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Family Game Night

by Merissa Alink

If you read through the Little House books, something you will notice that is a reoccurring theme is that Pa tells the girls stories. Alot of stories. They listen to stories, they play together as a family, and they sing together as a family.

“And then, Pa told stories. When Laura and Mary begged him for a story, he would take them on his knees and tickle their faces with his long whiskers until they laughed out loud.” ~ Little House in the Big Woods p. 39

Laura lists at least 5 stories in the Little House in the Big Woods that Pa tells. It’s obvious that it was a way of life for them. They didn’t sit around the TV at night (not that they had the option). Instead, they told their own stories. Not only did Pa tell stories,  but he also played with the girls and played music for them.

“Sometimes, when Pa had walked his traplines quickly because the traps were empty, or when he had got game sooner than usual, he would come home early. Then he would have time to play with Laura and Mary.” ~ Little House in the Big Woods p.34

When we invite people over to our house, or even when it’s just us, we love to play games. We have a whole huge closet full of board and card games. The best advice we got when asking for wedding gifts was to register for board games. They were fun for people to give and we loved getting them! I’ve added to the game collection by purchasing more games at garage sales and thrift stores. If you buy them used, just check inside to see if all of the pieces are there. I’ve never had an issue with buying used games, and I hardly ever pay over $2 for an entire game.

Ok, I’m straying from my main point. Even though Laura didn’t have TV like we have today, they probably wouldn’t have had one in their home anyways (they probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it). Something we may not think about all the time that’s costing us money is having family time. What are we doing when we have family time? Going to the park? Going to a movie? Going out to eat? Each of those things cost money, either for the activity or for gas (unless you live next to the park). Those things might be fun to do once in a while, but set aside a night to have a stay-in family game night. Take turns reading a book outloud. Make cookies together and then play a card game. Having family game night is fun and thrifty!

Merissa Alink blogs about couponing, homemaking, and simple living at her blog Little House on the Prairie Living. Come learn how to make the most with what you have at



marianne said:

Our favorite game to play is Ticket to Ride.  It is more expensive than most games we have bought, but we have played it countless times and our family love the game.  We also do puzzles together around a square table.  All our kids are good puzzlers and we can get one done in no time as we talk and enjoy each others company.

March 29, 2011 2:28 PM

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April 5, 2011 9:35 AM

Carolyn said:

I agree with Marianne! We also have Ticket to Ride and LOVE it!!! We found that it's worth the $$ to spend on those types of games (another good example is Settlers of Catan) what allows all players to play from beginning to end, unlike traditional games like Monopoly where someone can get knocked out and then has nothing to do while everyone else is finishing the game.

April 14, 2011 5:40 PM

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