Changing the World One Small Action at a Time

(Family Crossings) – You can change the world. That’s what the people behind the movement “We Are What We Do” believe. People like you taking small actions that add up to big change.

It started with the question, “What would you ask one million people to do to change the world?” Thousands of ideas from around the world came in. The ideas weren’t sweeping policy changes – they were small and unexpected everyday actions that anyone can do:

  • Keep a promise.
  • Read a story to a child.
  • Learn something new.
  • Run an errand for an elderly neighbor or single parent.

Fifty of the best suggestions were published in the book “Change the World for Ten Bucks” (Chronicle Books 2009). This little book has had a big impact, selling over 1,000,000 copies in the U.K., Canada, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, and now this will be the first time it’s available in the U.S.

“Because it’s not just politicians and business leaders who change the world,” says the book’s editor Eugenie Harvey. “Each of us, through the hundreds of tiny actions we take every day, shapes the world we live in.” In other words, small actions x lots of people = big change. “This project carries a much-needed message of hope for people everywhere,” says Harvey. “Love yourself, cherish life, protect our future.”

It’s not simply about being green, Harvey says. “We are about bringing the kinds of lasting change which will positively affect our environment, our local, national and international communities and ourselves.” For example, the book includes a postcard to send to someone who inspires you (Action 35), two pages stuck together as a reminder not to throw gum in the street (Action 24), tear-out tabs to make introductions to the neighbors (Action 45), and dozens of other creative prompts for positive change.

Connecting Online

In addition to taking the actions in the book, people can visit to inspire and track their progress. On the site you can:

  • Submit your own ideas for change.
  • Update your Connect with Facebook with an application that lets you view all 50 actions from the book and update your newsfeed with the ones you complete.
  • Buy another copy of the book to give to a friend (Action 47).

The site also provides a unique way to connect people to finding volunteer work in their communities, via Enter your zip code, select an area of interest – everything from animals and arts to justice and seniors – and you’ll get a list of local organizations that will welcome your time and efforts.

To find out more about how you really can change the world, visit

Action 02 – Spend time with someone of a different generation.

Action 43 – Be resourceful.

Action 30 – Bake something for a friend

Next time you need to buy a friend a present, don’t. Make them one instead.

Gingerbread Men

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg and syrup.
  4. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Chill the dough before rolling onto a lightly floured board, to a 1/8 inch thickness.
  6. Cut into shapes, using a gingerbread cutter.
  7. Bake on a lightly greased tray for 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Give away immediately. 
From “Change the World for Ten Bucks,” Chronicle Books 2009

“We must be the change we want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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Design Your Life

(Family Crossings) – If you ask most women to write their ideal job description, consistent raises, more family time and more “me time” would be essential.

These three essentials are at the top of working women’s wish lists, according to the 2008 Ask A Working Woman Survey, an annual online survey conducted by Working America.

The 20,000 survey respondents echoed what so many more working women are feeling these days. They want more time with their families, but can’t afford it. They want some time to themselves, but can’t get it. In fact, 72 percent of the working mothers surveyed said they had less than an hour to themselves a day.

These are some of the very reasons that millions of women have turned away from traditional nine-to-five office jobs and have found exactly what they’re looking for in the home-based business of direct sales.

Direct selling is simply person-to-person selling, without the middle man of a retail store. Most often it’s done through fun and casual home parties where people gather to eat, talk and shop together.

At a time when the U.S. economy is in recession, the stock market is down, unemployment is on the rise, consumer confidence is low and legendary retailers are closing their doors, the direct sales industry is strong. With stable, proven and growing companies, direct sales offers an opportunity to earn significant income quickly with minimal investment and risk, and more personal and family time.

More and more women have found the direct sales industry to be an attractive career option. In 2007, U.S. direct sales exceeded $30.8 billion. Of the more than 15 million direct sellers nationwide, 87.9 percent are women. Approximately 90 percent of direct sellers operate their businesses part-time, leaving them more time for family and themselves.

From recent college graduates to stay-at-home moms, working professionals to retirees looking for something more satisfying, women are finding that with a career in direct sales, they can design the life they’ve always wanted.

Success Story

In 1997, Bonnie Kelly and Teresa Walsh were two stay-at-home moms looking for a way to earn extra money without sacrificing personal and family time. They started Silpada Designs, a direct sales company specializing in handcrafted sterling silver jewelry.

Today, Silpada is the largest direct seller, and one of the top retailers, of sterling silver jewelry in the United States. In 2008, the company exceeded $265 million in retail sales. Its more than 27,000 U.S. representatives had more than 275,000 home parties, distributing more than eight million pieces of jewelry.

Kelly and Walsh turned a passion for jewelry into a business that provided financial freedom, flexibility and, most importantly, a way to infuse some fun into every day – a goal for any woman trying to juggle work and home life while maintaining her own sense of self.

“It’s all about empowering women with a wonderful business opportunity and creating lifelong friendships,” Kelly said. “Silpada means ‘the best of everything,’ and that’s what we really try to focus on. It’s more than jewelry, it’s more than a job. It’s a lifestyle.”

Walsh adds, “We believe that success doesn’t come from the degrees you have or the initial investment you make, but from a passion to design the life you want. You can make your goals and dreams as big as you want them to be or as simple as you need them to be. With a company like Silpada, if you want a little time away or dream of redecorating your house or need to take on your family’s expenses, you can.”

Kelly and Walsh want to encourage women of all ages to take charge of their lives and consider a home-based business. “It’s a way to achieve financial freedom, increase self-confidence, and maintain a work-life balance that blends with any lifestyle,” Walsh says.

“We are inspired on a daily basis by our representatives’ emotional stories about how owning their own business and having control of their income has had a positive impact on their families,” Kelly said.

To find out more about Silpada or to learn about becoming a representative, visit

Tips for choosing the right direct sales company for you

It’s important to take your time evaluating any direct sales company you consider joining. Bonnie and Teresa offer these tips to help you find the company that is right for you.

Passion for the Product. Join a company that you feel confident sharing their product. How do they ensure high quality and uniqueness? Does the product have a lifetime guarantee? The more passion and confidence you have in your product, the easier it is to sell.

Initial Investment. Evaluate the cost of beginning your own business, how quickly you can expect to recoup your initial investment, and what the company offers to continue to support you as your business grows. Ask what incentives they have in place for new representatives to support them in the beginning of their business.

At Silpada, for example, representatives do not carry inventory. Their initial investment is for their jewelry that they can wear and display at their home parties. On average, representatives make up their initial business investment within the first four to six home parties.

Fair and Competitive Compensation. Ask questions regarding the direct profit, override commissions and pay structure of the company’s compensation plan. It’s important to feel confident that the company you choose has a fair and competitive compensation plan and that you can continue to increase your earnings as your grow your business.

Great Customer Service. Your customers are your current and future business, so it is important that the company you choose is customer focused. Make sure to ask questions such as: What does the company do to support its customers? Do customers have to pay for their returns? The better your customers are taken care of the better your business will be.

Training and Support. Ensure that the company you join is dedicated to helping you achieve the success you are looking for. What type of training do they offer? How will they support your business? Is there a cost involved? What types of training events are company sponsored?

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The Power of Clean Water

(Family Crossings) – A cool, refreshing drink of water is something many people take for granted. But what if we didn’t have access to safe drinking water? Up until 100 years ago we did not. In fact, it was often dangerous.

For thousands of years, people all over the world tried different ways to filter drinking water to purify it. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists discovered germs and learned that they could carry disease through water and other media. Filtering wasn’t enough.

Waterborne illnesses such as cholera and typhoid once killed thousands of Americans each year. During the four years of the Civil War, for example, 75,000 people came down with typhoid, and more than 27,000 died from it. In 1900, typhoid claimed another 25,000 lives.

In the early days of the 20th century, chemists found that adding small amounts of chlorine to drinking water destroys bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms.

In 1908, Jersey City and Chicago became the first U.S. cities to use chlorine to help provide safe drinking water. By 1941, chlorine disinfection was being used by 85 percent of U.S. water treatment systems, and typhoid was nearly eradicated.

Continue reading The Power of Clean Water

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Fire Safety 101

(Family Crossings) – As the time change nears, there are a few simple things you can do to make your home and family safer.

This Fire Safety 101 guide will show you easy, affordable and ultimately life-saving precautions you can take today that can help prevent a fire in your home.

Get the Facts

Home fires seem to be things that happen to other people – so why should you be concerned?

  • Approximately every three hours a home fire death occurs somewhere in the nation.
  • Two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. According to the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by providing an early warning and critical extra seconds to escape.

While 96 percent of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, 19 percent do not have at least one smoke alarm that works, mostly due to missing or dead batteries. This means roughly 25 million homes are at risk because of non-working smoke alarms and an additional 4.5 million homes are at risk by not having smoke alarms.

For the 22nd year in a row, Energizer and the IAFC are partnering in the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® program. Established to help reduce the tragic number of home fire deaths and injuries, Change Your Clock Change Your Battery urges Americans to change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when changing clocks back to standard time each fall – this year on November 1.

In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, take some time to learn about fire safety and to complete a home fire safety checklist. You can make your home safer – today.

For more information, visit

Fire Facts

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) believes that fire deaths can be reduced by teaching people the basic facts about fire.

Fire is FAST!

  • In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire.
  • It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames.
  • If you wake up during a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape. 

Fire is HOT!

  • Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire’s heat alone can kill.
  • Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this air has the potential to scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin.
  • In five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover.

Fire is DARK!

  • Fire isn’t bright, it’s pitch black.
  • Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
  • If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in for years.

Fire is DEADLY!

  • Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill.
  • Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath.
  • The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.

Statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Agency and the United States Fire Administration.

Home Fire Safety Checklist

This is a very basic checklist to help you identify potential fire hazards in your home.

General Fire Safety
YES __ NO__ Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries are changed at least once a year. Use the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery program as a reminder to help keep the batteries fresh.
YES __ NO__ You have both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms.
YES __ NO__ There are working smoke alarms near the sleeping areas.
YES __ NO__ There are working smoke alarms on every level.
YES __ NO__ The smoke alarms are cleaned regularly and tested once a month.
YES __ NO__ Portable fire extinguishers are available and family members know how to use them properly.
YES __ NO__ You have a home escape plan and practice it regularly.

Heating Hazards
YES __ NO__ Combustibles such as clothes, curtains and furniture are away from stoves and heaters.
YES __ NO__ Heating appliances are tested every year.
YES __ NO__ All alternative heating devices used are Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) approved.
YES __ NO__ Carbon monoxide detectors are installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

Electrical Hazards
YES __ NO__ Electric cords are not worn, frayed or damaged.
YES __ NO__ Extension cords are not under rugs, over nails, through water or across passageways.
YES __ NO__ Electrical outlets are not overloaded by multiple plug devices.
YES __ NO__ Electric appliances are not used near water.

General Housekeeping Hazards
YES __ NO__ Closets, basements, attics and garage areas are clean of old paper, boxes, paint cans and other trash.
YES __ NO__ Flammable liquids and oily rags are disposed of after use or stored in a tightly closed metal container.
YES __ NO__ All combustibles are stored a safe distance away from any possible heat source.

Kitchen Hazards
YES __ NO__ The stove and oven are in good working condition.
YES __ NO__ The stove area is kept clean and free of grease.
YES __ NO__ Combustible materials are kept away from open flames and heat sources.

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Energy Savers

Family Crossings- With the volatile economy Americans are looking for ways to lower energy bills and extend natural resources now more than ever. Because petroleum is ingrained in our everyday lives – from transportation and tires to computers and every day goods such as diapers – many Americans are interested in options that will help reduce dependence on foreign oil as well.

Here are a few helpful tips to lower energy bills and increase energy efficiency both at home and at the pump.

Don’t Warm Up Your Car

The best way to warm your vehicle is to drive it. Idling gets you zero miles to the gallon. More than 30 seconds of idling on cold days wastes fuel and increases emissions.

Continue reading Energy Savers

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Weighing in on Weight Loss

Family Crossings- Celeste LaBonte’s knee gave out one day at home. Her orthopedist told the Blackstone, Mass. mom that the knee damage was caused by her excessive weight.

Celeste found that, at 294 pounds, she had to use a seat belt extender on planes and that she had a difficult time going up stairs. But it wasn’t until she learned of her husband’s upcoming professional award and imagined embarrassment at the ceremony that she decided to make a big change.

Celeste isn’t alone. With challenges to the body like a slowing metabolism, stress, childbearing and easy access to less than nutritional food, it’s no wonder that so many women struggle with their weight.

Weight can affect your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, being overweight increases your risk for a host of health problems, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

The Search for a Solution

Millions of dollars are spent each year on diet programs, yet up to 95 percent of dieters fail to maintain weight loss. There is often an initial loss of weight, but then many people hit a plateau and stop losing weight. Another problem with many diets is that people just can’t maintain a diet long-term.

But many of those programs are based on a flawed premise: if you simply eat less and move more, then you’ll be smaller. There’s more to it than that.

Metabolism Matters

When calories are restricted, your metabolism drops. When this happens, you hit a plateau and the pounds stop coming off. In order to break through that plateau, most diets call for a further reduction in calories. This lowers the metabolism more, requiring a lifetime of low-calorie dieting to maintain your goal weight.

Celeste joined Curves, a fitness franchise designed for women. She signed up for their free weight management plan, which takes metabolism changes into account. She’s lost over 60 pounds so far.

“The Curves plan has changed how I think about food,” said Celeste. “It helped me jump-start my weight loss, and I’ve been following the essentials of the plan ever since.” She also found that the program, combined with 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, improved her cholesterol, blood pressure, acid reflux and knee pain.

The Real Key to Weight Loss

“The secret is not willpower or self discipline,” says Nadia Rodman, senior dietician for Curves, “but rather a proper understanding of how we can change our behavior, or, more specifically, our habits.”

Rodman believes that women can take charge of their health and combat the effects of aging and disease. “We’re about fitness, health, and moving away from disease,” she says. “We’re about losing weight and gaining strength. In a community of support and encouragement, you can reach your goals.”

Celeste has a new vision of herself. “I’d always be looking around, asking myself, ‘Am I the fattest person in the room?’ This has changed the way I view myself. I’ve always been happy, but now it’s about having fun, not making fun of myself.”

Picking a Plan

According to the Weight-Control Information Network, safe and effective weight-loss programs should include:

  • Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not forbid specific foods or food groups.
  • Tips to increase moderate-intensity physical activity.
  • Tips on healthy habits that also keep your needs in mind, such as lower-fat versions of your favorite foods.
  • Slow and steady weight loss. Depending on your starting weight, experts recommend losing weight at a rate of 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. Weight loss may be faster at the start of a program.
  • A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it.

Plan the Solution

From the book “Curves Fitness and Weight Management Plan”:

Setting goals is a must. Your goals must be specific, written, exciting and achievable. Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • What personal strengths will help you succeed?
  • What are your triggers for making poor food choices?
  • How can you manage those triggers more effectively?
  • What time of day will you take a 30-minute walk?
  • What are your biggest fears about starting a new plan?
  • How could you proactively address those fears?

How One Plan Works

The Curves Weight Management Plan is a cycle made up of three phases.

  • Phases 1 and 2 are weight loss phases that you use for a combined 30 days.
  • Phase 3 is two to four weeks of metabolic recovery.

Research has shown that by following a strength training program, such as the one offered by Curves, and eating a higher protein diet, metabolism is not significantly decreased. Sometimes, it actually increases – making it easier to burn fat and maintain permanent weight loss.

For more about the free weight management classes – available to non-members as well as members – visit your local Curves or

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Is Pet Adoption For You?

How much will owning a pet cost? How much time do I really need to devote to a pet? These are questions potential pet owners should ask prior to adopting. However, not everyone takes the time to assess the responsibilities and requirements associated with pet ownership, increasing the likelihood a pet will be surrendered to an animal welfare organization. Sometimes a pet is given up for hardship reasons such as displacement after a natural disaster or home foreclosure. But one of the biggest and more controllable factors affecting pet relinquishment is a lack of knowledge on the owner’s part.

The good news is pet relinquishment is often preventable through education. Potential pet adopters who truly evaluate their situations and get answers to important questions before bringing pets into their homes can increase their chances of a permanent pet adoption.

Continue reading Is Pet Adoption For You?

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Safer Schools

– In 2003, a student’s discovery of 8.5 fluid ounces of elemental mercury in an unlocked chemistry cabinet forced a high school in Washington, D.C., to close for 35 days. The cleanup cost more than $1 million.

In August 2008, a school janitor spilled two gallons of hydrochloric acid at the Edison Technical and Occupational Education Center in Rochester, N.Y. One employee inhaled the fumes and had to be taken to the hospital for evaluation.

From elementary school maintenance closets to high school chemistry labs, outdated, unknown or unneeded amounts of hazardous or inappropriate chemicals are found in K-12 schools across the nation, potentially putting students and staff at risk.

Learning about the chemistry in the world around us is essential to a well-rounded education, yet many lab chemicals, if mismanaged, can be hazardous to students and school staff. Ceramics kilns are sometimes vented directly into schools, releasing carbon monoxide, metal fumes and ozone. The use of flammable and volatile products by maintenance staff can pose fire safety issues and affect the indoor air quality.

Other potential hazards found in public schools have included:

  • cyanide salts
  • water reactive metals such as sodium, lithium and potassium
  • arsenic
  • flammable materials such as paint thinner
  • radioactive materials such as thorium nitrate and uranium tetrachloride

In addition to the presence of hazardous materials, more risk comes when school staff is not properly trained in the hazards associated with them, and where there is a lack of protective equipment or health and safety practices.

Continue reading Safer Schools

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Children Who Give Back

There’s a saying that charity begins at home. And when it comes to raising children to be generous, giving people, that expression is quite literally true.

Schools, clubs, religious organizations, nonprofit organizations and civic groups often involve students in fundraising efforts or donation drives, but the best way to raise caring kids is to be a caring role model at home. When it comes to volunteering or donating money, for example, children are more likely to follow their parents’ lead. The Corporation for National and Community Service says that nearly nine out of 10 young people who give their time have parents and siblings who also volunteer.

Major corporations are also lending a hand to encourage and support volunteerism by young people. One example is Build-A-Bear Workshop and its Huggable Heroes program, which recognizes young people between the ages of 7 and 18 who are giving back in their communities and beyond, and rewards them with scholarships, charitable contributions, networking opportunities and leadership training.

“Kids today are very aware of what’s going on in the world and want to make a difference and we wanted to create a program that recognized their worthy efforts – large and small,” said Maxine Clark, founder and chief executive bear at Build-A-Bear Workshop. “We’ve found that the first step is often as simple as identifying a problem and taking action to resolve it.” And it doesn’t always have to be about raising money.

Whether it’s deciding to collect suitcases to give to foster children after seeing them carrying their belongings in a trash bag, or working to assemble packs filled with goodies and school supplies to send to children whose lives have been torn apart by a natural disaster, kids are finding creative ways to solve problems.

These are just a few real world examples of young people making a tremendous difference in the lives of others. Here are some easy ways to help your children put their feelings into action and develop a lifestyle of caring.

Let them choose a cause.

Children are more likely to stay with something they are really interested in. Whether it’s working with animals, bettering the environment, reading, the arts or sports, help them find volunteer areas that they’ll enjoy. Does your teenage son love soccer? Perhaps he can coach a team of underprivileged kids. Does your daughter love animals? Maybe she can start a drive to raise funds and supplies for a local rescue shelter.

Make it a family affair.

Doing something together can bring the whole family closer together.

  • Volunteer as a family to rake the neighbor’s yard, help sort food at a food bank, or set up a lemonade stand or a bake sale to raise money for a cause your family is passionate about.
  • Sponsor a child through an international organization that provides clothing, food and education for children. Your family will get pictures and updates about that child, and you can take turns writing him or her letters.
  • Set a family fundraising goal for the year. Decide as a family to raise a certain amount to support a specific cause. Keep a big jar on the kitchen counter so that everyone can drop in their spare change and parts of monthly allowances to help meet that goal. At the end of the year, count it all up and turn it in together.

Get others involved.

  • A growing number of children are engaging their friends in charity work by turning birthday parties into opportunities to serve. Instead of everyone bringing presents, they bring a toy to donate to children in need or new clothing for a homeless shelter. Everyone still has a great time with games and cake, and they feel great knowing they’ve helped someone else.
  • Another fun way to let kids help other kids is to host a charity bear-making party. Schedule a birthday party at a Build-A-Bear Workshop store with the goal of having the children make special animals that they will donate to a children’s hospital. To make the giving even more special, they can make one of several stuffed animals that give back – sales support animal shelters nationwide, the World Wildlife Fund, First Book and other children’s literacy initiatives, or children’s health and wellness programs.

There are thousands of young people taking action and making a difference every day. Some of them receive recognition but the best reward they get is seeing how they’re making their world a better place.

Actions speak louder than words. Help your kids make a difference by taking action today.

Think Locally

There are opportunities to help in your own community. As a family, do some online research and make some phone calls to find out what local groups need and how your family can help.

  • Hospitals: toys and art supplies for children
  • Senior centers: cards and artwork to brighten up rooms, hugs to brighten up someone’s day
  • Food banks: Call and find out what items they need the most.
  • Schools and libraries: Some inner city children don’t have access to many books. Find out if a book drive will help in your area.
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Family Game Night

Are you ready for a great family night in? If so, get ready for a night of fun and schedule a family game night! Hasbro, the maker of Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games, suggests a few tips to maximize your family game night so that it is something the whole family will look forward to week after week:

Schedule it!: Decide in advance which day will be your family game night. It doesn’t matter which night of the week you choose – any night will do! As long as the date is marked on a calendar that everyone can see and the parents make it a priority to keep the appointment, the night will be one to remember!

Involve everyone in the planning: Involve the whole family in the planning process by allowing the kids to pick the games or choose the snacks. For variety, rotate responsibilities each time you have a family game night.

Create a tradition: Whether it’s a specific family-favorite dinner before game night, the way that teams are chosen or a 30-minute extension on bedtime, establish an activity on family game night that becomes a family tradition. This element will create even more excitement with everyone in the family.

Keep a family scoreboard: From week to week, recognize the family member who won the last game night by posting their name on a special scoreboard – perhaps it’s a place of honor on the refrigerator. Or, create a family crown that can be worn by the winner at dinner or during the next game night.

Remind everyone: To keep the date with the family, set up reminders to make sure that game night happens. Set up an alarm on a handheld device or on the family computer. For the kids, put a note in their lunchbox reminding them about family game night. By building anticipation for family game night, you will help build excitement for family time.

Mix it up with special guests: To expand the fun, invite other families in your neighborhood to participate in a family game night tournament. Or, if you have extended family members staying with you or if you are traveling during a scheduled game night, invite everyone to participate!

The top reason to have a family game night is to have fun! However, whether enjoying a family-favorite game or discovering a potential new favorite, playing board games as a family provides other benefits too, including:

Laughter: Games offer a fresh experience every time you play, providing new ways to have fun and laugh together. Some games, such as Cranium and Operation, are developed with giggles in mind and would be a great choice on nights when everyone needs a good laugh.

Family Bonding: Game play allows your kids to learn from you and from each other. It encourages a sense of connectedness and respect among family members.

Learning: Games can be a subtle learning tool. For instance, Clue is good for learning deductive reasoning. Monopoly is ideal for teaching beginning budget skills and Yahtzee provides a fun way to teach simple addition and multiplication.

Life Skills: Games teach kids important life skills such as patience, concentration, teamwork and perseverance. By taking turns, following rules and even losing a game, kids learn skills that they can apply at school and in the home.

By mixing together kids and parents, turning off text-messaging and playing a board game, you’ll have an evening of fun, laughter and love that will bring the family closer together and create memories for years to come.

Games for all ages

While the game you select isn’t as important as the time spent together as a family, you may want to consider the age of the players and the amount of time available for family game night when selecting a game. To get you started, here are some all-time favorites, and a few new games, to consider:

Families with kids ages 6 to 8: Pictureka!, Sorry! Sliders, Operation, Monopoly Jr.

Families with kids ages 8 to 10: Clue, Monopoly, Cranium Family Edition, The Game Of Life

Families with kids ages 10 to 12: Monopoly, Yahtzee, Clue

Families with teenagers: Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition, Scrabble, Cranium Wow, Jenga, Catch Phrase, Trivial Pursuit

For more game ideas, visit

Did you know?

  • More than five billion little green Monopoly houses have been “built” since 1935.
  • Cavity Sam, the long-suffering patient on the Operation table recently received a face-lift. He now suffers from such modern-day ailments as phone finger and bad plumbing.
  • The highest sum of money that a player can earn in The Game of Life is $3,115,000, which is taking into account that the player lands on all of the spaces that give money and that the player has the highest salary amount.
  • Tokens from the United States Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition were flown into space aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2007.
  • According to a recent survey, Scarlet and Mustard are the most popular of the six Clue characters.

Hasbro Games

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