Parents who want to spend more time with their kids should consider a family video game night. An hour or two battling bad guys or figuring out how to get to the next level can bring you and your kids together just as well as playing a classic board game. To help make video game night as fun as possible for everyone — including your moody teenagers — consider these creative twists:
Set up a Friendly Competition
Most kids love beating their parents at games, and video games are no exception. To up the ante for family video game night, set up a special parents vs. kids competition, and allow each side to choose their game. Your kids will love watching you try to build a house, craft weapons and avoid zombies and creepers in Minecraft while you will enjoy seeing how they figure out how to collect as many rings as possible in Sonic the Hedgehog.
Establish a point system (such as 10 points for whoever stays alive the longest or one point for each bad guy you defeat) can be declared the winner. Then, everyone can celebrate a fun night with some video game-themed treats. The Kitchen Magpie offers simple instructions on how to transform basic chocolate cupcakes into green and black Creeper faces.
Make the Game Come Alive
During this year’s Super Bowl, there was a commercial that featured guys who end up in a real-life Pac-Man game. Let this ad inspire you to stage your own live-action video game. Create a maze in your living room or backyard, and then spring for some Pac-Man costumes for everyone in your family. For example, MorphCostumes sells a great selection of Pac-Man outfits, including the ghosts Pinky, Blinky and Inky. Imagine the looks on your neighbors’s faces when they see you running along in a Pac-Man outfit calling out “waka waka waka” while your ghost kids chase you through the maze.
Once you are done with the real-life version of Pac-Man, head inside and play the classic arcade game on your TV.
Give out Prizes
Another way to make family video game night more exciting is to offer some parting gifts for the winner. Be creative with your prizes, such as choosing what’s for dinner or getting a free pass from chores for the day. To make this as fair as possible, select a game that everyone knows and likes or let every family member choose a game of their choice. Then, find a way to even out the point structure (look at the above example).
Play Sports Online and IRL
If your family loves games such as Wii bowling or golf, encourage your family to play both the virtual and real versions. After bowling 10 or 20 frames on your Wii, head to your local bowling alley to keep the competition going. This will help your kids find something they love and give them a chance to be active and away from the TV. Then, compare your scores and skills and talk about which version is easier to play.