A long time ago in our galaxy, Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.” This is where family fun comes in!

Ok, it may not have actually been Plato. Regardless of who said it first, my 25+ years in the world of play have proven out the truth in that quote. Whether you are a heavy game player or someone who doesn’t really like games, playing them together as a family is a wonderful way to learn all kinds of good stuff. 

What Play Teaches Us

When I was a kid, my Pop and I played a lot of ping pong one summer. He beat me all of the time.  Repeatedly. In far less than an hour each time. I was having a blast, but over time I got increasingly competitive.  To be honest, I was getting frustrated. I wanted to beat my Dad so I practiced and practiced. And, I lost. But, the scores got closer and closer. Finally, one day…one warm sunny day, I bested my Pop fair and square. 

Sure, I learned how to play ping pong. How to be a good sport. How to be resilient and put in the effort to get better. Most importantly, I think we both discovered pride and confidence, but from different vantage points. I remember those days, weeks, months of playing as some of the best times we had together. Family fun can teach us more than we realize at the time.

Learn About Each Other

Then there have been hundreds of drives with my daughter, wife and assorted family members when 20 questions was our go-to game to pass the time. It was awesome when Izzy stumped us all by picking an abstract item, namely, air, when she was probably 8 or 9. Nana always asks the best questions that made her grandkids laugh and think hard. We all get the chance to teach each other something we know and reveal how we think creatively and strategically.

Some games are designed explicitly for families, and your friends, to learn about each other. Eye to Eye has been a big hit at our house for the last few years.  We’ve even played it with our daughter’s new boyfriend at college.  It was a great ice breaker, and we all learned fun things about each other. 

Whether play reveals skills, knowledge and creativity indirectly or directly, I’m hoping that you can find a few games from the wide universe of options that would a great fit for your family. 

Looking for more information about play? Check out this post about Making and Keeping a Play Promise.