Skip to content

How to parent smarter not harder.

View all articles

Thinking Parenting Blog

Book Review: The Board Game Family, by Ellie Dix

If you are looking for a way to tear your kids away from their tablets and consoles in order to have some quality family time, then board games are a great option. But where do you start? And how do you go about engaging your kids in a board game when the lure of computer games is so powerful? The Board Game Family by Ellie Dix has all the answers.

Ellie Dix is clearly a big fan of board games and her enthusiasm is infectious. But she is also a realist. There are no illusions here that your children will skip happily to the kitchen table for a three-hour Sunday afternoon board game just because Mum or Dad thinks it’s a good idea! There a some brilliant stealth tactics for how you can subtly get your kids interested by leaving games lying around (pretend you are having a clear out!). Or by solo playing to tempt their interest. These are ideas that might just work, too.

Ellie Dix presents some powerful arguments on how much kids have to gain from being part of game-playing family. There are the skills that will help them at school, like mental maths, probability, logic, concentration and critical thinking. Plus skills that will help them in life, such as turn-taking and learning to lose. Ellie outlines the benefits of board games for family dynamics (such as increased co-operation and learning to negotiate). And how to manage competitiveness so it doesn’t spoil the fun. She also makes a powerful case for how board games can contribute to memory making and family bonding if we weave them into treasured family rituals. Seriously, she had me heading to my local toy shop within the first chapter!

My only real criticism is that, as the book goes on, there is a lot more detail than a board game beginner would need. The second half of the book disappears into the territory of the serious board game devotee. So you might want to just stick with the first few chapters until you have kick started a new board game culture.

If you don’t know where to start, The Board Game Family by Ellie Dix is literally jam packed with different board games you can try, with handy tips for low budgets. Plus there is a great list of card games (regular readers will know I am a great fan of card games as portable boredom killers!).

If you have older children and you long for some quality family time, this book might light the way for a possible solution. And, let’s face it, if all you are getting out of your kids is grunts before they disappear into their bedrooms, you’ve got nothing to lose!

back cover of The Board Game Family by Ellie Dix This is not a sponsored post, I have not been paid to write it. I was approached by the publisher and asked to review this book (if you look very carefully at the back cover, you’ll see that I am quoted!) and I received a free review copy of the book that they kindly let me keep. This post does contain affiliate links, though, which means that if you click through and buy the book, I will receive a small fee from Amazon (see Disclosure Notice for more details).

Cover of The Board Game Family book by Ellie Dix

Share this article:

The Work/Parent Switch.

By Anita Cleare

Not sure where to start?

Practical tips on how to be the parent your child needs and create happy family dynamics (but still do your job!)

Comments are closed.

Fun family activities to tear tweens/teens away from technology

Like many people, I worry about my teens spending too much time staring at a screen. As a family, we are all pretty active but we tend to do our sports separately rather than together. We usually...

Positive Parenting in the Digital Age

Concerns about managing children’s screen time and the impacts of technology on children’s wellbeing are high on the worry list for modern parents. But most advice on positive parenting...

Building a family team spirit

There are lots of business theories about the science of team building. My favourite (mainly due to its simplicity) is the GRPI model. According to this model, in order for a team to be effective, it...

Creating a mentally healthy family life

Mental ill health can strike anyone. At any time of life. But, just as with physical health, there are definitely things we can do to promote good mental and emotional health. There is lots of...