Monday, March 29, 2010

Do you play board games with your kids?

We do but not as often as I would like. I wish we had a movie night, a game night, a spa night (for Kristina and I) and so much more. There just isn't enough time in the day. I work nights 3 days a week and work weekends while my husband is home. There isn't a lot of family time going on around here lately but the time we do get together is very special to us. It makes us appreciate it more when we get it less too.

It seems as though all of the games on the market now a days is all about competition and being the winner. When there is a winner though there has to be a loser. I don't like that. I know that my kids need to learn about being a gracious looser and all but it seems so hard and fast. When I heard about the idea of cooperative games from Family Pastimes I was all ears.
Play as friends, not as enemies! Our games foster the spirit of co-operation. Players help each other climb a mountain, make a community, bring in the harvest, complete a space exploration... They are never against each other.

After all, the initial impulse to play a game is social; that is, we bring out a game because we want to do something together. How ironic then that in most games, we spend all our efforts trying to bankrupt someone, destroy their armies — in other words, to get rid of one another! We soon learn how to pick on the other person's weaknesses in order to win the game.

Let's take an example. A simple, common party game for socializing youngsters illustrates our point. Musical Chairs fosters aggression and elimination. Played co-operatively (see our Games Manual), you will see how hugging replaces pushing, how ability and strength are used to help rather than push out of the way.

People of different ages and abilities should be able to play side by side, each making their best contribution. In a co-operative game, someone young and little can play with others older and bigger and not worry about being wiped out. We are all there at the end of it.

Some cautions. We don't protect children from not making it to the summit or completing the space voyage. Our games are designed to offer realistic challenges. But the cultural habit of competing and confronting adversaries runs deep. Some players end up fighting the game itself. We suggest that you'll get better results learning how to get along with Time, Winter, Gravity, and Mountains rather than fighting them.

Aside from all these serious considerations, some people just want to share an enjoyable and challenging time with friends. We feel that co-operative games will prove to be that friendly form of fun.

The challenge. In sum, games are used in various settings and for various reasons, Socialization, entertainment, academic learning, character growth, etc. Whatever your objective, we invite you to realize them by co-operative means. Parents and teachers trying to teach children to share, be kind to living things, and help others out often are troubled by games and recreation programs which undermine these values. Our games provide the opportunity to experience sharing and caring behavior. We simply don't have enough of such experiences.

Family Pastimes was kind enough to send us a game to review. We got to try out the game Max! Kristina was excited as soon as it came in. I guess she has this game at school and they play it all of the time. Its nice to see games like this in schools. Kids do need to learn from competition and it is important but its also good to have a lot of cooperative play.

We have really enjoyed playing Max. It's all about helping all of the animals get home and for Max the tomcat to get fed. It was a lot of fun and you can have anywhere from 1-8 players and its for ages 4-7. I also like that its a great game for both boys and girls. If you are looking for a new way to play games with your kids this is a great way to do it!