When someone first showed me Dinner Games, from FamilyTimeFun Games, I was very skeptical. Why would parents need a little box of suggested activities to keep kids engaged during dinner? I found a curmudgeon blossoming within me: why, when I was a kid, we just sat at the dinner table and talked. We didn’t need fancy games. Then, my four-year-old disappeared from the dinner table one night about 5 minutes into the meal. I found her sprawled out on our bed, TiVo remote in hand, confidently turning on the newest recorded episode of The Backyardigans. That’s when I realized my kids are facing distractions unlike anything I encountered as a child.
So I took a closer look at Dinner Games, quashing my inner curmudgeon and releasing my prejudices. I discovered that the games were actually very well done. Each card in the tin contains a different short activity designed to spark conversation and keep kids sitting at the table. The activities are classified by their educational value, and there’s a wide range of age-appropriateness, though not every card is appropriate for every age group. There are a lot of fun ideas in here, and I think using Dinner Games will inspire families to think more playfully and more creatively about dinnertime, even beyond what’s included in the box. Obviously, this is also a fabulous activity for dining out with older kids. A couple of these games will pass the time quickly, and the food will come before you know it. Dinner Games is appropriate for kids ages 5-12, though there are several games that my four-year-old would enjoy, and more than a few that would be interesting for older kids, too. The box looks like a recipe tin, and contains 51 different activity cards. You can see sample games on the company’s website by following this link.