The Games Our Children Make Us Play

Photography by Ali Martell

Having children means having to play games you don’t like and with toys you can’t stand. It’s true. I cannot even tell you how many times I have played “Sorry!” over the last 10 years, or how many Polly Pockets I have dressed and undressed over the years. And don’t even get me started on War and Spit.

“But Mama, ‘Sorry!’ is my most favorite game ever!” It’s also the only game I can get all three of my children to play together.

“But Mama, Polly’s rubber clothing just won’t come off and she absolutely needs to change her outfit before her date!” And when my daughters play with Polly Pockets it means that their faces aren’t buried in some sort of screen—the television, the computer or a hand-held gaming device.

So, really, how can I complain?

My kids want to play with me. And they want to play with each other. And, well, they just want to play.

But how come they never want to play anything that I want to play? Why don’t they want to play a better card game, like Gin or Spades? Why don’t they want to play a better board game, like “Settlers of Catan”? Why don’t they want to play a better doll game, like with Barbies? I guess I’m just out of luck.

What do your kids make you play with them?

—Ali, senior associate editor of

2 responses to “The Games Our Children Make Us Play”

  1. Mrs. Wilson says:

    I LOVE Settlers. Love it. (And so does my 10-year-old.) (Thankfully.)

    We play a lot of Monopoly, although my 4-year-old doesn’t really “play” as much as she just rolls the dice and moves her little guy as many spaces as she wants.

  2. Ali says:

    My older two both play Catan, but a) we can only play is isabella is in bed or not home and b) Josh’s strategy is to only buy development cards and not really to win and that’s no fun for anyone.

    We are all learning how to play Cities and Knights now. SO MANY NEW RULES.