I don’t know about you, but my family has never been into games.
The one thing I wished my family did more of was play games. We had a couple of years where we did in fact play Just Dance and Taboo, but they didn’t end quite well, which is probably why we never kept at it afterwards!
Now that I have Nolan and Kimber, I would like to bring in some old school games that I certainly enjoyed as a child. Nolan is very infatuated with technology and understands what a PlayStation and XBOX are–thanks in part to his daddy! However, as I’ve found out recently, he has a knack for Hungry Hungry Hippoes, so I may be right in my thinking that introducing some of these games I will be talking about in this post, will be something he might enjoy too!
Unfortunately, Kimber isn’t old enough to actually play with us, but I’m hoping watching the two of us would give her something to look forward to in the future. So, here were some of the games that I thought could be really good contenders for the three of us and maybe possibly your family too to play during the holidays.
Last September, while my sister was in the hospital, Nolan and I spent a good amount of time together and on Nickleodeon, they had some advertisements for the newest creation of the Connect 4 franchise; we were intrigued, Nolan especially, but I’ve always been more into the original setup, so I wasn’t too interested in this version.
I have many, many memories of playing this game in school. While I was in elementary, I took speech and every Friday we had a popcorn party, where we sat on the floor, ate popcorn, and played a different game (thus how this post came about!) each week. Connect 4 is a very easy game to understand as you have the structure itself and two different colored coins or chips, the objective is to not only block the other player, but you also have to connect four spots in a row in order to win.
Connect 4 is a lot like Bingo and Tic-Tac-Toe as you can go in many directions: diagonally, side to side, and up and down. As long as you win “fairly” then anyone at any age can be a master at the game itself.
When I was in elementary school, I took Speech, and I would be in there for maybe 20-25 minutes a day and I specifically remember Fridays being the best day of the entire week because it was our party day. Our teacher was so sweet, and she would make popcorn for each class, and we’d play different games, but it was a ruse because we still had to do our lessons in between turns. She was a smart and sneaky like that! Anyways, I tried to rack my brain trying to figure out which ones we played, and I really hope that I can teach my nephew someday soon.
Jenga is very unique, it is made up of rectangle sticks and requires you to really think about the overall design, whenever it is your turn, you pick a stick from the very bottom of the build or a little higher. For most people, you rarely went from the bottom as you need good bones for everything to stay up and if you take one from that section and it turns out it was helping from breaking down the whole thing, you lose. My nephew has always enjoyed stacking things up and blocks in general, so toddlers would really love playing something like this because they’re always doing things with their toys.
For this game, I learned it at the nursing home back in October. If these ladies ranging in age early 70’s to mid-80’s can play, anybody can do it. My nephew is four and he just loves playing this game anytime he comes over. It is usually the first thing he wants to do! What he doesn’t know is that he’s learning a bit of math too!
It is fairly simple once you figure out the steps. You have a paper with the numbers 1-12, two dice, and 12 chips or coins as my nephew prefers to call them. The main goal is to roll both of your dice and say it lands on a four and seven, this equals out to be seven but you’ve already covered up your seven with a previous play, so you have three options, that is if these other numbers are not already gone, you can lay down two coins on your four and three or exchange them with a five and two or six and one, which is even better because it is better to remove the number one as you can’t get a natural one with two dice.
I like a lot of card games, but my ultimate favorite–even if I’m not the best at it!–is UNO.
I have never been able to figure out how long I’ve loved UNO, but it had to come after middle school though. It doesn’t show up in my earlier memories and this kind of makes sense because I do remember playing an awful lot from 2005-2009 with my family and friends at slumber parties (do you remember those?!) and again, it is pretty easy to follow, but there are a few symbols that can be somewhat tricky, like the reverse and skip cards. These can be really annoying if you are playing with a large group of people and nobody really knows who is next in line, so to make things easier on yourself and the newcomers, I’d pick those guys out before you start the game entirely.
There is an episode of The Golden Girls where Dorothy is playing Gin Rummy with her mother Sophia, and she always loses the game and Sophia basically drives her completely insane after every round so she gives up and decides no more. By the end of the episode, you learn why Sophia chooses to play it with her daughter and they end up playing a round during the last few seconds of the show. I guess I’m the same way with UNO. I love playing it with my family the most, it’s where I have the most memories, and it doesn’t matter on the age because my nana was in her late 70’s when we taught her so it’s not all that difficult once you know what each card means while the game continues.
In a way, I am like Sophia because I like the talk and watching everyone’s facial expressions as they arrange their cards and it’s one game that being an observer can have its advantages… As much as I’d like to win a round or two, I am fine with seeing someone get excited instead. This is what I hope to teach Nolan the most; it’s okay to allow someone to win but you never, ever tell them afterwards, because then they’ll think you forfeited the game and they’ll want a rematch and that attitude doesn’t make good challenges, especially if they lose against you.
What are your favorite games to play during the holidays? Which one do you hope to teach your child or family member someday?