When I was growing up, board game nights were a regular thing in my family. We would all gather in the lounge after dinner, the TV would be off and we’d take it in turns to choose our favourite game for everyone to play.
In those days, there wasn’t that much else to do, you see! We only had 4 TV channels, so if we didn’t fancy what was on (and we hadn’t taken a trip to Blockbuster!) we had nothing to watch. We didn’t have X Boxes or other gaming consoles then either. We only had one family computer (to be used for work and school projects only) and of course we didn’t all have individual tablets and smartphones, because they hadn’t even been invented yet!
Nowadays children (and adults!) have so many other distractions that we often forget the humble board game, but I think there’s a lot to be said for having regular game nights with your family.
It’s a great bonding time, it allows space for conversations and laughing together, and of course it’s FREE (after you’ve bought the initial board game sets of course… although these can often be found for a pittance at charity shops!
Favourite family board games to play
Some of our favourites were Monopoly (the children’s version), Connect 4, and not forgetting Guess Who with all the funny faces.
My personal favourite when I was little was Mouse Trap. Anyone else remember that one? You had to make your way around the board collecting cheese, and trying not to get caught in the traps. I think my parents hated it because all the little parts were always coming off and breaking, but I loved it as a kid. Ah… memories 🙂
Board games online
As I already mentioned, playing board games with your family is a pretty frugal activity, but there’s one way to make it even cheaper: play online! Yes, even if you don’t already own a board game and you can’t/don’t want to splash out for a set, you can find completely free board games online.
I like this site which has a big range of retro-style online board games all for free. The games are all pretty simple in style, a far cry from modern video games with their intricate online worlds, but that’s part of the charm! They are all suitable for children and they aren’t addictive like many modern video games: simply play your game and switch off once done.
One game I’ve enjoyed playing with my family is the all-time classic, snakes and ladders. Look how cute the game pieces are in their little hats!
We also liked playing Connect 4 online. In fact, I think I prefer this version to the real life version because those little pieces get everywhere!!!
With most of the games on this site, you can play by yourself against the computer, or with up to 4 players. So it can be a family activity or just a quiet night in.
So if you’re looking for a fun and frugal activity to do with your family, you could do worse than planning a board game night, whether that’s with real boards or online.
What’s your favourite board game to play with your family?