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Totally Together

update to Family Game Night

July 20, 2011 by  


I seem to be getting gutsier in my old age. A month or so ago I wrote about starting a Family Game night tradition in your house, and listed some of our own family favorites. Kim and I talked in the comment section about how it would be neat to have a lending library of family-friendly games at school or in the community, and I really liked that idea.

So I emailed Hasbro.

and they sent two HUGE boxes of games— 50 in all — for the school.

I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you, Hasbro.

I need to make some sort of checklist for checking out the games, and figure out where I’m going to house them. I may need to work out of the back of the van if I can’t find an empty cabinet somewhere! The girls (and their friends) are making inventory lists for each board game, and are putting the little pieces into separated ziplocks. So far the biggest hit game has been “girl talk” which has been deemed the BEST SLUMBER PARTY GAME ever. I haven’t looked over the cards very carefully, so I’m not sure exactly how appropriate the content is, but the boxes say ages 8 and up. I’ve noticed a lot of walking backwards and duck quacking…

I’ve been trying to figure out how our PTA can give back to the school for a while (without spending any money, since there ISN’T ANY), and having a lending game library will be a huge help. We just lost our biggest “free” fundraising effort–the Amazon Affiliates account, because of the new California tax laws. This is a big blow to our school, and I am looking into ways to replace that income. If anyone has any ideas (we have Scrip, and need to campaign big time this year to get more people involved) I’d love to hear them. I really liked the Amazon thing because it was such easy money and parents didn’t feel nickled and dimed—

I’ve got six weeks to figure it out.


In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy the last month or so of summer vacation and soak every bit of it up that I can. I love having everyone home—even though it means I’m in constant fire-fighter mode.

things are going well for you?


Post a comment · 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “update to Family Game Night”

  1. Lauren on July 20th, 2011 10:07 am

    I LOVED Girl Talk growing up! I think it’s sort of like a structured Truth or Dare game, for younger girls, before they’re really old enough to have anything to “Truth or Dare” about.

    In our house, we also had a vintage copy of the Barbie Game that was my mom’s, and as teenagers would play it over and over… even wtih our guy friends! It’s always amusing to watch 2 guys fighting over the Solo in the Spotlight prom dress! But it would be another good one for Middle School to young High School aged girls.

  2. Ginger on July 20th, 2011 6:29 pm

    Around here (NC) some of the local grocery store chains donate a portion of the sales to local schools. You have to sign up each school year. Don’t know if that’s something any of the CA grocery stores do.

  3. Headless Mom on July 20th, 2011 9:42 pm

    Do you do Box Tops? or Campbells labels? Those are relatively simple ways to get PTA $ without much effort.

    Another thing our school did last year was sell advertising space on the rotating sign on the front of the school. (You know the kind, red lights that say Welcome back to School!, etc.) I don’t know how much they charged but it’s a thought.

    Good luck. Raising $ here in CA is getting harder and harder!

  4. missmoneypenny on July 21st, 2011 7:34 am

    our small school of 300 students conducts one fundraiser every year, which funds extras throughout the whole year. we hold a raffle with a cash prize of $500. each sudent is sent whole with a book of 20 tickets to sell to friends, neighbours, etc over a two week period. volunteer moms sort and collate the tickets, gather money and make deposits. we offer small prizes of movie certis for top sellers, and host a pizza part for the class seliiing the most tickets. out raffle reguralrly nets us $12000 , is virtually painless and is done within 2 weeks. over the years we have funded smartboards, phonic ears and music tables.

  5. Elaine Shanks on July 22nd, 2011 4:16 am

    Well our kids are now all adults. But we still play board games once a month or so. And my husband is a collector of games. Of couse, the board games he buys are aimed at adults. Have you priced the cost of board games for adults? They are sooo expensive. They can run from $50 to $100!! Shocking! Oh for the cost of kids games. But we get alot of enjoyment from them – and they are made with quality materials now-a-days.

  6. Sharyl Weinshilboum on July 24th, 2011 7:51 am

    I think your game lending library is an awesome idea. A great gift to the school community and a way to encourage families to get together and have fun. Just focus on the “give back” ideas and the fundraising will come. What you really want and need is for families to feel connected to each other and support the school community. Once that atmosphere is firmly established, parents will feel like sharing their good ideas and contacts to fund projects that are meaningful.

    Just keep being a great mom and enjoy the rest of your summer days with the girls.

  7. Emily B. on July 29th, 2011 7:36 am

    Our school hosts a bookfair at Barnes and Noble. It’s a PTA Fundraiser, but they ask each teacher to come up with an event for their class to drive the business. If your school already participates in some sort of bookfair-Scholastic or otherwise, this wouldn’t be for you. Also, you would need to have a Barnes and Noble nearby and make sure they participate. Coupons are handed out through school to family and friends who then bring those in and a portion of everything bought comes back to the school. Out of town family can also use a code to order online for the bookfair window. As an 8th grade teacher, my class plans have included a poetry reading, having kids rate books they’ve read and share the ratings, and teaming up with the Kindergarten teacher for my kids to read to the kindergartners. The kids wore their pj’s and had cookies. I know some of the other teachers have read to their classes, prepared scavenger hunts (just make sure the kids aren’t ransacking the store) and our choir sang. Overall, this can be a very positive experience. It helps to have a PTA representative there during events to help out as well. Make sure you discuss it with the teachers first though, if you want them to be involved, as it can be overwhelming to take on a commitment for the evening.
    Also, the board game lending library sounds wonderful. We played games growing up, and every few weekends we get together with friends to play games. We play newer games, but also pull out the favorites from our childhood. I even started using word-related board games in my classroom every other Friday. It seems like so many of my students don’t play board games at home.

  8. Carolyn on August 6th, 2011 6:58 am

    I’m a school librarian and two years ago I collected games at garage sales and Goodwill all summer. I work with students at a school with over 80% Free and Reduced lunch. I feel strongly that games build students’ analytical and problem solving skills. But our students were missing this opportunity. The games were a HUGE hit in the library. I barcoded each box and they were checked out all the time from shelves I labeled as Easy, Medium, and Challenge.

    Unfortunately, at the end of the school year instead of 60 functional games, I had just over ten. I didn’t pursue the idea last year even though I believe strongly in the idea. I was a bit overwhelmed by the challenge of maintaining the board game collection.

    Your post has inspired me to try again. I never even thought of contacting companies to ask for donations.

    Some of the issues I had (that maybe you can avoid): boxes fall apart even though I reinforced with tape. I put card games into plastic sandwich containers. But the boxes with boards were trickier. There are board game boxes made, but they are about $13 each. I can’t afford that personally and our library and PTA had no budget.

    Games were returned without pieces. Each game is so different. I had a note asking players to check before returning, but it didn’t always happen. When I could, I listed the pieces that needed to be in the box. Games with money and cards were most challenging. I kept a box of loose game pieces, dice, checkers, etc. on hand to replace if I could. If it weren’t just me in the library I might have had better luck with the pieces. Our PTA just doesn’t have manpower beyond our two officers to volunteer more than they do.

    Overall though, it was a great experience for a year. The kids loved being able to check out games along with their books! Thank you for this blog post–I needed a kick in the pants to try this again!

    • Stephanie on August 6th, 2011 7:35 am

      Carolyn, thank you for sharing your experience! I’m preparing myself for much of what you describe. We have a few “copies” of some of the games, but I’m thinking it’d be best to just have one variety out at a time? the kids and I did make an inventory list for each box and taped it to the lid, and put all the pieces into small ziplocks.
      Since I don’t have a barcode reader, or anything like that, I’m not really sure how I’m going to keep track of the lending. I’m guessing I’m going to have a notebook?
      I appreciate you taking the time to write in— your testimonial means a lot.

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