For kids who are accustomed to three-dimensional video games, an ordinary board game may seem pretty unexciting. For adults, those classic board games may have gotten a little old, too. Beat board game boredom with these creative tips for making family game night fun again.
Change the rules
Inject some new interest in an old favorite by tweaking the rules. Try something different every time, but remember: No one is allowed to change the rules once the game has begun.
- Monopoly: Go backwards!
- Scrabble: Spell people, places and proper nouns only.
- Trouble: Pop any even number – not just a six – to start your pieces.
- Candyland: Eat whatever you land on: gumdrops, peppermint sticks, peanut brittle, ice cream… you get the drift.
- Chinese Checkers: Play as teams: yellow and red against blue and green, for example.
Reward the winners
Every now and then, the board game winner should get more than just bragging rights. Kids take great pleasure in beating their siblings (and parents). Make their win even sweeter by rewarding them with a little something extra.
Each week, every player brings a dollar (or a quarter) to the table. All of the money goes into a money pot, and the winner of the night’s board game takes possession of it. Each week that follows, the same money pot is brought back to the table, and more dollars (or quarters) are added. The person who wins game night at the end of the month keeps the money, and a new pot is started the following week.
List a variety of non-monetary rewards on a slip of paper. Place all of the papers into a reward jar. The winner of game night pulls a slip of paper from the jar to find out what she’s won. For example:
- The privilege of choosing the next family night game
- Permission to invite a friend to spend the night
- No chores for a day
- Double allowance next week
- Choice of dessert (or main course!) for Sunday’s dinner
Try something new
Try a bunch of new games with little or no investment.
Jump online and check out auction sites such as eBay. Visit yard sales and flea markets. You’ll find barely used games for pennies on the dollar.
Libraries, community centers and other public places may have lending programs for games. Look into it… or start your own.
Trade with friends
Exchange games with other families. Place a return address label on all of your games, make a list of them, and have your friends do the same. Circulate the list and take turns borrowing each other’s games. Cost = $0.