You know how the saying goes? "The family that plays together, stays together." I can't personally vouch for a family that doesn't play together but I was fortunate enough to come from one who did play together. I had two younger sisters and that's all we did, was play. As we got older, we were involved in competitive sports and Mum and Dad were always there. Dad worked most of the time but helped with training and Mum was often the scorer or manageress of our softball teams. When we were quite young, Dad still played competitive volleyball, table tennis, billiards and snooker and we went and watched him.
Even games of Monopoly, cards, Chinese Checkers, draughts, or just throwing a ball around in the back yard, we always did it together. I've succumbed to the pressure and have a Wii on layby for the kids for Christmas but other than that, we play heaps of games together that don't require a lot of money and can be played indoors and out. Here's just a few, that don't cost a lot and are heaps of fun.
You don't need a fancy skipping rope. Just a piece of rope from the dollar store or from Dad's shed. Here's a list of skipping songs that you can learn. I can remember skipping at school. It was one of the 'fads'. No such luck these days with Moshi Monsters, Skylanders or anything else these companies like to throw at us. Maybe if we go back to more old fashioned games our kids won't worry about these things? That's wishful thinking.
A deck of cards won't set you back very much money and you can pick them up from second hand stores all the time for next to nothing. Its a very portable game and one you can take on holidays and is great for a family game night. Here's the top 5 family/kid's card games, according to about.com.
I was reminded of the all the ball games we played as kids at my children's school sports carnival yesterday. Tunnel ball was a firm favourite of mine and even if you don't have enough kids to necessarily play tunnel ball, there's heaps of different ball games you can play on your own or with as many people as you like.
We always had a tennis ball at home. Even if it didn't have any 'fur' on it, if it bounced, we used it to play "Sevens". Here are the rules for "Sevens".
The boys at school always played this. We used to play it when we could find the square piece of concrete to play it on which was the road in my neighbourhood. Not a busy road, just a friendly, quiet neighbourhood street. We always looked out for each other if a car was coming. There are many rules and variations of the game of handball but bouncing it over a line similar to table tennis doubles is the way I remember playing it.
A bit like "tiggy" or "tag" but instead of touching you throw the ball at the person. This usually ended up in all sorts of trouble due to the bigger kids throwing the ball really hard at the younger ones or brothers set upon brothers or sisters upon sisters but if Mum and/or Dad are in on it too, it can be a lot of fun.
Piggy in the Middle
I play this with the kids all the time, usually just before dinner. We use any kind of ball or toy and the kids get the giggles. We have a lot of fun. Its just a matter of one (or as many as you like) in the middle with two at either end throwing the object over the heads of the 'middle' while they try to jump up and catch it.
Board Games and Puzzles
Board games don't have to be the latest on offering from the toy store. There's heaps of games and puzzles always on offer from the second hand stores. Borrow and swap from neighbours or make your own. My 7 year old daughter is always coming up with a game or a puzzle. She now designs her own colour by number drawings. Some of the games are a little bit corny but it makes her feel good if we at least give it a go. Tic Tac Toe only requires 2 players, a piece of paper and a pencil or Hangman is another one for 2 or more players. Charades is an old favourite and simple topics like favourite cartoons or nursery rhymes will keep the younger ones interested.
The possibilities are endless really. I have terrific memories of playing all these sorts of games at church socials and camps, school and at home. They never cost a lot of money nor required a lot of equipment. I'm kind of looking forward to getting a Wii to give some of the exercise games a shot but I'll encourage our Friday night family game night to keep happening plus our afternoon muck around in the back yard.
This post is part of domesblissity's THRiVING - Thrifty Living feature.