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Fun Alternatives to TV and Video Games-- Board Games!


 Guest article written by Jason McKee from at Boards, Cards, & Dice.

Fun things to do Instead of TV and Video Games-- Board Games

For decades parents have insisted their children watch less television. Often this is accompanied by the idea that children should do some homework, play outside or read a book.

Of course, now there are not only far more choices offered by the TV, but also a multitude of video games, it is even harder to persuade both children and adults to do something else.

Here’s how you can go about it.


A cooperative game about pulling off a spectacular fireworks show, Hanabi is a perfect game to get started with replacing TV and video games.

A cooperative game about pulling of a spectacular fireworks show, Hanabi is a perfect place to start with replacing video games and TV with board games.

Are TV and Video Games Bad?

No, they are not. TV imparts important information, is a nice way to relax and can even be a family activity.

Video games are equally good for entertainment, and, what’s more, they are great at teaching strategy and problem-solving skills.

The problem is having too much of them. Just as a balanced diet is essential for your body, so a balanced set of activities is necessary for your brain. 

Are Board Games better than TV and Video Games?

Board games have a multitude of benefits, perhaps more than most TV and video games. These benefits include:

  • Social

  • Mental Health

  • Learning, including:

    • Connecting Academic learning to real life

    • Language

    • Problem solving and Strategy

    • Kinaesthetic

Yet a life playing just board games would be equally as bad as one just watching TV, or just playing video games. Balance is important.

That’s another plus for board games–as they are a multiplayer activity, it’s harder for a single person to just sink into playing them all day, every day.


Concept is a great game for communication, building relationships, and fun!

How to move from TV and Video Games to Board Games

So here’s the scenario–you have a child, or adult, who is spending all their free time watching TV or playing video games. How can you move them on to other things?

Pick something they will enjoy

The trick is to get a board game they will enjoy. This is especially true with children. So if your child is spending all their time watching Pokemon on TV and playing Pokemon video games–get them a Pokemon Monopoly game.

This gives them a connection with the game. It means they know more about many of the names than you do (so they “teach” you about some of the aspects.)

There are many Monopoly variants, but that isn’t the only board game with themed versions. Pick a type of game they will like.

Let them win–but not all the time

It’s so dull to play a game when you are losing all the time, but equally not very interesting to play if you always win, hands down.

When playing with your child, try to create a challenge for them and make sure you give them a chance to win. Maybe make mistakes you wouldn’t have made, or provide them with a starting advantage. (For example, you could give them more money at the start in Monopoly.)

On the other hand, perhaps you are playing an adult, or child, who is actually better than you at the game. In that case, try to get them to teach you their tricks and strategy. People love to explain why they are good at something.

Don’t let it drag on too long

One of the disadvantages of Monopoly is that it can drag on for a bit. You need to be reasonable here; spending all day playing Monopoly isn’t the best thing to do anyway.

If you are playing a “long” board game, check if the rules have a “quick” version of it–they usually do.

If a game is dragging on, you have a couple of options:

  • Agree that after three more turns, whoever has the most money/properties/points, or whatever is relevant to your game, is the winner.]

  • Save the game for later.

The difficulty with saving the game for later is that it isn’t realistic to leave an open board game on the table for a day or two and not expect it to get jostled or knocked.

So take a picture of the board game and people’s cards, then note what everyone has (money/properties/cards/points). If people have “secret” cards, put them in an envelope with their name on with the board game. Remember to note whose turn it is!

What Next?

Board games are a great social activity, providing a fun diversion and often offering decent learning opportunities.

Encourage your whole family to play together and try to set it up in way that is fun for everyone.

Here are some great suggestions to get started!











Guest article written by Jason McKee from at Boards, Cards, & Dice. 

Read another one of Jason's articles: The Benefits of Board Games.


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