Saturday, October 30, 2010

Family Fun

While visiting my son's family, we sat at the kitchen table to play a board game as a family. My daughter-in-law is from Canada and she introduced us to one of their favorite family table games. It is called Rummoli and can involve two to eight players. It is a variation of poker, but has rules and a user-friendly approach that made it possible to involve a five-year-old and a two-year-old.

Rummoli has a large board with great visuals and the rules of the game make it easy to teach to a new player--even a five-year-old. It was played with a casual approach and we used buttons, rather than chips or money. That meant I could hold my two-year-old grandson on my lap and play the game while he played with the buttons. He was the official "banker" with a big plastic container of buttons that kept him busy sifting with his tiny fingers and transferring buttons to other containers. We counted the same number of buttons into a little ramikin for each player. My grandson was very generous about giving us loans when we lost all of our buttons. It was a fun session filled with mock insults, teasing, challenges, and we got a little loud in our enthusiasm. I hope the neighbors weren't ready to call the police on the noisy party people.

It reminded me of the visits to my in-laws when my son was tiny. The whole family would sit around the big country kitchen table and play poker. My hubby's grandfather would sit at the kitchen table with a green banker's/poker dealer's visor and play poker for hours and hours. My father-in-law was from the WWII generation and cards were a popular way to pass time in the military. They liked to play weird variations of poker that I had never seen even in a poker book.

The hours flew when the family sat at the kitchen table while activity buzzed all around. Dinner was on the stove, players came and went, conversation was constant. The game was ongoing until a break for a meal required clearing the table. No one took the game seriously and we didn't play for money--just the companionship at a family reunion. There were no cell-phones ringing, no MP3 players, no computers distracting anyone, no TV blasting from the next room. The teenagers didn't need a curfew, they were sitting at the kitchen table playing poker with parents and grandparents. There were lots of people, face to face, communicating, relating to each other and bonding generations with a table game.


  1. I read somewhere about a birthday party for a bunch of teenage girls, and someone came into the room where it was quiet as every one of them was staring down into their laps, texting.

    You made me nostalgic for the old days, R.J.

  2. that sounds like a lot of fun :-) it's rare these days to find something that keeps the whole family engaged.