Score big points all around on Father’s Day with games for dads, kids, families

Along with a card, favorite meal or dessert, lots of hugs, and a shorter-than-usual honey-do list, why not celebrate Father’s Day (June 18) with something just about everyone loves? Games!

Playing games together as a family sharpens many different skills, and depending on how competitive (or comparative) your family members are, offers just-for-fun bonding opportunities that are almost unsurpassed. Whether indoors or outdoors, a game of piggyback (who can stay on the longest?) or a chess tournament, the gameplay smiles will extend for miles and make memories that last a lifetime.

The Spruce, billing itself as “a home website offering practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you create your best home,” recently offered super-fun activities that could become excellent annual traditions in “10 Great Games to Play on Father’s Day.” Some involve getting a group of dads and kids together. For example, one game involves sending the dads to another room as kids write down what they think their dads’ answers will be to five general questions. Matching answers earn a point. Questions include “What is Dad’s dream car?” and “What is Dad’s favorite snack food?” (Some dads might draw the line at the “What’s in Dad’s wallet?” game!)

Other rollicking game ideas from The Spruce include Name that Tool, BBQ Relay Race, Blindfolded Obstacle Race, and more.

Dads will definitely find value in “Benefits of Family Game Night” posted by Monica Atkins in February to Mommy University. In it she invokes some of the classic board games and the many skills they develop, writing that “It is not just academic skills being developed over time by playing board games. Social skills are also enhanced as children improve communication and practice good sportsmanship traits.” She says playing board games develops character, promotes problem-solving, reduces stress, focuses energy in a positive outlet, creates family traditions, enhances academic skills, encourages positive social skills, enhances communication skills, and promotes family bonding. All that for just the cost of the game.

So valuable is family game time that one game-loving family put together The Board Game Family blog, touting that “families that play together, stay together.” As of March 2017 the site, which also offers a “board game gift guide,” boasted that they have “posted reviews of more than 340 fun family games” and “written over 330 family and gaming related articles to help you enjoy bonding time with your family.” They explain that because like most families, they get really busy with a wide range of activities vying for their time and attention, they really need to make time for connecting as a family and sharing fun.

Gameplay is fun, but it can also be packed with learning. Portable, boxed learning sets Get Ready for Preschool, Get Ready for Kindergarten, Spelling Words, Telling Time, Counting Money, Making Fractions build essential skills as they also offer play options. The last four create potential for multiple games using 4 double-sided Lotto game boards and 72 cards. The sets also have bold, bright, press-out pieces for use on 28 double-sided quiz cards.

To get everyone in the family “smarter” about our 50 U.S. states try playing State of Confusion, available in iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows platforms. Start off learning key facts including state capitals, state abbreviations, state flowers, state birds, state flags, and state nicknames. Next, put together a USA puzzle—a perfect game to learn state names, the location of each state, and which states are next to each other. Finally, test learning by selecting Quiz mode.

How exactly does spending a chunk of Father’s Day playing games with kids benefit Dad—the one being honored on this special day? Kids will be over-the-moon to be spending time with him! An ordinary holiday will look kaleidoscope-bright, and an ordinary dad will dazzle. After all, as author Pam Brown noted, “Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, singers of songs.”

And players of games!