Saturday, December 18, 2010

2 Games That Bring Family Together for the Holidays: Do Tell & Count Your Blessings

Chief Do Tell Game Tester - My son, who was interviewed for this story
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

With all the electronic and Internet-based entertainment children of all ages are now playing, it's easy as a parent to forget that there are still some really good games out there that don't involve some sort of technology.

Moms and dads, do not despair.  There is some really good news on the family gaming front, and it is decidedly very untech.    

Two recently invented G-rated jewels in the game world, Do Tell® and Chicken Soup for the Soul ™ - Count Your Blessings ™, are now bringing parents and kids back together for some quality time and fun.  

My family and I tried both of these games over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Based on that experience these are well worth sharing with family members seeking to reconnect communication between multiple generations not only during the entire holiday season but also year round.

Both of these family-centric games
  • Incorporate colorful playing pieces and simple instructions
  • Provide fun and entertainment without the use of technology
  • Encourage conversation between family members, especially parents and kids
  • Stimulate social, emotional, and intellectual faculties of young and old
  • Create an opportunity to learn about others, including your own family
  • Engage minds with activities that will bridge multiple generations
  • Produce quality time together that evolves into memories to last a life time 
The Testing & Creative Team Behind Do Tell
Photo from

Do Tell for Families, - Ages 8+, 2-8 Players, $29.95
From DoTell Enterprises, the game Do Tell family edition debuted in 2009 and is the brain child of relationship expert Kathy Jacobson.  The original Do Tell adult version, which was the basis for Do Tell for Families, was a team effort developed with major contributions from both personal and professional communities who participated in testing and playing over a period of 5 years.  

It has a simple premise for which this game was designed: to enhance family communication and understanding.  The board and playing pieces are beautifully designed with every color of the rainbow which gets everyone off to a cheery start from the moment the box is opened.   To play this children and their relatives each choose from four equally vibrant types of cards:  Do Cards, Tell Cards, Risk Cards, and Wild Cards.  

The barrel of fun really begins rolling when each player does or tells things about themselves prompted by thoughtful, sometimes very deep questions on the cards.
  • Sample Do Card:  "Be your mother (or father) first thing in the morning."
  • Sample Tell Card:  "What would you change about yourself if you could?  How and why would you change it?" or "If you had more time in a day, what would you do with it?  Why?
With questions like these to draw from and the amazing answers you get, it's no wonder that our 13 year-old son enjoyed this beyond measure.   He said, "I loved Do Tell because you really get to know your own family and find out stuff about them that you never knew before."  With comments like that about this product, it is very clear to why this game recently snared the Kidlutions Preferred Product Award.   Do Tell is available for purchase from Amazon or by calling the manufacturer direct at 888-424-4430.

Chicken Soup for the Soul ™ - Count Your Blessings ™, - Ages 11+, 2 or more Players, $24.98
It's a widely accepted belief among experts that the #1 way to happiness is to count your blessings -- which this game will likely teach you to do.  As it says on the manufacturer's website, "This is the game with an attitude for gratitude."

No, it's not the Lone Ranger - It's my son grinning ear to ear wearing Count Your Blessings' Bright Side Glasses
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Perfect for families, especially with tweens and teens and their infamous 'tudes,  the object of Count Your Blessings is to be the first player to flip all 4 tokens from "Stressed to Blessed," "Tired to Inspired," "Frazzled to Dazzled," and "Mad to Glad" just by looking on the positive side of things.

What's different about this game is that there is no playing board.  Instead, players take turns with the sun spinner to determine which of the five card stacks they pick from in each round.  The card titles include "Attitude for Gratitude," "Count Your Blessings," "Thank Tank," "Soul Food," and my 13 year-old son's favorite, "Look on the Bright Side."  The later card, BTW, involves answering a question AND getting to put on the double sunburst cardboard sunglasses which is a real conversation starter with the sullen set between the ages of 11 and 17.

Sample Questions on Cards, Sometimes With Different Options for Kids and Parents
  • Attitude of Gratitude - "You've got a terrible cold but it's exam time and school and you still have to be there.  Name a silver lining that's nothing to sneeze at."
  • Thank Tank - "You'd really like your kids to learn responsibility about money but you're not in the greatest financial position either.  Let the other players suggest ways that 'earning can be learning' for everybody."
  • Soul Food - "Opportunity of Hard Knocks.   Which all-time famous band was told by their record company, We don't like your sound and guitar music is on the way out?" The answer: The Beatles
  • Count Your Blessings - "Name 3 things you are grateful for about the country or city you live in."
  • Look on the Bright Side - "OMG, your job/school just announced that they are going from free dress to uniforms.  Name 3 reasons that 'ad-dress' why this could be a good thing."
As I said above, you also get to put on the bright side glasses whenever you pick the "Look on the Bright Side" card.  If that doesn't get your grouchy, grumbling teen smiling and getting him off his iPod or cell phone for some family fun, I doubt anything will.

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Count Your Blessings is available from and select retailers.

With choices like these two games, why not give them both a try?

Does your family do any games together that aren't high tech? If so, please share your bonding experiences by leaving a comment below.

FTC Disclosure:  I disclose that I have received the products mentioned to facilitate this review.  However, I did not receive payment or other compensation associated with this particular post.   See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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