It’s National Game playing week!

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    This week is National Game playing week, so why not join in and get the family together for some fun & games??

    Irish parents are being encouraged to switch off the TV, computers, smart phones and games consoles for one night a week and get back to talking and playing together as a family.“The amount of time children spend in front of screens these days is alarming. When children focus their attention on a screen, it can be a very passive form of learning or entertainment, which doesn’t require them to use their imagination or interact socially,” said child therapist and psychotherapist Kate Smith.

    Smith was speaking at the launch of National Game Playing Week (28th October to 4th November), which encourages families to take part in a Family Game Night, by switching off from the distractions around the home and taking out the board games.

    She said: “Play is the language of childhood and children use play as a form of communication in everyday life. Most children crave time with their parents and talking and playing games are great ways to facilitate this and allow children to chat and spend some quality time without the distraction of the TV or games consoles.”

    “Board games, in particular, can also teach valuable social skills such as sharing, obeying rules, taking turns and winning and losing. They also enhance children’s decision-making, help maths skills as well as develop key skills needed for literacy and successful learning”.

    Offering some guidance to parents on how to create a family game playing night that is enticing to children, Smith said: “One of the biggest challenges can be selecting the right game. For one-on-one time with younger children, games like Guess Who and Connect 4 are ideal as they are quick to play and don’t require lots of concentration. When there’s more than one child, covering different age groups, families should look to games like Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and Cluedo, even if you need to modify the rules, to hold the entire family’s interest.”

    She added: ‘To make the night special, there are a few things you can do like extending bedtime; have some treats or prizes for everyone who plays; invite other family members to play, especially those who your children are close to or who are similar in age. You can even allow your children to have their friends over to play as well. Once you have one fun night playing board games, your children will be much more enthusiastic about doing it again.”

    For more information, downloads and tips about running your own family game night, log on to and check in toy stores for special offers.

    Tips for holding a Family Game Night:

    • Start your Family Game Night early before family members become too tired.
    • Set aside appropriate time for playing games so you do not have to rush play.
    • Plan your Family Game Nights in advance and include a selection of games and healthy snacks
    • If your children fall within different age groups here are some tips to over-come potential problems:
    o Play games with each child separately
    o Choose games that are simple enough where kids can play using the same rules.
    o For games like Monopoly or Game of Life divide the family into teams and give each child a job he can do well
    • Alter the rules to accommodate younger children if required
    • Be patient and go over the rules carefully so everyone understands
    • Choose the right game for the child’s age – look out for games with the appropriate age on the box
    o For 3-4 years, games like Pop Goes Froggio, Gator Golf, Hungry Hippos and Elefun are great in helping develop co-ordination as well as knowledge of colours and shapes.
    o 4-5 year olds love games like Monopoly Crazy Cash and Frustration.
    o For 5-6 years games like Connect 4, Kerplunk and Mouse Trap will keep the entire family entertained while encouraging children to develop their problem solving skills. Additionally, Monopoly Crazy Cash is a great way to develop maths, reading and reasoning skills.
    o For the older kids aged 6-8, games like Operation, Twister and Pictureka refine their motor skills and require quick thinking.
    • Play fair at all times so children learn to follow the rules
    • One-to-one time in addition to group play is beneficial for children
    • Help children if they make a mistake
    • Stay calm and friendly even if you are losing! :oops:
    • HAVE FUN! :D :D


    I was in a plane recently, Aerlingus this time (and oh the change from Rynair, but it’s not the point). In their inflight brochure they were selling
    Rory’s story cubes and we got it. They played for few minutes in the plane and they loved it so much even after 2 min that we bought a second set as present.

    Went onto
    and could find it, also saw another set, already thinking of it.

    It’s so brilliant and help children (all ages) and adults alike to work their imagination.
    It’s dices with pictures on it, and you have to make-up a story starting by once apon a time and includes all the symbols in the story.

    It’s so brilliant.
    Check the website and tell me what you think.

    And I love the idea of 1 family game night.



    Brilliant Fabienne; its great to hear about other games family can play together.

    I came home this evening to the sound of shrieking children as they rolled out the old reliable ‘Hungry Hippos’. Great for cold, dark evenings like this!!

    Anyone got any other game suggestions the family can play together???


    snakes and ladders and kerplunk are the big hits in our house. Quess who is on the santa list this year.

    Fabienne i must look into that story cube, sounds like fun


    This week has been National Game Playing week – a great opportunity to bring the whole family together, turn off the TV & phones and simply enjoy one another. And with the cold, wet, long days continuing for sometime we’ve had a look at some games on offer from Hasbro here: Hungry Hipppos and Gator Golf

    Have a look here for more tips, games and participating Retailers (including Smyths).


    What games would suit a 3 year old, i find it very hard buying games that all the family can play, we find we play most of the games when ds2 has gone to bed… we did get doggy doo last week, it is just brilliant in a boy kinda way 😆 😆 😆 😆


    We have been playing Hungry Hippos and Gator Golf this week with our 3 kids and they all played them and enjoyed them. I would say they are suitable for a 3 year old. HTH!

    I love a game of scrabble with my sisters and mam, my hubby not too keen but am hoping to convert him!

    Love Trivial Pursuit – has anyone tried the junior one?


    we have a golf thing from ELC so dont think the gater golf is too different, the hungry hippos looks good… never thought of the junion Travia i always remember playing that years ago, most of the questions (that i got wrong 😆 😆 😆 ) and more so the answers stuck with me for years, its a great way of learning.

    just on the smyths website 3 for 2 on all games and some great reductions to be had.


    just looking at electronic battleship, has anyone got this? how does it compare to the regular battleship? There is a 11.99 euro difference in price but that doesnt matter, its more ease of play, the more expensive one might not mean its the better game..


    bought ds a magnetic dart board for christmas…great for encouraging him to write his numbers and do a few sums along the way…


    We are having loads of fun (and the odd argument about what words are real!) on scrabble and junior scrabble. My 8 year old is always out playing football or on his playstation so its a great way for us to spend time together.


    yes scrabble is great…and its amazing to see improvement in what they can spell if scrabble gets put to bottom of pile for few weeks….i love scrabble too sabbi but like your dh mine not so keen so enjoy odd game with ds 🙂


    luckily at the moment my son will play scrabble with me and connect 4 and soon, we’ll have him on trivial pursuit too. He likes these types of games but he loves his playstation so I try to play some of his games in return on his playstation so we are playing sing star together – he loves that and its nice for me to play one of his type of ‘modern’ games.

    I was feeling like we were drifting apart of late as he has his own interests now – which don’t include my husband and I so much unfortunately – but he is gone mad into the board games and wants to come walking & jogging with me as he is following operation transformation on TV as well, so I am relishing it while I have this time with him. Before I know it, he’ll be a teenager and might not want to come near me or my board games!!

    Dinner is on and homework is done, so think might have a quick game with him now actually…


    build beetle bug game – old fashioned game where you roll a dice and you make the beetle, we played in on paper but my mil found it in proper form where you build it….thats been fun in our house, and snakes and ladders is a goer

    i got boggle flash for christmas and i was a little iffy about it, but it’s actual quite fun, a new take on the old version of boggle

    another favourite is dingbats…say what you see wow he have had some fun with kids and adults alike especially with a few drinks what’s so innocent doesn’t become that innocent lol…..


    love that beetle game sonia..amazing what fun u can have with a dice and piece paper..same here sabbi…i seem to be losing my closeness with ds1 and am trying to limit his time on wii and substitute it with time playing games with me..all part of growing up but makes me bit sad…hope its just phase with him…all part of having new baby in house…

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