Playing Games Brings Families Closer

Rosh Hashanah Bingo

My husband comes from serious games-playing people. On my first visit there, we played no-holds-barred contract gin. Coming from my small, quiet family, I found it overwhelming. But I liked it.

So when we had children, it seemed natural to incorporate family games from a very young age. Our version of contract gin was more restrained. We take turns. We do not slap at the cards. But we are very serious and competitive, through the laughter and loud music.

Rosh Hashanah Clock 2014

When our girls were young elementary school age, I sketched out our first version of Hanukkah Bingo onto pieces of cardboard.

As our girls grew, we added battles in Pictionary, Cranium, and Trivial Pursuit.

To this day, we love to get together and get “pretend” furious with each other over the luck of the draw.

Games Playing Leads to . . .

So this article from about “Why Family Game Night Is Important” really resonated.

Author Marie Hartwell-Walker Ed.D., talks about five benefits of playing as a family, including the connections, life skills, sportsmanship, and communication that game nights create.

My favorite is her belief that:

Families that can have fun together on a regular basis create an emotional ‘bank’ of good memories and positive feelings.

Child psychologist Sylvia Rimm, PhD. (NBC Today Show correspondent, public radio reporter) echoes this, saying that:

playing a game creates a relaxed environment to converse, laugh and really get to know one another, and all of this can be accomplished in as little as 20 minutes.

Rosh Hashanah Bingo – A new way to celebrate

It’s why we developed another game to foster Jewish celebrating.

Our new Rosh Hashanah Bingo Game brings together kids, parents, and grandparents. One thing I especially like is that a child as young as 2-1/2 can play and even win the game.

It’s also a good teaching tool, not just because each symbol is explained, but because the value of the positive memories from playing together goes far beyond learning how fish and pomegranates and doves fit into the Rosh Hashanah narrative.

Make your own Rosh Hashanah bingo

You can also encourage your older children to create your own unique version of Rosh Hashanah Bingo. They can include holiday elements that are especially meaningful for you – Aunt Bessie’s Potato Kugel or Grandma Sophie’s Taiglach or Cousin Alfred’s homemade gefilte fish. Or maybe you have a kippah (yarmulke) that you save just for the High Holy Days. They can include a drawing of that.

Our version includes How to Play Rosh Hashanah Bingo instructions, explanation of symbols, four bingo boards, and 18 playing cards. So it works for four players plus one caller.

But you can make a larger or smaller game, according what would work well for your family.

This would also be a great assignment in a Sunday school class.

Your turn

What other symbols would you add to a Rosh Hashanah Game that is unique to your family?

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Other posts you might like:

Fun Rosh Hashanah Video – Watch this video with your kids and see just how many Rosh Hashanah symbols you can find!

Conquer the Pomegranate for Rosh Hashanah


  1. Ellen says

    Thanks so much to Joyce, creator of “What Happens at Grandma’s” blog for sharing this thought:

    I love the way this post expresses how easy it is to give children a solid sense of belonging and security in the world via family game nights. That is the place where warm memories, “inside jokes” and strong bonding are born. Waiting turns, honesty and strategic learning skills are honed, too, but nothing is more important than the happy laughter and unconditional love that comes from these gatherings!

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