My Game-a-Day Challenge

I admire fun moms who play games with their kids, because it doesn’t come naturally to me.  I’m great at nurturing, teaching, and keeping the family running, but play — well, not really.  Play is important, children not only learn the skills a game requires, but they learn social skills as well, such as taking turns, not cheating, and being happy whether winning or losing.  These are not skills a child learns in an orphanage!

I am challenging myself to play at least one game each day with the kids during Christmas break.  Those of you who are natural game players may find this pitiful, but those of you who have a hard time slowing down to sit and play a game, will understand just how hard this is.  We own many games that I have not played even once, so I hope to make my way through the game cabinet and find out if I like them.

Today is Day Four and I’m off to a bit of a rocky start.  On Day 1 I played several rounds of Stomple with Dimples and Sunshine.  Day 2 I played several hands of Dutch Blitz with the younger girls.  Yesterday I was busy and out and about all day.  At 9:00, after all of the younger kids were tucked in bed, I realized I hadn’t played a game with them.  Then Sunshine came downstairs complaining that she couldn’t sleep, so I grabbed the Dutch Blitz cards and told her to sit down for a few rounds.  As soon as we  were done, I sent her back to bed; this probably didn’t help her sleep, but I wasn’t about to blow it on Day 3!

Today I think I’ll give Blokus a try, or possibly Quiddler.  I’ll keep you posted.

In good news, Dimples has had two happy days at day camp, and today she is especially glad that they are going ice skating.

#581 – 590 giving thanks

a happy day for  Dimples

Christmas shopping nearly done

opening a box of books from Amazon – Christmas presents for the kids

planning the week’s menu with Sweet Pea

Noah and Honeybee doing the grocery shopping!

Samuel driving Ladybug to the orthodontist in Spokane

sunshine on the roads

snow pants found

eggnog in coffee

kids who love to play games

What fun things are you doing with your kids this week?

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This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. MRK
    December 21, 2011

    This is me, too! I have time slowing down enough to play, and I'm particularly bad at playing pretend with them. I'd much rather go outside and shoot a few hoops in the driveway with them and can occasionally get myself to do a puzzle, a building toy, or a coloring activity. I do like games but less so playing games with kids – I mean, it's just not that enjoyable to try to keep stacking the cards in candyland so that the child playing with me wins or at least gets a few fun candy cards! I think when they're older so that I don't have to worry about a tantrum by the loser and can really put some strategy into MY playing, it will be more fun…until then, it's sort of just pretending to play a game with them since we don't really get to challenge ourselves in the game so that's probably why it's less fun! It's also just really tough to do when there are so many other things you know you need to do, but I loved the book Playful Parenting and fully agree that play is important (and that our kids from trauma just don't know how to play).

  2. Mama D's Dozen
    December 21, 2011

    Love the "game a day" challenge. I LOVE to play card games with the big kids, but I do need to challenge myself to play board games with the younger kids. We, too, have a big cupboard FULL of games.

    I used to play more board games when the big kids were younger … and find there are quite a few things I "used to do with the big kids" that I need to start doing again. (When life is emotionally challenging I find that mama isn't quite such a fun mama. I just put myself into survival mode, which doesn't include game playing.)

    Blokus is a great game … one that I "used to play" (before adoption and RAD entered our life). I've also always enjoyed Dutch Blitz.

    I think I'll take on your challenge … to play a game a day with the younger kids (along with the games I play with the big kids).

    Hope your week is BLESSED! Glad that day camp is going well for Dimples.

    Laurel 🙂

  3. blesseday
    December 21, 2011

    I confess I do not play games with my kids either! But then, actually, I got over the guilt a few years ago, when I realized than pioneer women would never have played games with their kids the way we think we should now–and their kids turned out better than most kids these days. ; ) Yes, it is a little pathetic that as a mother I ask myself, "What would Ma [Ingalls] do?" And anytime my MIL suggests that my kids are being deprived of certain toys or experiences that "all" kids have, I call to mind what the founding fathers would have had growing up–and if our kids turn out that good we will be thrilled. ; ) I realize everything you said about the kids learning to share, etc. is true. Do your game playing for Christmas–perfect time, and could be the start of a very special tradition that the kids will always remember fondly. But don't beat yourself up for not playing games with them the rest of the year. It's not like they don't have plenty of other kids to play with! (that's what I say about mine too)

  4. Sandy
    December 21, 2011

    Oh…do I have to admit that I am the same as you?! I do have a hard time slowing down to play games. I have finally found a game that I enjoy…when I take the time. Have you tried Bananagrams? I highly recommend it. Sandy (mom to six and matched with number SEVEN!!)

  5. Karen
    December 21, 2011

    We started our holiday break with lunch with friends. I'm sure we will cover looking at Christmas lights, family meals, board games, bike riding, and many other things I can't think of right now!

  6. laura
    December 21, 2011

    Games are hard for me to play. However, I to help me out over break, I made a book of fun out of cheapie 4×6 photo album. Each spread has 2 fun things, one on each page. Games, crafts, books to read, free activities like library trip, walk, etc. They take turns picking a spread. Some days I don't even have to play a game! ha! That's horrible, however, we still have a good time with one another.

  7. Kelli
    December 21, 2011

    Once again, thanks for your honesty & ideas, Lisa. I am right there with you – not a game player & have always felt a bit guilty about it. Like you, I do other "Mom" things well, but games just aren't a highlight for me. However, one game I simply love is Settlers of Catan. It is a game that works for our non-game playing family. It is geared toward older kids, but we have often just played as "teams", pairing a younger with an older. I find that it works because the olders don't get bored, while the youngers just enjoy playing a big kid game.
    Glad to hear that Dimples is having s good week. Sounds like a good choice!

  8. Sara
    December 22, 2011

    This is such a great post, I'm almost in tears. This does not come naturally for me, either. Most of the Christmas wish lists I give the grandparents each year are for homeschool curriculum, supplies, etc. It took a big shift in thinking just to add educational games to the list this year. I thought that was doing good! Hadn't even thought about sitting down to play the games WITH the kids. You are an inspiration.


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