Playing traditional parlour games is often considered a thing of the past.
Finding time for a game, organising the family to get together minus television, computer and mobile phones, or even remembering what games to play, can be enough of a hassle to scotch the idea from the start.
But in a new book, Parlour Games for Modern Families by Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras, the case for bringing back parlour games is positively appealing. The mental stimulation, silliness and laughter, joy and connection a parlour game can introduce to a family, is highlighted in the scores of games listed in the book.
The best thing about playing parlour games is that they’re free. All you need is family and friends and enough space to have fun.
Authors Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras talked to KidsLife.
Have we had fun here?? Yes!! It has been an absolute hoot! We could never have imagined when we set out on this journey that it was going to involve quite as much fun – for ourselves, our families and our guinea-pig friends.
The criteria for the games was simple: they had to be indoor games that only use equipment found in a typical home; they had to be relevant to a modern audience, and they had to be great fun.
Yes, we have – in fact, we have played at least double that because we played a lot of games that didn’t quite make the cut.
Parlour games can help you to be fully ‘present’ with each other through the time-honoured tradition of play, without the usual distractions that seem part and parcel of everyday modern life.
In our experience, once you get children playing, and make games part of your lives, they are just as likely to initiate play as adults. Children love having their parents’ full attention; they love the suspense, excitement and competition involved in games, they love the silliness and the laughter. Sometimes they might need a gentle nudge off the computer, which is why we addressed the book to parents.
Any space in the house will do – you don’t need a Victorian parlour to play these games. Often though it helps to create a comfortable environment – be it clearing the kitchen table of detritus for a game of cards, sinking into a big armchair for a few spoken games, or making a space on the floor for a raucous game of marbles.
It helps to keep your games ‘tools’ handy– a deck of cards, pen and paper, a blindfold and some dice. Putting them in a box at the end of the dinner table for example ensures that they will be seen, prompting you to play a game or three after dinner. And, of course, this book should also be kept close by.
The skills children can pick up from playing parlour games are as limitless as the games themselves. They include word and number skills, deductive thinking, problem solving, strategy, memory, fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and general dexterity. Broader life skills are also gained through playing games, such as how to win and lose, take turns, follow rules, and perform in front of others.
Parlour Games for Modern Families is published by Scribe Publications, RRP $35.00