In my mother’s family game days are important–board, card we enjoy them all. As a child, we would gather and play cards every Sunday; my aunt, cousin, sister, parents, grandparents, and I. While our favourite was Shanghai Rummy (similar to Phase 10), we played many others, including the dreaded Uno* which my mum kept in the morning basket (it’s not uncommon to find games in a homeschooling family home that helps develop and encourage particular skills).
As my family dispersed over time–with people moving away, or members becoming increasingly busy–we went from a large group to a smaller consisting of just my aunt, grandmothers, and I–we also needed to change the day to accommodate our schedules.
Our gathering as a family for game day is important and something I would like E and V to experience–so we find ways to include them in a few different ways.
-We play games that are created with their age group in mind.
This is, by far, our favourite game to play with E and V, or for them to play alone. It’s also been a great way for them to view losing in a different way, which is great for emotional regulation. When the crow gets to the orchard before we gather all the fruit, aka we lose, rather than get upset we just say, “It looks like the crow needed it more than us. He may be very hungry.” And I mentioned that they can play alone, which is very important. They are able to completely set this up, which is so wonderful for their independence as there are too many children’s games that require adult setup.
This is one of E and V’s favourite games. I’ll be honest, I got my fill as a child so I’m rather pleased it’s, yet another, game that they are able to completely set up and play together–but I always make myself available for when my presence is requested.
This is a newer game, they just received for their birthday, but it’s become one that they are regularly requesting. The goal is to gather the chicks who have escaped from their coop. Perfect for two little chick lovers who currently enjoy counting everything.
-We play games that they can participate in, albeit slightly modified. This is great for when we want to play a favourite and they wish to play along or when we have a gathering and still want them to be included.
Before sharing, I wanted to emphasize that one of the reasons this is successful is because we provide them with as much independence as we can. When we play with cards, they can use this holder to help them hold and see what they have. We use something similar to this, that hubby made, while my grandmother has these at her house for them to use. Also, as their abilities increase the more involved they become in each game.
While we play Cranium, we pull out this game for when it’s their turn–we created special cards (sphere, cube, snake, dog…) for when they wish to do a sculptorade. They may use the same die we do or the big one, but we make sure to use those questions. This way they are able to participate just as we do and we all are able to enjoy ourselves.
Azul. This is the first game we began providing individual game pieces to E and V. They draw when it’s their turn up to five tiles (this has increased from the two they would have when we first began playing when they were 18 months old). When they want to swap they discard and then draw another. Their goal, similar to the game itself, is to match tiles.
Sequence. E and V, our little match lovers, enjoy finding the matching card on the board and placing a chip–strategy will come in time.
Rummikub. As E and V are becoming more and more interested in numbers and counting, they enjoy pointing out the colours and going over the numbers they draw and really enjoy making sets.
-Games for learning skills.
Bazzaar. An old bartering game, by Discovery toys, that’s no longer being manufactured but you can still find it on eBay and in Goodwills. If you’re interested, this site may provide enough information to create something similar–fun DIY.
Racko. They understand quantity pretty well and that larger numbers mean more. So with a little reminder card, numbers in order 1-6, they enjoy pointing out when they notice a card is more or less. But that is just looking at first digits (hence 1-6 as the cards only go up to 60) and they are more about placing cards in slots. Again, something they will become more involved with in time, but is currently filing certain needs, such as fine more skill and coordination.
(Interested in games about finance? I have you covered here.)
What games does your family love to play together?
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*They would have various piles, some going up and some going down. It was rather frustrating for this Autistic/ADHDer.