The One Game My Active Kids Beg to Play (It’s Not a Board Game!)

published Jan 24, 2022
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family plays board games together
Credit: David Prado Perucha/Shutterstock

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These days I’m on constant lookout for ways to connect with my upper-elementary-aged boys and my middle school girl. And if we can all connect as a family? Even better (and harder). But I found the foolproof key: A game we recently added to our collection.

I saw Beat That on a list of popular games and sent it to my mom when she asked for suggestions for my son’s 11th birthday present. I was pretty sure we’d enjoy it, but I was unprepared for just how much fun we’d have playing it. After the first time we tried it out, my kids begged us to play several nights in a row. 

How the game works

There’s a big pile of challenge cards that involve tasks that have to be performed with some plastic cups, balls, dice, and other supplies that come with the game. The tasks include things like blowing a certain number of cards off the table or picking up dice using your hands inside the plastic cups. Everyone gets a few chips of different amounts to bet on whether they think they can complete the challenge within the allotted time. It’s actually really hard to predict how hard or easy the challenges will be, but they inevitably have us laughing hard. Like, the can’t-catch-your-breath kind of laughter. 

Why laughing helps our family release tension

I’m reading a great parenting book right now that reminds me of something we instinctively know but that bears repeating: Laughing together releases pent-up emotions and makes us feel closer to one another. This is why rough-housing with our kids at the end of a long day can be so beneficial. 

I’ve always had visions of family game nights, but truth be told, they often end up bringing out some suppressed emotions through bickering and even tears. It’s a toss-up. But Beat That is a sure winner. Far more than just an engaging activity, it’s a dependable outlet and a reliable bonding experience. The game has become my go-to gift for families with upper-elementary or middle school-aged kids and I hear reports of how much they think it’s the “best game ever” too. It’s good, old-fashioned fun we can count on, right at home, any time we need it.