The Afterschool & Rec team at Saratoga Family Residence recently hosted a fun-filled Family Game Night. Families were jazzed to spend a carefree evening with their kids and other families from the Saratoga community.

Director of Afterschool & Recreation Michael Chapman explained that Family Game Night is an opportunity for staff to provide a space for families to enjoy each other’s company without the added weight of having to plan an activity. Events like Family Game Night also give parents whose kids are not already enrolled in Afterschool & Rec the chance to learn about the programming and get to know the staff.

“For the parents, it’s sort of a relief for them, because they get to engage in an activity that’s fun with [their] child that they don’t have to orchestrate,” said Chapman. “The kids see it on a different level because a lot of times they see a lot of the stress and a lot of the weight that the parents carry, but they don’t get to see them enjoying a game or laughing and having fun.”

In total, 13 parents and around 40 kids of all ages turned out for the occasion. Games—including Connect Four and Battleship—were available, as well as organized contests for everyone to participate in such as Musical Chairs and Bingo—a crowd favorite. A delicious warm meal, catered by local restaurant Jamaican Flavors, was also provided.

“My favorite part about Game Night is that we played bingo,” said nine-year-old Ameilia. “That I played bingo with [my mom] and that she played with me.”

Parents expressed the importance of spending time with their kids as well as bringing families from the Saratoga community together.

“It helps you interact with your kid and know them a little bit better,” said one mother. “Getting to know all the other parents, sometimes they need help with certain things … so they ask other parents.”

Another mother added, “Not only that, you can incorporate that when you go home. Whatever activity you enjoy. You could do it over the weekend with your child.”

Parents and kids alike voiced overwhelming interest in attending future family-inclusive activities. Seven-year-old Jachbiany is already looking forward to playing dodgeball with her mom at the next event.

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