Written by Khaila Fitzgerald, M.S., CF‑SLP
Family game time is a great way to reconnect and a chance to incorporate home programming in a fun and family friendly way. With holiday vacation weeks coming up, families will naturally have more free time to spend together. While heading out to see the lights, cuddling up under blankets and watching movies, and playing with new gifts are all a part of the season, mix in an afternoon or evening to play games together as well. Family games are an excellent opportunity to make lasting memories and build traditions (turn it into a weekly event after holidays!), all while practicing skills at the same time!
Incorporating Game Night and Home Programming
We know it can be hard to find a time to complete your child’s home programming. Everyone has busy schedules where conflicts arise and choices have to be made. However, combining it with a family game night can create a routine time to practice that includes the whole family. Added bonus – it doesn’t feel like a chore because it’s tons of fun!
Game nights also help families reconnect after a long week. Setting aside one hour the whole family is together, creates a routine and an event everyone looks forward to. These dedicated times help foster stronger familial communication skills, teach good sportsmanship, and establish and reinforce play skills.
Start by keeping a few games next to the dinner table. Since the family is already together, the transition into playing a game flows smoothly.
Game Night Ideas
- Simon Says Competitions: Have a family wide “Simon Says” competition, it’s a great way to target following directions!
- Dice or a Spinner Games:
- Use the number to determine how many times you practice before moving your game piece
- ex. Roll four, practice your “r” sound 4x.
- Roll the dice 3x and practice your OT+PT exercises 3x
- Twister: Put those fine and gross motor skills to work during a game of Twister!
- Relay Race or Obstacle Course: As the winter months creep up, try making an indoor obstacle course or relay race throughout the house. This can combine following directions, fine and gross motor skills, and verbal expression as you call out the next steps to complete the race!