The last day of holidays before school returned marked the end of an epic three-day game of highly competitive monopoly! It was fast paced, highly thrilling at times as each player faced unforeseen financial burdens and frustrating at others as strategies were won and others lost. The best part was that it was fun and enjoyable.
As the game drew to an end and those still standing carefully counted up the wads of cash in their pockets and added it to their prized assets (I sadly was not the proud owner of any high-priced blue or red coloured streets), I began thinking about the value that we’d all experienced and benefited from in the last few days.
I realised that our epic battle had done wonders for achieving some quality time together. Not only had I successfully managed to divert attention away from the TV (iCarly and Victorious were seriously doing my head in), but I had also managed to initiate some family time that could be shared and enjoyed across all ages of the siblings. The educational value in a game like Monopoly meant that the older girls were exposed to real life concepts concerned with understanding monetary finance and how best to manage their money responsibly whilst simple mathematics of adding up and giving change proved rewarding to the littlies. It prompted them to consider the balance between the benefits of holding large cash money as opposed to owning many assets, planning ahead and budgeting for taxes and necessary expenditures (like landing themselves in jail or on the many hotels and houses placed on Park Lane and Mayfair), and the concept of working strategically towards achieving their goals.
For Miss Charlie, even though her interest in the game peaked at times and waned at others (fortunately I played for her during her time out periods – a 6-year-old really just doesn’t have the attention span for epic Monopoly battles), it was interesting to work through the challenges of simple mathematics with her. Whilst many might say that resorting to methods such as counting on your fingers is not beneficial to long-term development, it proved a great method in a time poor situation. Miss Charlie showed leaps and bounds when quickly counting her little fingers to add up the die and move her marker around the board. When she landed herself most unfortunately in jail, we talked about the similarity between the two times tables and doubling numbers. Suddenly 2×3 was an easy “6” despite 3×2 presenting all too much of a challenge. And when the banker suddenly found herself short of $100 notes, Miss Charlie understood that having 2 lots of $50 notes was just as good.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson that all children faced throughout the duration of the competition was the importance of fairness and being humble. As older sister #2 landed on free parking for the third time, acquiring so much cash that she could barely count it, the rest of us found ourselves smiling and saying congratulations to her. We understood that whilst it perhaps was not fair that she had all of the good fortune, we were forced to accept that such was the luck of the game and the roll of the dice. (As an aside we also learnt that whilst impromptu pillow fights were a great method for unleashing our frustration in a playful manner, they weren’t the best when trying to play an organized and free-flowing game).
So as official keeper of the peace and judge presiding over sibling rivalry, I speak for all when I say that:
“No matter the outcome, win or lose; the experience was fun, thought provoking, highly entertaining, much more rewarding than another episode of Spongebob and definitely one for the memory bank.”