In the evenings, and especially during winter months, outdoor activities may be limited. What can you do for entertainment within your own home? What are the best indoor games a family can choose?"
Watching TV is a favorite pastime. Yet it tends to kill conversation, severely limiting any real interchange between persons. How, then, can families enjoy themselves together?
Playing indoor games
Some outdoor sports can be played in a scaled-down, modified form within the home. Tennis is an example; in many homes table tennis is popular.
Some families have set up a table in their basement or in a spare room, providing a fine source of entertainment for the whole family and for visitors.
Bowling is another sport that can be scaled down and modified for home play.
Smaller pins, perhaps of plastic, can be used, and the bowling balls may be of similar material. Even tennis balls can be used if the pins are light enough.
Pool has long been a popular indoor game. So some families have put a pool table in their home, and have spent happy hours playing together and with their friends.
Other persons enjoy playing many different types of card games.
Games played on a board account for a large part of the sales of game manufacturers. Monopoly, a game of buying and selling real estate and railroads, has long been the most popular.
Millions sets have been sold worldwide since 1934, when the game first went on sale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Monopoly is played in many countries, so the dollars in various countries becoming francs, marks, yen, and so forth.
Chess is also another popular game that can be played indoors.
Very entertaining, too, are word games, which are excellent for increasing one’s vocabulary. A favorite is Scrabble, which grew out of the idea of crossword puzzles.
However, the best indoor games for a family are homemade, since they can be tailored to the needs of the family. Let us consider some examples.
The entertainment you enjoy, however, does not have to be games that others have invented. You can make up your own.
Although not exactly a game, one middle-aged gentleman tells of some family-originated entertainment that brought him particular pleasure.
My four little nephews and nieces, about ages 10 to 15, advised us earlier that the following evening they were going to perform for us. They worked out a real program of song and dance routines, with the 10-year-old serving as master-of-ceremonies. They kept us thoroughly entertained for an hour or more.”
A married couple living in northern Germany decided to make a game of teaching their children about peoples of other countries.
They would pretend to take trips to various places. As a highlight, they would have a meal typical of the pre-selected land.
Then they would spend the evening discussing the country, looking at pictures of it, and telling their children something about its characteristics and customs.
One evening this family was scheduled to “fly by jet” to Japan. The children were shown how to sit on the floor, Japanese-style, and how to eat with chopsticks.
Of course, anyone who has ever eaten with chopsticks, or at least tried to eat with chopsticks, knows that the first attempt is not easy.
At one point little four-year-old pleaded: “Daddy, let’s fly back to Germany!”
Though most families will overlook such possibilities for entertainment, don't you see how interesting they could be?
Another possibility is to use recorded sounds from the kitchen, from one’s place of employment or from other places, and then play them for the group to identify.
Or it may be that the game is to identify the source of the sound that a person is making from behind a curtain.
Is it the tearing of paper, the opening of a bottle, the cracking of a nut, and so forth?
Group singing can also be real entertainment. And rather than being content with just knowing and singing the melody, why not branch out and learn the other parts—alto, tenor, bass—of a song?
Learning to sing four-part harmony can be extremely entertaining and beneficial.
Homemade card games
Many have had fun playing the following self made card game which is best suited for a family with young kids: First, cut from cardboard or heavy paper 20 or more playing cards.
Then paste pictures on them in matching pairs, so that you have about 10, or, if the players are more experienced, preferably more matching pairs. After mixing the cards, lay them face down. Each player, in turn, is then allowed to pick up two.
Should one pick up two with the same picture, he or she may keep them. Otherwise, the cards must be returned to their original position.
When the player fails to pick up cards with matching pictures, it is the next player’s turn. The goal is to see who will be able to pick up the highest number of matched cards.
How to make family games fun to play?
A word of caution is in order. Parents should make sure that their children feel relaxed. Not all may wish to participate in games.
They may prefer to observe; this may bring them greater enjoyment. So don't insist on full participation.
Also, select games that suit the persons present. The games shouldn't be overly complex or difficult.
And try to avoid letting a spirit of competition develop so that some feel embarrassed or depressed because they can't do as well as others.
A game or two may be sufficient to liven up an evening and provide material for further conversations.
Do not wear out your children by playing too long or playing just one game too much!
This can be just as boring and tiring as letting the evening drag by doing nothing.
There are indeed many forms of indoor games from which a family can choose from.
The right kind can refresh the mind and heart, bringing pleasure and removing boredom. So don't ignore the need for family entertainment.