Wendy Lias, LSW
In her recent post, Winning and Losing, Dr. Corinne Masur discussed the importance of working with children around issues of sportsmanship, sore losing, and winning with grace. I could not agree more that one of our responsibilities as parents is to help kids wrap their brains around these concepts. Our children’s eyes are on us and their ears are open—perhaps nothing demonstrates this better than my two year old repeating some of John Mulaney’s standup routine that her uncle and I were quoting to each other over Facetime recently—this means, that one of the best ways to teach children how to handle winning and losing is through modeling the behaviors ourselves. In my family, our absolute favorite way to do this is by playing games with our kids.
This brings me to one of our current favorite games: Outfoxed by Gamewright. A variation of the classic whodunit premise, Outfoxed asks players to work cooperatively to find the fox who’s guilty of stealing Mrs. Plumpert’s potpies before it has the chance to vanish down its foxhole. Players share the common goal of discovering clues, revealing potential suspects, and stopping that wily fox from making it to the end of the board. If you’re working on tricky winning and losing behaviors in your home, one of the best things about a game like Outfoxed is that everyone can practice them together. Either all players jointly accomplish their goal and you can model gracious winning or all players were unable to successfully beat the game and everyone loses together. As someone who tends to be super competitive myself, I can tell you that it’s so much easier to practice not being a sore loser when there’s no beaming winner staring at me from across the table.
Even if your focus is not on the winning and losing, Outfoxed is an excellent game for younger players. The game allows children to hone skills like visual discrimination, deductive reasoning, basic game strategy, and respecting the decisions of fellow players. And if all you’re looking for is a game that you can play with your kids without being driven up the wall, Outfoxed still fits the bill. The board and illustrations are vibrant and whimsical without being in-your-face and the game play is fairly intuitive. My one word of caution is this: make sure you troubleshoot the use of the clue decoder before you start your game play. That said, our three consecutive defeats because we were using that piece incorrectly certainly gave us ample time to practice our losing skills. Oops.
What games have you been playing with your kids? Are you interested in some of our other recommendations? Let us know in the comments here or on our Facebook or Instagram. We look forward to hearing from you!