Take Advice from the Ancient Greeks: Play Board Games

It’s as basic to the human experience as hunting and gathering food. And we have the ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians and Persians to thank. With the invention of board games came a way for humans to learn, play, grow and strengthen family bonds.

We use games in the Acton Academy studios often – as a reward for hard work and as a tool for learning strategic thinking, mathematics, writing and design concepts.

If you don’t yet have Game Night as part of your family life, I highly recommend it. Here’s why: For the very young, games teach the basic concepts of rules and staying within limits and how to deal with frustration. As your children get older, the power of games grows as a tool for learning probability and pattern detection. More importantly, games forge intimate family bonds as we learn about each other, laugh, get mad, resolve things and move on. Having fun together is an act of intimacy when done well.

When my children were young, we played lots of games but I did NOT have fun. I struggled with the balance between letting them win and ensuring they lose. Uno got boring for me and I got annoyed when one of my boys would lose badly. But we did it anyway. They grew and I grew.

Now on family vacations, we just need a deck of cards and our evenings are filled with rip-roaring poker games, Spades tournaments and Hearts competitions. We don’t miss our screens in the least and I wouldn’t trade those hours for the treasure of King Tut’s tomb.

Give it a whirl. Here are some top favorites: Dominoes, Blokus, Chess, Hangman, I Spy, Apples to Apples, Monopoly and, yes Uno.