Here we will discuss some of the different aspects of a game night for your family and put it all together in a Family Game Night Template. First lets make a basic list of the things you will want to have:
- Playing Space
- Clean Up
So what is the best time frame to set this all up? Well that depends on a few different factors. The main one being how many kids do you have? You will want to try to make sure that each kid has the opportunity to choose one game to play. A larger family may have to break it up into multiple nights to get everyone a turn, but you will want to strive to get multiple choices in each night.
The next point to consider is how are you going to handle dinner with all of this? Are you still going to have a normal dinner or are you going to have it as a grab and eat as you go night? I recommend the latter as you don’t want to waste too much time and energy in preparing a meal, that playing the games after become a burden for the parents.
Make sure you set up clear windows of time for each game so that all the game choices for the night have their fair share. If a game is dragging on and getting close to its end time, make sure to give a 5 or 10 minute warning and set criteria to determine a winner.
Lastly here, one trick I have learned as a parent is that the kids love when we run a little late and go past bedtime. Often when we are having fun or playing games, I will let things run a little long as it really elevates their enjoyment of the process.
So obviously you will need some games right? So first things first, determine who is picking games and in what order are they being played. You can have some fun with this or just go with it. One idea may be to play the games in reverse order then they were picked, so the game that was picked first is played last and the last one first.
Do your best to not limit the games available to choose from. I recommend that you get out games that will fit in your time frame of play and have them out on the table ready to go. Make sure that if your kids want to play a game that you did not get out, to let them know you will work it into an upcoming night. This is a great time to teach your kids about patience & making logical choices.
One of the problems that you may run into is that Ashley’s favorite game is one of Alex’s least favorite. This is a real example from my own life in that Ashley loves to play Apples To Apples and Alex not so much. This game finds its way into the games available to play, but not every time. While Ashley might be disappointed at first that her favorite game is not there, she has learned that she will still get to play it at a later time. Plus, once the games start going for the night they start having fun and forget about it anyway.
As I pointed out in The Basics, this is not the best night to have a big family dinner. In my opinion the food should be part of the fun of the night.
Make it a point to have foods that each kid likes as well as your self. Again this night is about having fun, and you do not want to be arguing about the foods available. A nice variety of healthy foods and snacks should be easily accessible throughout the night.
It is very important to have a nice playing area set up. Prior to getting the night started make sure that the area is freshly cleaned, as you will want to keep your games in good condition.
Next thing is to think about where food & drinks will be kept in relation to the actual playing area. You will want to make sure that things are not getting spilled in the wrong places. Also, keep in mind if you are playing games such as cards to try to put the food in an area where people won’t be peeking at others hands.
Lastly, make sure everyone has a comfortable seat. A sore bum can lead to a sour night very quickly. Being comfortable on the other hand makes it much more easier to enjoy the evening!
At the end of each game you will want to make sure it is completely in its box before moving onto the next game. Doing this will help keep the games intact and not get mixed up with each other.
At the end of the night, everybody should pitch in to clean up for the night. This is an important step that your kids should be included with. This will help teach them to be responsible with their possessions.
- Pick you start and end time.
- Have a plan of attack with grab as you go foods & snacks.
- Have a clean & comfortable area to play in.
- Set your order of picking games.
- Choose games to fit your window of time.
- Set time limits for each game.
- Warn if time for a particular game is low & set victory conditions.
- Allow for time to eat & snack as you go.
- Box up each game as it is completed.
- Clean up at the end of the night as a family.
I hope that this Family Game Night Template helps you and your family have a great game night!
As always, please do no hesitate to ask any questions, or leave your own tips & ideas in the comment section below. I truly do appreciate any and all feedback that you provide!
James W D