Festive family fun
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Festive family fun

With Christmas less than a week away, we at BrainBox have been thinking about family. Christmas with children can be taken over by toys and presents, but really, religious reasons aside, Christmas to us is all about family and friends coming together and celebrating life.

Many families have regular game nights, but we think between now and Christmas, Family Game Nights should be high on the list of priorities. Gathering around a table or sitting around the living room floor can create a bond and a warmth like no other. Throw away the stress of the shopping, the wrapping and how long it’ll take to cook that giant turkey you ordered and settle down to a night of healthy competitive family bonding. It has so many positives for children to have these special fun nights with people they love; they create learning environments without them even knowing about it and become memories and traditions to carry on to their own children.

We all have our favourite games from childhood that are still gong strong now, Monopoly, Guess Who etc, but don’t forget the new games on the block. Whether it be a simple game of Animal Snap for under 4s or a game for over 4s like Alpha Animals, Name 5 for children aged 10+ or Qwirkle, a simple colour matching strategy game for anyone over the age of 6, you can mix in the new with the old and learn how to play the new ones together, whilst teaching them your old favourites.

We asked some of the bloggers we work with why they host family game nights and these were their main reasons:

• Develops Strong Character - Children all want to be winners but don’t always know how to handle losing. By hosting family game nights, children begin to learn how to lose gracefully, how to joke around and how to celebrate wins.

• Problem Solving - In many games, you are invited to solve a problem. Playing helps children think critically to solve problems, which is a useful skill in school and in life!

• Reduces Stress - Laughing and having fun is a great way to reduce stress and forget about your worries (even if it’s just for an hour or two).

• Enhances Academic Skills - Playing board games is fun, but what children don’t know is that their academic skills are being enhanced in strategic ways. Board games also offer hands-on learning, which is a great way to increase understanding.

• Communication Skills - Children are encouraged to communicate in games, and in some cases, cannot win without saying the words needed. Depending on the game, they may need to call out a phrase or words to play. They also have to communicate with the other players, enhancing their conversation skills.

• Family Bonding - You will be surprised how much you learn about your children in just playing together.

Ayse at www.arepops.com said “We love family game nights in our house and the sillier the game the better. Also, not being so strict on the rules when you have little ones helps... a lot!”

Jenny at www.thebrickcastle.com added “We have family games night regularly. It's often the only chance we have to spend a couple of hours all together as a family - adults, teenagers and younger children. We start with games and snacks to include the younger two, then pack them off to bed and move onto more complicated or grown up games, and beverages”.

Be sure to share your game night pictures with us over at @BrainBoxGames

Recommended games

Alpha Animals

Race through the animal alphabet with this great game, an adaptation from Green Board Games' first ever game.

My First Animal Snap

You'll be roaring with laughter matching animal names, their young and the sounds they make.


Qwirkle is the quick matching game of shapes and colours!

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