Parenting with the UnGame

Note: On on January 11, 2009 I began facilitating a parenting class for DaySpring, the church I attend in Waco.  I’m going to be offering some of what I’m doing there in this space over the Spring.

This past Sunday morning I was away from DaySpring fulfilling a speaking commitment made last Fall.  In my absence the lovely Holly – my longsuffering wife – agreed to step in and lead the group through a demonstration of how we enjoy the UnGame at our house.

The UnGame has no “goal” other than promoting conversation.  The original version comes with a game board that serves no other purpose than to get you to the cards.  So, at our house, we just use the cards.

A typical UnGame experience at our place usually begins as dinner is wrapping up.  Someone will say, “Let’s do an UnGame card.”  If we have guests, we explain the game, and everyone jumps in.

Each UnGame pack comes with two “levels” of cards.  Level one cards ask for fairly easy responses around items like, “Tell about your favorite pet.”  Level two cards ask a person to go a bit deeper around items such as, “Share something no one knows about you.”  Sometimes everyone will respond to each card.  Other times each person will pick a card from the stack and responds to his or her card.  There are some cards that allow you to make up a question.  So you could ask, “Whats the largest object you’ve ever gotten all the way up your nose?”  or “Which of your family members smells most like compost?”  As you can see, this is limited only by the degree of your pathology.

This simple little “game” has led to hours of energizing conversation with family and friends.  We have some guests who request that we pull out the cards whenever they visit our home.

My assistant, Jennifer, helped me put together a sample pack of cards for each family represented in the class.  Holly then divided the class up in to small groups, and they played.  She reported that she finally had to call time and stop the game since the worship service couldn’t start until they cleared out.

You can imagine that teens might have a little more trouble jumping in since one of their jobs is to be skeptical of ANYTHING that parents suggest.   However, our children started playing while they were too young to realize that parents are dorks.  So, start while they’re young and naive! (If your kids are already older, though, don’t fret.  We’ve seen more than a few teens get hooked, especially if you throw in an occasional reference to bodily noises.)

You can see all the different card packs here. If you give it a try, I bet you won’t regret it!



About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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