How many times have I heard those words from a sweet grandchild with pleading eyes, pursed lips and a toy or a game in their outstretched arms? Plenty, I tell you, and also not enough!
Spending time with a little one has to be one of the greatest pleasures in the world. And when that time is face-to-face in imaginary play, the gates of heaven themselves seem to open up. It is great fun in the moment and the memory is beyond words.
Our 7 yo grandson Mark has always enjoyed games but recently has discovered a new level of board games that we have all been rediscovering with him. Checkers has become a real favorite, along with “The Ladybug Game.” It requires no reading, and was created by a first-grader as a school project. Mark was very intrigued by this and has decided he could do something similar. Such an interesting way that a game can be inspiring!
Another new favorite is “Qwirkle,” which is similar to Dominoes. Planning and strategy are necessary, so both of us are learning some new skills here.
Games and the time spent playing them can teach kids so much. And how to win is the least! In the beginning it may be just about taking turns and having fun. Later on, there’s much to absorb about fairness, truth, strategy, planning and having fun. Eventually, one must learn how to lose with grace, prepare for the future, visualize the effects of one’s actions, help others to succeed and have even more fun. The lessons of game-playing, as in life, never seem to end. And neither does the joy, thank heavens!
As I was cleaning out a closet recently, I found our old “Monopoly” game with a record of all the winning scores on the inside of the box lid going back more than thirty years. One particularly lengthy and sweet entry: 2/10/1986, my son’s name (he was then about 12 years old), $11,860, the town where we lived in Texas, 10:45 AM, 8 hotels, 6 houses, 18 properties, happened on a snowy day.
I can picture in my mind the kids home from school on a snow day, a fire in the fireplace, hot cocoa in mugs and everyone playing Monopoly for days at a time, stopping only to eat. The youngest child succeeding and proudly writing his legacy on the lid of a game box. There to be found, read and wonderfully remembered by his mother thirty years later.
Don’t think for one minute that time spent playing with your youngster is time wasted. It is profound. It is necessary. It is gobs of fun.