Last night my family sat down and played The Game of Life. I remember playing it with my younger brother when we’d go to my grandparents’ house on Sunday afternoons. And now I play the same game with my children. I hope they remember our family game nights fondly when they grow older!

There are several reasons I love playing board games. I’m competitive and like the challenge. They’re a great distraction from the pressures of life. I love to hear my children laugh as we play. If you’re not convinced that board games are your thing, consider the following.

Playing Board Games is a Frugal Way to Bond

Playing board games costs nothing more than a one time investment in the game, and most board games cost under $20. And while everyone is sitting around the table playing, memories are being made. Memories that last forever.

I still remember a holiday spent at my grandparents house. The entire extended family was there. I don’t remember whether it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I do remember we all sat in the living room playing Trivial Pursuit. We had two teams, the men and the women. And I remember being amazed at how much my grandparents knew!

All these years later, I look back at that night with great fondness. And it didn’t cost a thing.

Playing Board Games Teaches Life Lessons

Kids can learn a lot from playing board games. There are basic lessons, like taking turns and being a good loser and a gracious winner.

But as kids get older, more advanced skills are honed. Logic, memory recall, decision making skills. These are all important in life, and they can be learned in an entertaining way as the family plays together. The kids don’t even realize they’re learning lessons.

Last night while playing The Game of Life, our family talked about how decisions you make early in life can follow you for the rest of your years. Whether to go to college, how much to spend on a house, how many children you have…all of these things impact you in one way or another for a long time. It was a great discussion!

The Entire Family Can Enjoy Board Games

Our family consists of two adults, an 11 year old girl, and a 6 year old boy. It is very difficult to come up with activities that my daughter and son both enjoy. If my son enjoys something, my daughter generally thinks it’s too boyish or too babyish. If my daughter enjoys something, my son thinks it’s too girlish, or the activity is way over his head.

But board games can often be adapted to different ages. Even though The Game of Life is suggested for kids 9 years old and up, my son still enjoyed playing. I don’t know that he “got” all the rules and instructions, but he sure enjoyed moving his car around and counting his money!

One Last Bonus From Our Game Night

As we were playing last night, I became aware of exactly how much my daughter looks up to me and learns from me. As she took the first turn, she had to decide whether to pick a career or go to college. To pick college meant going into debt. My daughter looked at me, declared that debt is bad and opted for the career. (I do hope that in real life she attends college, but tries to minimize the debt while getting her degree.)

Later in the game she had to choose her starter home. She picked a home that she could easily afford, because she didn’t want to tie up all her money in a house. She then declared she made the frugal choice!

It’s nice to know that at age 11 my daughter knows more about personal finance than I did at 18. And I learned it by playing a game with her!

Do you ever play board games with your family? Which ones are your favorites?

Photo by Ella’s Dad.