To a very large extent, the kids of the 21st Century — as it has unfolded so far — are heavily addicted to screens in a way which no other generation ever has been before.
Sure, today’s kids may not watch as much TV as previous generations — but that’s only because they’re watching YouTube videos on their tablets instead, or else playing video games non-stop from a very early age.
That’s not to say that screens are bad. Many children may benefit in fundamental ways from exploring the kind of fun, heroic archetypes depicted in some popular video games, for example. Nonetheless, there comes the point where detachment from the real world seems like an ever-increasing risk. Perhaps one day soon you’ll want to take your kids out for an exciting day at an escape room challenge, only to find they’d much rather stay at home in digital space.
For the sake of providing a bit of balance, here are some great and classic non-digital games you can play with your kids to ensure their imaginations, creativity, and interests manage to flourish in the real world as well as the digital one.
Charades is one of the classic games of happy families all over the world for good reason. It’s just fun, it takes some creativity and imagination, both to guess and to mime the different things being portrayed, it’s challenging in an entertaining way, and it’s a great occasion for some innocent laughter to spread around the room.
Playing, and enjoying, this game is a pretty simple matter of choosing a designated “mime”, having them act out something — a film, an animal, or a song, for example — and then having the other members of the family take guesses, either one at a time, in teams, or altogether.
It’s easy to adjust the game to make it more interesting. For example, it can be played with one team vs the other, in which both teams are trying to score enough points to outdo each other.
Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is a relatively recent addition to the board game scene, but has already become one of the world’s most popular board games in the relatively few years it’s been around. In fact, the original game has proved so consistently successful, that a variety of expansion and add-on packs have been released to add new dimensions to the game, and allow more players to join in.
The concept behind this game is that each player represents a faction who is striving to amass resources and build enough roads and cities to dominate the board. This is, for the most part, a trade simulator, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s simple or dull.
Games of Catan can become tense, and require a great deal of strategy and innovation — great things to develop in any child.
Paper and pen general knowledge competition
Tests of general knowledge are some of the most consistently popular and widely occurring types of game found in the world. Entire game shows, for grown-ups, are based on this template after all. Just look at “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.
Pen and paper general knowledge games can be set up in minutes, and provide a wealth of fun for the whole family. Simply pick a series of categories, pick a letter of the alphabet, and compete to see who has the most original (but factually correct) answers.