A brain gain at inaugural Board Games Day

Autumn Salinas, 7, eyes her next move during a game of Connect Four as part of Board Games Day Thursday at the Bertha Briggs Memorial Building.

Joanna Blackwood’s two daughters have been wanting to play more board games at home for about a year. Their family’s interest in a more traditional form of games translated to a day of fun for other locals.

At least 20 children ages 7 to 11 gathered with their parents for the inaugural Board Games Day at the Bertha Briggs Building at the Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday. Blackwood organized the two-hour event and was happy with the turnout.

“It’s just a way we grew up, rather than looking at TV screens and stuff like that,” she said of board games. “It was really well received and I’m hoping to be able to have another one in August sometime.”

Blackwood shared information about the board game event, which was free to participating families, through a Facebook page created by another local mom. Julie Engelhardt, mother of two, created the page “Kids’ Fun for Free (or Cheap) in Hollister” so families could find fun and affordable ways to keep children busy during the summer.

Blackwood said she knew about half of the families who turned out for the game day event, but there were also unfamiliar faces. She said about half the kids were involved in either Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

There were about a dozen games from which the kids could choose. Blackwood said each child was busy at all times and was able to play more than one game. She said the most popular games included Checkers, Chess, Scrabble, Monopoly, Candylane, Yahtzee, an I-spy game and bingo.

“It seemed to work out that they buddied up with someone or got together in a group,” Blackwood said. “Most kids tried a few different games.”

She said the two-hour time limit seemed to work out well as the kids, who ranged in ages from 7 to 11, got a little restless during the last 15 minutes of play time.

“They wanted to be moving around a little more so we did a little activity, a Simon Says game,” Blackwood said.

The game day also started out with the kids playing with a rainbow colored parachute that had balloons in the middle.

“It got their little brains energized and then we got to it with the board games,” she said.

Blackwood said the day of activities even helped to bring one of her daughters out of her shell a bit.

“One of my daughters is normally shier … she was able to teach a game to some of the other kids,” Blackwood said. “It gave her that sense of being responsible and being a leader.”

Engelhardt, who is organizing a few other activities this summer, said she is also trying to get together a Lego playgroup. She is looking for donations of Legos or money to purchase Lego sets before the group gets up and running. She has received donations from Dr. Nagareda and Tom Nino so far.

Other activities planned for the month of July include an ice cream social and a family-style picnic.

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