Some time in February I dreamed up the idea of having a family game night on Saturday nights. During the week my husband and I are busy with meetings or working in the evenings but on Saturdays we are always home together.
I honestly thought of the idea as a way for all of us to have fun. Even Little Lady enjoys playing games with us. We have a Jenga-like bug game that is fun and Pop the Pig is always a big hit for both kids. Little Lady can entertain herself with game pieces and cards while we play Candyland or Chutes and Ladders. Even Go-Fish is fun for all of us (she sometimes talks to the extra fish and sings songs while we play).
In addition to table games, Mini Me almost always requests duck, duck, goose. I don't know where this child was introduced to this game but he went through a phase where he wanted to play it every single day. He still asks for it on Game Night but sometimes we are able to stave him off with hide and seek. I must say, we play this so much that my young children are impressively good at playing hide and seek. Little Lady can even hide by herself and stay there for several minutes. Mini Me will tell you, too, that Mommy is the best hider in the family - and I am! (The irony of this has not escaped me because outside of the game I can rarely "hide" without being found by someone who needs something). A favorite for both kids is "hide the animals". One person hides a few Little People Noah's Ark animals in a room, then everyone comes in holding a matching animal and must find the match. This could go on for hours.
After a short time of enjoying an evening of fun and games, I noticed how very much Mini Me looked forward to Game Night. Several times a week he asks, "Is it Game Night tonight?". The manipulative side of me emerged: Let's say that we take this fun family activity and make it one of our family traditions. Saturday night is Family Game Night, no matter what. We could even make it Fun Supper and Game Night. Because then, if I am getting my very young children hooked on this tradition.... it might last until they are in elementary school: "Well, I can't really spend the night. It's Game Night at our house!". Or even high school: "Nah, I can't go out tonight. It's Game Night!" Or maybe even college: "Mom, can I come home this weekend? I have dirty laundry, and maybe we can do Game Night?"
Wishful thinking, perhaps.
But really, I love a good tradition and Game Night is already one of our "things". We make mini pizzas together and gather for a rousing game of hide and seek. I know that my husband enjoys it as much as the kids and I do, too. Every Saturday at lunch he yells, "It's Game Night tonight! Woo hoo!"
To think that it could ignite desire to hang out as a family in my future teenage children is a great thought, but I already know that as it is, we are making some good memories. And to see Mini Me so excited about Game Night is really, really fun. Little Lady even copies that excitement... just because she loves to be excited for anything. But some day she'll get it. Game Night is awesome and it's worth being home for.