Heather loves loves loves to play games. Eric and I, not quite as much. But, like many of the sacrifices that you make for kids, playing games comes with hidden benefits for all of us when we participate. I get the satisfaction of knowing that I'm spending time with my daughter, doing something that she enjoys, Heather gets the happiness of spending time with her mom and/or dad, and she learns manual dexterity, reasoning, good sportsmanship, the list goes on and on.
Most enjoyably for me, playing games with Heather gives me an ever-changing glimpse into the way her mind works, and I often find new and delightful treasures there-treasures that make me glad that I took the time away from the laundry or other mundane parts of life to experience.
The Smurf Game: This one is an old favorite, and I do mean old favorite. I used to play this game with my maternal grandmother when she and my grandpa would come on their annual visits to our home. It's basically a smurfed up version of the card game "War", which makes it super easy for kids to figure out and play. I bought these cards on ebay back when I was the single aunt, traveling around from niece to nephew.
Yatzee Jr. and Memory--always a delight.
Guess Who. Eric got this for Heather for Christmas last year, and we've all enjoyed it thoroughly. It's ideally for age six and up (apparently), but with a little help, Heather's been enjoying it since she was four.
The Lorax Game: This one is a little tricky to remember how to play, and sometimes I can't find the instruction card which makes life hard, but Heather likes it, and since it's so small it travels well. Also, I'm a big fan of anything Dr. Seuss*, so this is definitely a keeper.
This is a new game we've come up with lately. We call it "the reading game", and Heather loves it. I bought a pack of reading flash cards at the dollar store last year, and we started out using that, though as the game gained in popularity, I googled "printable sight word cards" and printed out about two-hundred more.
To play, I put two cards out, word face up in front of Heather. She can choose which word she wants to sound out. If she's able to get the word right (which is nearly every time, because I help her liberally--we want this to be fun, you know?) then she gets to keep the card, and I put out a new one, so she always has a choice of two words. To make things interesting, and to keep her from realizing that I'm totally letting her win, every once in a while (like once or twice in the whole game), I'll work it so I don't help her quite enough (generally on a word that I'm pretty sure she actually knows and is just being a little lazy), and if she doesn't get that card, then I get to keep it.
We play for a pre-determined amount of time, generally somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes, and at the end, we count our cards and whoever has the most wins. Heather always beats me handily, which pleases both of us.
The cards I bought have the word on one side and pictures of the word on the other. The sight words I printed out just have the word on one side with no pictures. So far Heather seems to like them both equally, I think because one has the joy of pictures and one has the joy of feeling more grown-up "like mom".
And then Heather recently discovered Uno. Love it! She can hardly wait to meet up with her Corry cousins so she can join in the Uno fest.
(Here's hoping the cousins haven't moved on to another game by now!)
*Except for a few of those awful awful live action movies they made a few years back. Mike Myers interpretation of The Cat in the Hat? No, thank you.
Uno picture courtesy of StarsApart