When our girls were little we played really simple board games with them. We also like to do jigsaw puzzles together, so for a long time we had puzzles with 100 – 150 pieces. These were really fun because the pieces were big enough for little hands to manage. We started with games like Chutes and Ladders and Candyland, and we even had a game that was based on the American Girl dolls and their stories. We played Scrabble and Uno and Monopoly (although that one never ends!), and the girls loved playing a silly game called “Headbanz.” That’s a fun game where everyone has a headband with a little slot in it to hold a card that you pick from the pile with an animal, or food, or household object on it. Of course, YOU can’t see what’s on the card, but all the other players can see if you are a horse or a butterfly or a bicycle or a hamburger or a pickle.
You put the card, facing outward so all the other players can see it, and then each player tries to guess what card they have by asking questions. But the questions can only have “yes or no” answers. It can get really funny, with both kids and parents laughing hysterically when mom is a hot dog or dad is a mosquito! When on of the kids is a bottle of ketchup or a soccer ball, the questions become so silly that everyone has great fun. Another game the girls really love to play is Spoons. It’s kind of an old-fashioned game that we all played at summer camp or church retreats, but it is still a lot of fun, especially when everyone grabs a spoon and Daddy keeps on playing, not even noticing that all the spoons are gone. Then the “laugh at Dad” commences while he remains clueless. But he sure can beat us all at a game of Gin Rummy!
After summer camp this year, we discovered a new-to-us game called Dutch Blitz. It’s a pretty fast-paced game, and you have to be paying attention the whole time or you’ll miss your opportunities to get rid of the cards in your Blitz Pile. This one doesn’t leave too much time for talking to one another because if you do, you’ll miss something and then someone else will win! So we play this game for a while, and then we switch it up to something else so we can have a conversation while the playing commences. We have also advanced to puzzles with more pieces than we started out with, but a few weeks ago we started one that Mom thought would be challenging at 1,500 pieces. It was challenging, alright!
We always start out trying to find all of the edge pieces so we have an outline to give us some direction. Well . . . we couldn’t find ONE of the edge pieces. We left that puzzle on the dining room table for close to two weeks, all of us taking turns looking for that ONE edge piece every day, and we never found it! But even though we could not conquer that challenge, we will be back at it as the days grow colder and we set up the table in the family room, in front of the fireplace, and start a new puzzle. I hope we find all the edge pieces this time.
Even though our girls are both teenagers now, they will still ask for family game night on a Friday or a Saturday, often times instead of going out with their friends to school events or just to “hang out.” I’m grateful that we started this family tradition with them from an early age. Life gets pretty crazy-busy when the kids grow up and have all of the busyness of the teenage years, so we are doing our best to stay focused on family, together, in the midst of an ever-changing world around us. Home truly IS where your story begins and we continue to write our family’s story day by day, week by week, and year by year. We are now looking forward to a little family getaway in early October, and you can be sure we’ll be playing some games at night after the camp fire dies down and we get our jammies on. Home is where we belong, and family is our “tribe.” I hope your family can find time for building traditions together.
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Angelina- Petite Haus
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