Last night I played Monopoly with Alex and his two friends. Just the four of us. We were up well past midnight, because you know how long that game can be, and so today I am tired. But that’s okay. I can afford to lose a little sleep. What I cannot afford is to pass up the chance to play Monopoly with my teenager and his two friends.
When I am asked to join in anything with my teenagers, especially a game of Monopoly, believe me I jump at that offer. Even if I’m in the middle of something. Even if I’m tired. Even if my kitchen is a mess and the dishes are calling and the laundry pile is ten feet high. I don’t pass up the offer, no matter what, because it’s an honor and a privilege to be included in whatever my teenagers are doing.
Parenting tip: Keep your children close, but your teenagers closer!
Lately I’ve been playing basketball with my kids. Am I a good basketball player? Hardly. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that my kids will grow up and remember that their mother often stopped what she was doing and joined them in a game of basketball. We purchased this adjustable basketball system last Christmas and it has been a great thing for our family. My kids often shoot a game of hoops together as soon as they get home from school or right before dinner.
This year for Christmas gifts again I am looking for things that will keep my kids interactive with each other. They spend enough time in solo play on their many computer devices. What they need is interaction with each other, because that’s what creates fond family memories. When my kids are adults, I want them to talk about the games and activities they did together in our home instead of looking back and saying, “Remember when we grew up, all the time spent in our rooms, on our iPads and iPhones. Ahh, good times.” — that’s not the childhood memories that I want for them.
I am a big fan of the traditional 4-in-a-row game but was always frustrated with the flimsy plastic structure that tipped over so easily, so when I came across this similar one made out of wood, I was like YESSS! Finally!! A classic 4-in-a-Row game, but made from durable high quality rubberwood. No tipping! Yay!
And check out how easily it stores away! Love it. This is a must this year for our family. It’s a perfect, classic game for two siblings to play together.If you are looking for a card game for the entire family, I highly recommend Five Crowns. It is a five-suited rummy-style game with a rotating wild card. It’s easy to learn and is for ages 8 to adult. And hey, it’s also a winner of over 10 Best Game Awards! My mom owns this game and whenever she comes into town she brings it with her. We all play and have so much fun, but my mom usually wins because she also plays at home with her friends. This year I’m buying it for our family so we can play it in between my mom’s visits and can beat the pants off her next time. Take that, grandma!
So there is a saying: A Family that Plays Together, Stays Together and I think there can be a lot of truth in that. A friend of mine sets aside one day per week where they sit down as a family and just play games all night long. I think that’s awesome, and I am working towards that myself. But it can be tricky when you have kids of all ages, like my family with an age group ranging from 26 down to 4. What do you do with a four year old when the rest of you are playing Five Crowns or Monopoly? Sometimes just sitting next to us with a coloring book and crayons works well to keep Aiden occupied. But when that doeesn’t work, we need to have a back-up plan.
Pairing him up with a sibling works well, and more often than not it is Aria who plays with him since she is the one closest to his age. I saw this wooden SainSmart Jr. puzzle that would be fun activity for the two of them.
It’s for ages 36 months to 10 years and made of high quality beech wood & non-toxic paints. I think it’s the perfect game to keep a four year old and nine year old interacting with each other. Aiden will definitely need Aria’s help with this, but yet he’s not too young to accomplish it himself once he gets the idea of how it works.
So far so good with my plan on getting my holiday shopping done early this year. If I keep this up, I might actually be able to relax this Christmas Eve instead of being up all night running around for last-minute gifts!
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