October 7, 2014

Yesterday my daughter turned 11 years old. She asked for a walking globe to perfect her circus arts training. She also wanted a venus fly trap plant and her ears pierced. She is getting so big, but she requested something else for her special day: to play a game with “the whole family.” She wanted to play a board game with us. She let her brother help pick a game from our abundance choices in the game closet. They came back with Harry Potter Clue. None of us had played this game, despite the fact we’ve had it for years. So, I made them listen to the directions as I read out loud, and they put the game together. We fumbled our way through the game as often happens the first time you play a new game. We made mistakes. Matthew made a huge mistake. We realized it is much more difficult than normal Clue, but we laughed a lot. Arianna won (mostly based on luck). Game over.

Well, until I sat down and recapped my baby’s special day, and really thought about that game. The lessons learned were huge-- how to follow directions on putting the board together, organization of 5 different card decks, and sequencing the rules of play. Jumping in to play mode before understanding all the rules is a downfall of both of them, and they learned the importance of asking for clarification. We let them do it wrong, and learn this skill tonight. The game itself is a strategy based game that you can only win by truly paying attention to what is going on with the other players. Funny thing is that we all had our own strategy. Matthew made a mistake early on, and changed his strategy to stay in the game. And as I’ve been reading Harry Potter out loud to the kids for a year, they loved being able to teach Dad all about the characters and spells. It was a true connect of reading and play for them. It connected our family.  I think we will be opening that game closet way more often. Game On!