Cool Stuff: Table Topics

We love to sit around the supper table and talk.  It's a tradition I remember so well in my family.  My mom once said that she felt like her own childhood experiences of sitting around the table talking played  a big role in the development of her and her siblings. I feel the same way. One of my dearest childhood memories is sitting around our tiny round clawfoot table, eating stir fry and drinking hot tea to lamplight, with my siblings and I talking up a storm while mom and dad sat with quiet smiles and listened.  Good stuff!

Mom and Dad - great listeners!
So when David was browsing a board game store in downtown Chicago and found the "Table Topics" game, we knew this was a "game" that fit our family and we might just had to have it someday.  Sometime later, before a vacation with a lot of driving,  I bought it for David and our family. 

We love it.  We got the family version, but there are lots of versions:  Couples, Road Trip, Family Gathering, Original... Some of the questions are light and fun, others are deeper and more serious.  But our kids love it and beg to pull down the box and start asking questions.  

Some examples of questions: 
"If you could volunteer your time to help one charity, which one would you choose?"
"When you receive two invitations at the same time how do you decide which one to accept?"
"What's the first thing you would do if you were president?"
"In what ways are you generous?"
"When was it most difficult to persevere when you wanted to quit."

Corin's responses are hilarious.  He's three.  Yesterday one question was...."What is your favorite family tradition?"   He answered, without hesitation..."Playing trains in bed."  We cracked up. We play trains in bed so often as a family.  We love it when it's his turn to answer.  He answers quickly and confidently.  And his answers are just bonkers.

Of course, it is possible to have great table conversation without this little box of cards.  But it does help us to take our conversation to new places.  And it keeps the kids involved.  We have found that often when we sit down to eat supper, David and I are tempted to talk adult talk and catch up on each other's days.  Which is okay - it's good for kids to learn to sit quietly while adults talk.  But we want to be sure to keep the kids included in our table talk, too.  In fact, I think it's incredibly important.  They learn to express themselves verbally (come to think of it, maybe we should switch to the quiet game!).  They learn to take turns (well...they're learning!). They learn that what they say matters (many times kids find or lose their "voice" at a very early age.)  And it is a sort of family glue (there are so many studies that prove it.)
Getting ready for a family dinner at Garen & Crystal's

We don't always pull down the Table Topics box and do a few questions, but like I said - the kids love it and beg for it.


Great dinner time ideas. Our problem tends to be teaching the children to control their conversation (talking over each other, loud, etc.) as they are all BIG talkers! I totally dinners make all the difference in a child's life.
Marianne Brown said…
Never heard of this - I'll have to make sure we take a look at it. We play the UnGame (Christian version) a lot which helps facilitate talking about spiritual topics without being "weird". Certainly this would help break out of the "what did you do today" routine :o) Thanks for the tip!
Laura said…
Good stuff!
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