My kids love to play board games. Unfortunately, they are not inherently neat, so keeping board games organized in our home is a battle. They come by this trait honestly. I would much rather work on some project or learn a new Jazzercise routine than clean.
When we first moved here, I put all of their games in a closet upstairs near their room, for easy playing access. Bad idea, Mom. Bad idea. Quickly the “game closet” went from games in the closet to games on the floor. And not just one game, I would come up to their room and find four (or more) games out simultaneously.
Do you remember the scene in Home Alone when all of the shelves break in Buzz’s bedroom and games and toys come toppling down? That’s what their room would look like after a visit to the game closet.
But I was a glutton for punishment. I would re-organize all of the games, give them a pep talk about one game at a time, and go downstairs. For a few days they would try to be organized, but the temptation was too big, and all the games would come out again. It’s especially a problem with this child.
He can’t help himself. Cleaning & organization are not in his DNA makeup. I sincerely hope and pray he finds a spouse that is patient and likes to clean, otherwise they will live in a home of squalor with markers, crayons, & paper everywhere. I also fear he may become a hoarder of cardboard boxes. To Harrison’s wife: I’m sorry. I tried.
So at some point, after I had put their game closet back together AGAIN for the ten billionth time, I had enough. A new solution had to be found. I realized for my kids, the games need to be close by where I spend my day, so that I can keep my eye on their messy game tendencies.
We had a coat closet in our entry area that was totally underutilized. I attempted to organize the games in this coat closet, but it was tricky. It was one of those closets with one hanging rack & a typical shelf above it. The closet was dimly lit, complete with popcorn ceiling, and with the original paint of 1986. I was determined to stop the upstairs game circus, so I moved the games to this closet. It turned more into the leaning tower of Pisa, with games all stacked on top of each other, on this one closet shelf.
It worked. You know why? Because the boys could no longer get a game down without pulling all of the games down, so they just quit playing with them.
Muhahahaha, my evil plan worked. No more game messes. And no more game playing.
Earlier this year Nathan helped me re-organize our coat closet, so that the games are accessible, can stay moderatly organized, and are within reach (with a stool). Not the most awe-inspiring photo ever, but it’s made all the difference in this house.
We did a few updates:
:: removed popcorn ceiling (tutorial here)
:: installed brighter lighting
:: put in a new coat rack, lower, more at eye level
:: installed 4 shelves above, instead of one shelf
All in all, I think the project was minimal expense. Most of it was just working hard and spending time in a claustrophobia-inducing space.
The best part about the whole thing is that the games can stay under my watchful eye and so if they leave a game out I can have them put it away. If the closet starts getting unorganized, we notice quickly and clean it up. I found that upstairs was out of sight, out of mind for me. It’s not pretty, but it’s not a mess either. #winning
I think it’s great for the boys to play games. They learn how to celebrate with others win (and not be a jealous sore loser), they learn turn taking, getting along, and with some of the games, they are educational, so they learn a little something about something.
Our Favorite Kid’s Games Of 2014 (in no particular order)
The Scrambled States Of America
Stone Soup, Flippity Frogs, & Race To The Treasure
I cannot say enough good things about Peacable Kingdom Games. I want them all! they are such fun games! I appreciate that they are made with quality, and if you lose a piece they will replace it for you. Wow! There are so many more of their games that I think look fun. Stone Soup and Race To The Treasure are cooperative games. Those are really great when playing with mixed ages. Flippity frogs is not a cooperative game, but still a ton of fun.
We received this game as a gift, and it has been really great. I would venture to say it would be fun for adults as much as kids. This is Nathan’s top choice of game to play with the kids. Harrison is still getting the hang of it, but Grant is the perfect age to enjoy this game.
Fundomino is similar to Qwirkle, but they are different, and this one is a bit easier to play with Harrison.
Of course, the closet is full of the normal games, like Sorry, Boggle, Candy Land, and Monopoly, but I figure you know all about those games.
For us, we are playing games with younger kids, in a mixed age-range. So perhaps Grant, on his own, would play more “older kid” games, but since G & H play together, or with us as a family, they need to work for all of us. Hope you find a game that perhaps you want to add to your Christmas list!
And before you go–I honestly want to know, what are your favorite games to play with your family?