|not as fun as these guys make it look...|
At one point I decided to do a regular craft day. Each week, the kids would come home from school and I would have paints and project all set up. We created cool jellyfish watercolor pictures and made owl drawings using our left hands. It was glorious. Except there was always a big mess for me to clean up afterward and I would have to display four versions of the same picture. We ended "Crafty Fridays."
I imagine that other families are able to do things consistently. That we are aberrations and our kids will suffer for it. I picture the dad bringing home pizzas and the mom popping popcorn for a family movie tradition that's lasted years. In this imaginary family, the kids grow up to rave about their perfect childhoods to anyone who will listen and certainly don't require therapy to discuss how their parents' lack of routine made them unstable.
But, parenting is something that you make your own. And in my parenting, there is little consistency when it comes to "fun" activities. ***I keep putting "fun" in quotes because, for my introverted self, fun is sitting on the couch with a book and not talking for a while, and that is not the version of fun I'm referring to here.****
Instead, I've decided to lean into my strengths. I may not be able to pull off fabulous moments of family bonding regularly, but, I'm good at surprise fun. An after-school ice cream cone...occasionally. A trip to the museum...once in a while. And, game night...every so often.
For Christmas, we got the kids a ton of games. We have played most of them. Not on the same night every week, but when we have the time and energy so that by the end of the game we all walk away feeling closer, not ready to kill each other.
Here are our favorites:
Otrio...I heard about this on instagram. It is a little more expensive but totally worth the cost. This is great for a quick round or two or ten. It goes fast and is strategic. Think higher level tic-tac-toe.
Shifty-Eyed Spies...This is a hoot! Each person is a spy and you're trying to deliver messages to other spies around the table without being caught. You can only use your face to communicate. We have laughed and laughed during this game. Bonus points for playing with a seven-year-old, they haven't mastered subtlety yet and their winks are the best.
Telestrations...Another great one to play with a mix of ages. You pass mini dry erase boards around the table and try to guess what the person before you drew. The rounds move quickly.
Codenames...I guess we like fast paced games because this is another one. Kind of like taboo with a spy bent (maybe we also favor spy games...hmmm). You have to get your team to guess your code words without guessing the word that will blow up the game--not literally, of course.
Uno and Scrabble and Bananagrams are perennial favorites.