Board Games as a Family Hobby

A Family Game Night How-To Article

By Dad

Gaming is one of oldest forms of entertainment. Game pieces have been found in archaeological digs around the world, dating back to some of the oldest civilizations on the planet. In modern times, Board Games have become one of the most diverse and interesting pastimes available to us.  There are so many different types of board games, card games, and miniature games available today that no matter who you are, there is a game out there that you and your family can enjoy.

Family game night has become a staple in households around the world, and for good reason.  Playing tabletop games together gives your family a reason to get unplugged from screens and interact with each other. Board games tighten much-needed family bonds and encourage families to spend time together. For kids, family game night provides an opportunity for new experiences and can be used as learning opportunity to reinforce basic math, vocabulary, reading and writing skills.

Cooperative games like Castle Panic and Pandemic help families learn to work together, problem solve and overcome challenges together. In contrast, competitive games like Munchkin, Ticket to Ride or Small Worldcan teach conflict resolution, critical thinking and problem solving. Games like Hi Ho Cherry-O or Jenga can help kids practice basic math skills, manual dexterity or other educational skills.  The multitude of games on the market today make it possible to find a game that is right for your family game nights, no matter what your family gaming goals are.

Setting up family game night is easy! Pick one evening a week to play a couple of games as a family instead of watching TV or playing video games.  Let each member of the family have a turn picking the game to play so everyone has a chance to play the games they want.

Make time to check out your local game store and shop for games together. Boardgame stores can be great resources to learn about new games and some will even let you play them before you buy.  I’m lucky that gamestores near me feature open play areas where we can go and play games outside of the house, providing a change of scenery. Playing games in a store play room is also great if you don’t have space at home for games that require more room.

If you don’t have a local game store near you to help you choose the game right for your family, check out Youtube or a review website like to find out what other people are saying about games they love to play.

Game Night Rules:

We have a rule for our family game nights banning electronics from the table when playing board games or role playing games. It’s too easy for the entire family to get sucked into their individual screens, causing us to interact with each other less than we should. Setting up a time where the whole family can come together that doesn’t include electronics is a much needed break for everyone. All it takes is commitment by the whole family to show up for that weekly evening to play games.

Be aware that you need to give yourself permission to adjust your rules as needed. As an example, my father enjoys playing miniature games, but because of his poor eyesight he needs a tablet with zoom to read rules and warscrolls for Warhammer Age of Sigmar. We make exceptions where it makes sense.  The main goal of our “no electronics” rule is to keep us from getting distracted from playing the game.  This rule may not work for every family, but it has served us well to keep everyone focused and having fun.

Our family has built years of amazing memories playing games on family game night. It has helped our family bonds grow tighter.  Countless game nights and camping trips, hauling our game collection along, have taught us that the family that plays together, stays together, and you don’t have to be staring at an LCD screen to have some serious fun.

Want more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

Family Room Ideas: Kid’s Play Area Rugs

When you’re setting up your family room and gaming area, it can be hard to find the right rug or playmat to help your littlest gamers feel at home. Adding the right playmat can make your game space the most popular room in the house. We’ve scoured the seemingly endless supply of family room play mats and living room rugs to help find the perfect accessory to keep little ones busy.

Extra Large Kids Rug City Life

What kid doesn’t want the perfect carpet for driving cars and trucks on? If you’re looking for a playmat with a city layout for your toddler or elementary aged kids, this play area rug may be just what you need. With clearly defined buildings, roads and crosswalks, the City Life carpet lends itself to playing with cars, dolls, action figures and toy boats. At 79” x 40”, it delivers on size, leaving plenty of room for kids to play with friends and siblings without arguing about space. Find the Extra Large Kids Rug City Life on Amazon Here.

KC CUBS Playtime Collection

Educational family room accessories are so important to us, but it can be hard to find a playmat that is suitable beyond learning to crawl on. It’s especially difficult to find rugs with more than just one or two learning prints on them. We were so excited when we found this area rug with vibrant prints of the alphabet, seasons, months and days of the week. The carpet can be ordered in a variety of different sizes to make sure that it fits your play space, and the illustrations are clear and hold up to foot traffic. Find the KC CUBS Playtime Collection Playmat on Amazon Here.

Learning Carpets Chalk Walk

Don’t worry about having to bundle up on a winter day to get the kids moving. Instead, consider bringing playground style fun indoors with the Learning Carpets Chalk Walk. Durable enough to be used as a family room playmat, this rug has a fun hopscotch game printed on it to inspire jumping and active indoor play. Find the Learning Carpets Chalk Walk on Amazon Here.

Melissa & Doug Round The Barnyard Farm Activity Play Rug

We’ve purchased may Melissa & Doug products over the years, and I was so excited to find one of their family room accessories to add to this list.

For those of you looking for a smaller area rug to use as a playmat, Melissa & Doug has created a beautiful activity rug with a country theme. Small enough to be machine washable, this durable barnyard carpet will keep little cowboys and cowgirls busy with tending the fields and driving the included tractor along the dirt drive. The playmat also comes with a cow, pig, horse and a trailer, which will inspire your toddler to start playing as soon as you open the box. Find the Melissa & Doug Round The Barnyard Farm Activity Play Rug on Amazon Here.

Smithsonian Rug World Map Learning Carpet

If you didn’t catch what we said earlier, we really love adding learning accessories to our game room. We and fell in love with this World Map learning carpet. Not only is it a fun play mat for a classroom, but the Smithsonian map of the world looks smart as little gamers navigate their way around the game room. Find the Smithsonian Rug World Map Learning Carpet on Amazon Here.

Cusphorn Kids Carpet

If you are looking for family room playmats that are a bit more stylish, we understand. Bold colors and crazy designs aren’t for everyone. If you’d rather have muted tones that are pleasing to the eye (and easier to match to your living room furniture), then Cusphorn’s Village Life carpet is the way to go. With simple, neutral colors, and a plush velvety feel, this uncluttered play mat is pleasing to adult fashion sensibilities as well as little hands and feet. Find the Cusphorn Kids Carpet on Amazon Here.

Baby Play Mat With Fence

You know those bold colored foam puzzle floor tiles that have been interlocked on the floors of every preschool since the mid-90’s? Well, they’ve gotten a face-lift. If you have infants at toddlers underfoot, then this foam playmat may help to keep them in their own space. Once you’re done with tummy time and ready for rambunctious toddlers, lay the fence down as a nice curved border, creating a sophisticated and stylish foam playmat that will be the envy of moms stuck with primary-color family room accessories. Find the Baby Play Mat With Fence on Amazon Here.

No matter which direction your home decorating leads you, we hope this list helps you to find the perfect kid’s playmat for your game room.

Want more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

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