One of the things I realized this summer was the fact that electronics have replaced all the board games we used to play.
Children have their favorite games at their fingertips on their own personal screens. Why would they want to bother taking out an actual game?
We used to be big fans of Bananagrams, but even that pleasure has been replaced by the hottest download of the moment. Yet, when I do suggest playing a real old-fashioned board game, they are thrilled. Not only that, but we connect in a way that passing the iPad back and forth during a family game of Scrabble doesn’t really facilitate.
My younger daughter is interested in the game of Life. She has absolutely no idea how to play it, but she loves the tiny people, the tiny cars, and the stacks of colorful money. I noticed her playing with it the other day and realized how board game playing was quickly becoming a lost art.
“What are you playing?” I asked, curious to hear her answer.
“It’s called ‘Life,’ ever hear of it? I don’t really know how to play, but I like it.”
Coincidentally, my oldest daughter became a puzzle addict this summer. She pulled out all of our old puzzles and put them together on our dining room table in record time. She then begged me to buy new ones with more pieces that she could cut her teeth on. I have enjoyed the silent reverie that goes along with puzzle making, no pings or beeps to indicate someone is winning or losing, just plain old thinking.
The other day we took a rare trip to the toy store (for more puzzles, of course) and met a very enthusiastic salesman who wanted to show us the latest games.
“We’re not really game people,” I said, trying to hurry out of the store without spending more money.
“Just give me one minute. I will amaze you,” he promised. I was too impressed by his enthusiastic salesmanship to say no.
Fifteen minutes later, gathered around a little table, he had us mesmerized by a card game called “Word-A-Round.” There were others we liked, but this one seemed to inspire the most competition and laughter, so I bought it.
Later that night, as we sat at the kitchen table playing our new games amid smiles and high fives, I decided maybe we were game people after all…
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.