Disclosure: I received one game from Nintendo as part of this post. I have shared my honest opinion about the game.
For as long as I can remember, playing video games has been way of connecting and spending time with my family.
I vividly remember when my big brother got the original Nintendo with Duck Hunt. We were in our cozy family den with my brother and sister, so excited to try it out. And he finally let me try it too! Guess what - I wasn’t very good at it, but I loved watching my brother play.
We continued to get different video games over the years as we grew up. Mario Kart and Mario Party were always my favorites. My husband would find it frustrating and amusing that my sister and I would gang up on him when we played Mario Kart - sisters have to stick together, right??
When I got married, the connection with video games didn’t stop. My husband affectionately calls me “video game wife” because when he gets stuck in a game, I’ll look up what he should do next. And one of my favorite gifts ever was a limited edition Animal Crossing 3DS. I still use it all the time.
So, of course, when we had kids, it was natural to introduce them to playing video games. Before we embarked on our cross country journey last year, we got both kids a 3DS. And for my husband’s birthday this past October, we got him a 3DS, too, so that we can all play together. We play several video games together as a family, which we regularly do on the weekends when screen time is allowed.
Here are 5 of our favorite games to play as a family:
Mario Kart 7
This may be the one we play the most as a family! It’s a racing game, and you can pick up special items to positively impact yourself or negatively impact the other players in the game. My favorite may be the blue shell, which takes out the person in the lead (often my husband). We can all play together in races, and there are other balloon challenges where we can team up 2 on 2. Such a blast.
Mario Sports Superstars
This is the newest addition to our game collection, which we recently received from Nintendo. This one is awesome. You can play 5 different types of sports - Horse Racing, Soccer, Baseball, Tennis and Golf. If you have multiple copies of the game (which we do), you can play together. My kids have tried every single game and loved it. Right now, it’s their go to game on their 3DS. My daughter is all about horse racing. My son loves baseball, tennis and soccer. My personal favorite is baseball. You get to pitch and swing, but all of the outfielding is done automatically, which I appreciate.
Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
3 people can play at a time. This game is all about working together to solve puzzles, defeat little baddies and move on to the next level. You need good communication to effectively play this game because sometimes the puzzles require you to work together to complete a task within a short time frame.
Mario Party: Island Tour
The traditional party game with mini games. To be honest, most of the time we just play the mini games. But we’ve also had fun playing a full round of Mario Party too. No matter what, we all have our own favorite mini games, and we know which ones we do well. We have a great time playing this one together.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
I can’t do a round-up of my favorite games to play as a family and not include Animal Crossing. This one started out as just one I played, then my kids saw me playing it and wanted to try. They both used to play on my game, but eventually we all got our own copies and are each working on our own town. What I love about this game is that you can visit other people’s towns and work cooperatively to get different fruit or items you want. One of our favorite things to do is to all go to one person’s town, visit the island and play the challenges there. Plus, my daughter just loves to go up to club 101 as a group and dance.
What does playing video games have to do with social skills?
A lot, actually.
When we play, we work on good sportsmanship and winning and losing graciously.
There’s plenty of opportunity to practice following directions and communicating in a clear, effective and kind way.
Depending on which game we’re playing, we’re also learning to work together as a team and cooperatively reach a goal.
We work on self-regulation when it’s time to stop playing. It’s important to be able to stop when screen time is done and wait until the next time we are able to play.
Plus it definitely gives us a shared experience that we can talk about over dinner or when we’re taking a walk - “That game was crazy last night”- “Do you remember when Daddy did that? That was such an awesome move!”
Do you play video games as a family?
What are your favorites?