As opposed to the standard New Year’s resolution column, I’m going with “What I did on my vacation?” In a nutshell, I was focused on maintaining eye-contact with my kids instead of all of our eyeballs being transfixed on electronics, which is, I suppose, resolution-like.
For screens, my teens now both have cellphones, then there are the video game consoles, not to mention Netflix and the new Disney + channel. It is so easy to be pulled toward them and entertained by them. Instead, I focused on playing a lot of board and card games over the holidays. This house policy also leaked over to New Year’s celebrations at a friend’s condo.
What are the take-aways?
You don’t have to be drunk to play like you’re in an altered stated. I love the game Pictionary, but with the right partner, I can be unstoppable. Googly Eyes takes the drawing game up a notch. You don glasses that impair your vision to draw, with three different levels of difficulty. This was a hit with the spectators and the players, especially since the glasses had a retro, Willy-Wonka-esque look to them. I was also able to liken it to why you don’t drink and drive to my kids.
Some people wouldn’t play any games, stating: “I don’t play games.” When I asked why, one said they never played games growing up, and another said it is a waste of time.
George Bernard Shaw would beg to differ when he uttered: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Aside from a fountain of youth, who knew that games could also be therapy? Given some of my issues this past year, I was really drawn to a new game called Stuff Happens. I was highly amused that it was based on a Misery Index, and you order events in terms of how traumatic they are. Not only did I gain insight into my friends’ and kids’ ideas of calamities, but I also learned that the creators of the game don’t think that someone being sick on you is as traumatic as I do.
For numeracy and hand eye-coordination, we played Dutch Blitz. (OK, who am I kidding? We played it because it is a lot of fun, and my daughter dominates at it.) This game will get your heart rate up and if you are playing against a millennial, prepare to get schooled, and appreciate that they have skills we simply don’t. This game might be an inter-generational bridge.
We also enjoyed a few classic card games, dominos and Mastermind, all of which I played growing up. Employers and some parents keep begrudging that students today don’t know how to think, but games such as Mastermind help with reasoning and using logic to solve problems (and they’re fun).
Our family is also a big fan of Catan and Ticket to Ride. The latter train game, would be even better if they learned to spell Parry Sound in their North American addition, but it gives me hope for passenger rail to be restored to the North.
Sure, there are games I play begrudgingly, but overall, how can a game be worse that being glued to a screen? With games there is conversation, laughter, and skill development that is impossible through screen-time.
So …Who wants to play?