Rousing games of Monopoly are a fun-filled way to get everyone together. Squabbles among siblings and tears from the losing team? That we can do without.
Instead of negotiating peace treaties we’re turning to Totem ($20)—a feel-good game that lets families celebrate one another through positive profiles. Nominees are given "What I like about you" animal cards and "What inspires me in you" quality cards by each person, who explains why they chose it (thankfully there are no "He’s a poo-poo head" option). In this way, Totem allows kids to see the best in themselves through the eyes of those around them. Once each person has received their Totem, you may have a table-full of Optimistic Wolves, Disciplined Monkeys and Intuitive Pelicans. Developed in Montreal, this game builds confidence, self-esteem and gratitude, and provides a welcome break from the competiveness kids face every day. We also don’t know of too many other games that end with group hugs.
Now that’s what we call a real win-win! —Marianne Wisenthal