With the state the US economy is in right now, we keep hearing more and more about getting back to basics. This really means cutting spending because everyone is trying to save money wherever they can.
Most times, our indulgences are the hardest to cut back on. Something that seemed so simple before, now seems like a big stretch to our wallets. Take going to the movies with your family, for instance. The average size of a family in the United States is two adults and two children. So, we’ve got four people who need movie tickets for the new kid’s flick on a Friday night.
Depending upon where you live, movie tickets at the weekend rate can cost anywhere from eight to twelve dollars a person. So, $48.00 to go to the movies- for tickets alone! Then there’s always the concession stand offering popcorn, candy, soda and water. The prices on these items have been climbing higher and higher over the years. The price of bottled water seems to be the most outrageous of all of the high prices. By the time all is said and done, you may have just spent well over $60.00 for your entire family to see a movie. So, the big question is- how do you make cutbacks to your budget without cutting out your family fun time?
Why not start a family game night tradition? You may not be able to do it every week, or even twice a month, but doing it at least once a month will end up saving you big bucks, especially if you’re used to going out to dinner or seeing a movie on the weekends.
Start the tradition while your children are young. If you start playing games with them as children, they will continue to love games growing up and even as adults. Teach them to play fair, not to cheat and not to be sore losers. The fun will be ruined if a child (or even an adult in some cases) cannot deal with losing a game. Remember to tell them that a game is just a game and winning or losing doesn’t mean that they are better or worse than anyone else. If your children have short tempers and can’t handle losing, play games that don’t involve scoring, or tell them that you’re just going to play for fun.
As your children grow, choose age appropriate games. Choose games that are silly and fun when they’re young, and as they grow, start incorporating games that will stimulate their minds. Games like Scattergories and Scrabble are fun and involve a lot of thinking and concentration. Pictionary is a great game, also and can be played with few or many players. Be sure to have an updated edition of Pictionary, as some of the clue cards may be outdated from earlier versions. Apples to Apples is a silly game that’s a lot of fun, and the winners are chosen by luck of the draw. This game requires no skill. For older children and adults, try games like Scene It and Trivial Pursuit, but be careful- these games can be very challenging and if sore losers are playing and defeated, things may get heated!
Make up your own game
All it takes is a little collaboration and imagination! You can easily construct a board game out of poster board, markers, and odd little items to use as players. Create your own version of classic Monopoly with fun cards and street names! Involve the kids- they will have a blast decorating the board and helping decide on the rules!
Involve friends or extended family
If game night works well with you immediate family, invite some friends and other family members over for a big game night! Pick a game that will accommodate several players, and that will be more for fun than keeping score.
Don’t forget game night grub!
Make your own pizza and serve it up on the coffee table to your family and guests. Ask each guest to bring their favorite game night snack! That way, all you have to do is provide the pizza and set up the game. Encourage chips, popcorn and brownies- quick and easy pick-me-up foods that won’t require a lot of clean up.
Engage everyone in conversation during the game. Catch up with friends, learn new things about your children. Not only will you be spending quality family time together, you’ll be teaching your kids important skills that they’ll use throughout their lives, and how to act properly in social situations. Let the games begin!