When I last visited The Magical Creatures — we played a bunch of games. The oldest one is fond of Scrabble. It’s been ‘Our Game’ for a couple of years now. I’ve been teaching her strategy and she usually beats me. It can be close — or it can be a blowout.
My Middle Magical Creature is learning how to play chess. It’s a grown-up kind of game and she plays with everyone — including her older sister and her dad. We started playing at Thanksgiving and when I went back in December, I was amazed at how much she had learned. She took my queen on a regular and made me work hard for every single check and checkmate.
My Youngest Magical Creature is just learning to read and has an obsessive love of all things Princess. Santa indulged her with several new twists on old favorites. We played Princess Trouble, Princess Matching cards, Princess Candyland, and her tried-but-true-Princess-block game. She usually wins.
And they all beat me playing Mastermind. All. Of. Them. Every. Time.
Not only are games with The Magical Creatures helping me to keep my brain active — it is allowing me to exercise patience. Patience to teach strategy. Patient to wait for their next move. Patience to look up every weird jumble of words that may or may not be in the official Scrabble dictionary. Patience to just sit and take time out of time and be with them.
One of the last nights I was there, the family gathered in the basement for a game of Kid’s Charades. If your little person does not have this game — you must buy it for them right this minute. And play it with them. We had three adults and three kids and we all laughed so hard tears were coming out of our eyes. Those long hard belly laughs were the best medicine any of us got as we closed out 2020.
You don’t have to have a competitive soul to enjoy playing games. In fact, I think it all goes so much better when you can play a game, just for the joy of playing it — no matter if you win or lose. We have to remember that the kids are always watching us. By being good losers (and winners) we teach them valuable lessons about Life. Patience, acceptance, sportsmanship, kindness, and joy can all live side by side if we allow them.
Even when we get our asses kicked by a five-year-old playing Princess Candyland.