FB and Twitter. Nice to meet you!

  2. KristinHillTaylor2/19/2014 8:06 AM

    Thanks, Angie! It's nice to meet you as well.

  3. Jennifer Jackson Linck2/19/2014 8:09 AM

    I can't wait until Jackson is old enough to play games! I love your new table. It's almost identical to ours and we love it! We always had dinner as a family when I was a kid. Something I want to pass on to my son. It's not as common in today's busy world!

  4. KristinHillTaylor2/19/2014 8:12 AM

    Dinner together is something I want to be common in our house, even though society tries hard to pull us away from that. I'm glad we're not alone in that.

    Seriously, Cate being 6 is my favorite age yet. And board games are certainly part of the why I like it so much.

    It's good to see you here, Jennifer! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Beautiful table!! And love that you have family game 10yr old LOVES Uno!! :)

  6. KristinHillTaylor2/19/2014 1:00 PM

    Thanks, Kristin! If he loves Uno, y'all should check out Skip-Bo, if you haven't played it. :)

  7. KristinHillTaylor2/19/2014 1:02 PM

    Thanks, Mel. In 11+ years of marriage this is the first time we've ever had a brand-new table picked out for a certain space. The others have been hand-me-downs. In fact, we rarely ever buy new furniture. It fits us and our space so well, which makes me excited to have it.

    We had a Princess Yahtzee game Cate used to like to play. I bet Mae would like that one.

    Hope you're having a great day! And I hope it's warming up for you like it is here!

  8. Holly Solomon Barrett2/20/2014 6:58 AM

    I love games too. My family are big game players and it's one of our greatest joys. And your table is fabulous!! I love a square or round table where we are all in similar proximity to one another and can see one another and can really commune together. Great post, friend!!

  9. KristinHillTaylor2/20/2014 9:45 AM

    Thanks, Holly! Hope you're having a good week!