If you'd like to lure your kids away from video games, iPods and TV for a while, you could try introducing them to some of the old card and board games. There's a reason these oldies but goodies are still around.
Your youngsters may have trouble with the idea of playing something as tame as a board game when they've got a multitude of electronic gizmos to fill their free time but these games are great ways to stay connected as a family and/or nurture the spirit of friendly competition and fair play. The slower pace also allows for real conversation.Board games come in 9 1/2-inch by 7 3/4-inch boxes but don't let that put you off of buying one. The playing boards open up to a generous 14 and 3/4 inch square. The Snakes and Ladders game comes with four plastic markers, a dice and instructions on how to play, in case you've forgotten. You can also find Chess and Bingo games. A total of about $3 adds up to hours of fun for kids and adults alike.
Small parts like dice can easily go missing so it might be a good idea to keep extra on hand. Dollar stores sell them in packages of 10 for $1.
Keep a deck of playing cards on hand in a kitchen drawer. Any pack of cards can become a game of Crazy Eights, Old Maid or Go Fish on a cold winter night. If you've forgotten the rules to these games, check out a website called The House of Cards, where you can find out how to play hundreds of different card games. The games are listed in alphabetical order so the rules you're looking for are easy to find. Sometimes, you can find the specially-printed children's card games at the dollar store, too.
If you enjoy the relaxing pastime of piecing together jigsaw puzzles, Dollar Tree has an assortment of puzzles ranging in difficulty from large-piece toddler puzzles to 1,000 piece puzzles for those ready for a more challenging experience.
For just a buck a book, you can also have your fill of brain-teaser puzzles like Sudoko, word search and crosswords puzzles.
Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for home decorating using only items from the dollar store.
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