About the author: Mary Jo Bowling is a writer for Houzz.com. Brunswick has teamed up with Houzz to provide tips on how to make your home a more active place.

I’m going to sound like an old geezer, but as a good deal of the United States faces a snowy winter day, I find myself thinking of the blizzard of 1978. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy snowfall (27 inches in Boston alone) broke all kinds of weather records. If memory serves, I missed around 20 days of school (elementary school, mind you). It could have been a grim time for my mother, but what she did preserved that very cold time as a warm memory. She turned the kitchen table into a game table, and we whiled away the days playing Sorry!, Trouble and Uno and eating popcorn. We were trapped, but we had fun. Mom’s genius was to place the board in the right place: The chairs were comfy, and we were near natural light, snacks and storage. It was a recipe for fighting boredom.

Game table in living room

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

You can make similar memories for your family, whether you are freezing in Philadelphia or worried about the dry weather in California. The trick is to make your game table a place where players will be comfortable. This table by interior designer Jessica Helgerson has it all: upholstered seats, natural light from the living room and nearby shelves stocked with gaming options.

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Contemporary Kids, original photo on Houzz

Perusing Houzz, you will see a lot of game tables for kids tucked into basements. As a mother, I can assure you: If it is not well lit, no one will use it. Like moths, kids gravitate toward the light. The designers at D2 Interieurs outfitted this room used for games, crafts and toys with barn-style lights right over the table. The tough tabletop material is ideal for any number of activities.

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Mosaik Design & Remodeling, original photo on Houzz

This Portland, Oregon, basement — renovated by Mosaik Design & Remodeling — is blessed with a window. A game table near natural light is great for young children, whose hours of play are mainly in the daytime. Natural light makes it easy to see and lifts the spirits during the winter months.

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Jennifer Harvey Interiors, original photo on Houzz

Another great spot for a game table is near a fireplace, like this one by Reliving Interiors. What could be more relaxing than playing chess by a flickering flame?

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David Rausch Studio, original photo on Houzz

Another trick is making games easily accessible, as they are in this house by David Rausch Studio. An organizing professional I recently interviewed commented that often lids and doors act as impenetrable barriers for kids (and, let’s face it, adults too). The open shelves near this game table make sure there’s never a lull in play.

Backgammon board on table

Farallon Construction, Inc., original photo on Houzz

On the news this morning, the meteorologist said “there’s no end in sight” for the cold temps in the U.S. With a game table like this one, by Lotus Bleu and Farallon Construction, maybe that’s not so bad?

Do you remember the blizzard of 1978? What games did you play then or during the deep freeze of today?

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