I gave board games to nieces, nephews and children of friends this past holiday season. With so much emphasis on technology, sophisticated hand held devices, Facebook, texting, television, video games, etc. I thought it would be nice to share some "old fashioned" devices like checkers, chess, Go To The Head Of The Class, Connect Four, Parchesi, chinese checkers, Clue, etc. Well, to my surprise I heard that these games were very well received. I found families sitting down together to play the games with a big bowl of popcorn to share. Others wrote that it was nice to have some quality time as a family and one person told me that he learned so much about his children simply by sitting down with them and engaging them in conversation through the games. Board games are relatively inexpensive now. Parker Bros. (the manufacturers of Monopoly) said recently that the market for "old fashioned" games is slowly diminishing - which is unfortunate. My recommendation for parents, grandparents and others is to pick up some of these board games (check out yard sales) and leave them in the kitchen or playroom of your home and when you hear "We're bored!" take out Parchesi and enjoy some authentic human interactive fun time. You might be surprised at what you will learn about your children over a bowl of popcorn and a friendly game or two. I know of families that have a "Family Game Night" once a week so that game playing is a regular routine. Here is an entry from my book ("180 Days") about my last year as an elementary school principal at Moreau Hall in Easton:
"I had a chance to visit the students in the classrooms during indoor recess today. It was fun to talk with them. Most of the students played games or read. Some finished up schoolwork. Others played with Legos or building blocks. This is a good time for students to socialize and to learn to get along. I played Connect Four with some students and lost three times. I did win one game of checkers. I lost one game of checkers to a student who said to me afterwards "You need more practice!" He was correct. We all need to play checkers more I thought to myself."