Get Your Paws on Outfoxed

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!

The Benefits of Recess

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released new findings that demonstrate the benefits of recess for children and their schools:

Unknown“When elementary schools create a safe and healthy recess for students, there can be a major impact on individual kids and school climate overall. In schools with safe and healthy recess students are more active, more cooperative, and more likely to use strong conflict resolution tools. Schools also see more drops in bullying and disciplinary referrals, and reductions in the number of conflicts that start in recess, spill back into class, and take up valuable class time to resolve.”

Check it out here:
http://www.playworks.org/blog/rwjf-research-recess-better-outcomes

A Team Effort: Thoughts on Children and Sports

Dr. Corinne Masur

I’ve just listened to an interview with Mike Matheny, former professional baseball player and manager of The St. Louis Cardinals. He recently wrote The Matheny Manifesto, a book on sports and life in which he makes some very, very good points.

Does your child play t-ball or little league? Are you considering when to start your child on a soccer or tennis team? If so, Mike has some great ideas. He examines how to talk about your child and sports – and if you don’t have time to read the book or listen to the podcast (Fresh Air, 5/4/15) look at these brief points (some his, some mine): Continue reading

Smith Playground: One of Philly’s Greatest Treasures

A parenting blog wouldn’t be complete without featuring Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, a Philadelphia treasure. Located in Fairmount Park, Smith has acres of outdoor space and a 16,000 square foot playhouse designed to promote creative, unstructured play. There’s a wooden train, kid-size kitchen toys, musical instruments, a giant slide, rocks for climbing, a sunny room filled with books– plus so much more. Best of all, it’s free (although donations are welcomed) and open year-round. We’ll see you there!

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse