Once upon a time, the living room was the central space for family activity. You gathered around to tell stories about your day, connect with friends and spend quality time with your family. These days, kids are sprawled around on their smartphones and video game systems, your partner is glued to the television and you’re handling an urgent work meeting because your boss doesn’t understand what nine to five actually means. Instead of being upset at technology, embrace it by putting it to good use alongside other traditional fun family bonding activities.
Family meeting in the living room!
Making technology work with you is far better than trying to fight it. One way to share quality family time together with the help of technology is setting up cooperative gameplay (co-op) video gaming. While each video game console has a selection of co-op games, the Nintendo Wii and Wii U have the widest variety. Plus, the motion-controlled aspect of the system makes you relax and be silly.
Dance games are great if you want a family activity that also promotes exercise, and it helps expose you to pop songs your kids probably like. Band games, such as Rock Band, are also fun family bonding games. You can also play games online with a solid Internet connection through internetserviceproviders.com or a similar service. If you have multiple consoles, this allows you to take advantage of online gaming features that might not be present in the local co-op modes, and also lets you play on two screens at the same time.
European Board Games
Board games have been a fixture in the living room since there was even a concept of the living room. If your kids hate the idea of standard games, such as Monopoly, look into European-style board games, such as Settlers of Catan. These games promote complex strategic play, and often are more enjoyable and intriguing than the classic games you grew up with.
If you’re going to watch television, you should at least be engaged in the same show together. It can be nearly impossible to find a series everyone in your family enjoys, but even if not everyone agrees, have a conversation on why the family member doesn’t enjoy the show. Don’t passively watch the television — make it into a critical thinking activity on the themes of the show, character motivations and where everyone thinks the show is going to progress to.
Games for Small Children
Younger kids might not be able to join in on European board game night, but they are certainly well-suited for playing Jenga and other games that provide challenges for critical thinking and reflexes. Games such as Jenga help your kids to look at the overall picture and use complex thought processes to account for future game moves.
Jodi is a mom and kindergarten teacher originally from Alabama. She likes to think her Southern charm gives her writing a little edge.