I’ve really enjoyed Mike Miller’s Be a Good Dad blog. It keeps me thinking about my most important job- being a good dad to my kids.
One of my great joys is playing games with my kids. Here are a few of the games we play.
This car game is a Newsome family original, though I bet many families have made up similar games. Luke is too little to play, so we divide up into two teams. One parent and one kid on each. Each team counts the following things (only the first team to point it out gets to count it): Volkswagon Beetles, police cars, school buses, taxis, planes, helicopters, water towers, cats, dogs, mommy cars and daddy cars (being the same make, model and color, but not necessarily the same year).
This is our most long-standing game, and is simply called “The Game.”
The Alphabet Game
This car game is the same one played by generations of families. In our version, it’s each player for himself (no teams). Only one letter per sign can be counted, so if one person gets a letter from a big sign first, the other players can’t get any letters from that sign. Pylon signs, even those with multiple panels, are considered a single sign. The kids can use license plate letters (very helpful for the X’s and Z’s), but the grown-ups can’t.
Before Delaney could identify letters, we played a derivative of this game called the sign game, similar to “I Spy,” in which we took turns pointing out a sign (“I see a Wendy’s sign”). If someone sees it before it’s out of view, it becomes that person’s turn.
“I spy with my little eye…a lizard.”
This classic game is a restaurant favorite of ours. Players can ask for the following hints: high, low or medium; in this room (since you can often see outside or into other rooms at restaurants); statue or not (since many of the restaurants we go to have little ceramic, concrete or plastic animals, etc. scattered about).
This is our current favorite. I like it because it teaches concentration and memory. One of the kids will assemble 10-15 of their little plastic animals. Most of them are dogs, cats or other small mammals and they are 1 to 2 inches tall. My kids name all their toy animals, and so most of them have permanent names. The kids will teach me the names of the animals, and then remove one or two of them while I close my eyes. I have to figure out which ones are missing and tell them by name. Then I do the same to them. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, and the kids really get into it.
The secret is to move some of the ones you don’t remove around to mess up the pattern.
I’ve talked about this family staple before. We have a small soccer field in the yard. Either I play one of the kids one on one, or we have two teams, with one kid and one grown-up on each. There are trees at roughly the 40 yard line that grown-ups cannot go beyond. In other words, an adult can’t get too close to the other team’s goal, so their kicks have to be from pretty far away. The kids can go anywhere thay want, including right to the opponent’s goal.
These rules make it surprisingly fun and competitive, though the rules will have to be adjusted soon to give me a chance, since my kids are getting bigger, faster and better at soccer.
We have lots of other games we play, including board games like Sorry, Trouble and Clue.
What are some of your favorite family games we should try?