The Holderness family, known for creating videos on YouTube that celebrate the joys and struggles of family life, is raising money for a board game that encourages players to put away their tech gadgets and spend time together.
“At home, we would all be staring at our phones,” said Kim Holderness, who lives in Raleigh with her husband, Penn, and their two children, ages 9 and 6. “We’re so distracted. We needed to make some changes.”
Every weekday, the Holderness clan publishes a new video on their YouTube channel. The family gained national attention in 2013 for “Xmas Jammies,” a dancing-and-singing performance that has been viewed more than 16 million times.
Last month, the family launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 for Family Showdown, a board game that keeps the focus on family fun.
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The idea for the game stemmed from the family’s own experiences with board games. Lola, 9, and Penn, 6, found Monopoly tough to understand.
They wanted a game that appealed to all ages and involved creativity, playfulness and physical activity. About 18 months ago, they began creating Family Showdown, in which players put their phones in “phone jail.” If a player checks his or her phone during the game, the team must move back 10 spaces.
Teams take part in challenges during the fast-paced game, and to cross the finish line they must win a “showdown” – a mental or physical feat.
“We started playing the game and our kids liked it a lot,” Kim Holderness said. “We thought, ‘Other families would probably like this too.’ ”
They enlisted the help of their online followers to develop the game, taking suggestions and advice as they created the prototype. Eventually they brought in Paul Friedrich, a renowned artist from Raleigh, to design the game before launching the Kickstarter campaign, which ends Nov. 10.
Penn Holderness said the game has been a hit already with children, teenagers and adults.
“With this game, we’ve leveled the playing field,” he said. “Honestly, our daughter is better at it than us.”
Money raised online will cover the costs of producing and shipping the game and paying Friedrich for his work.
“Our real goal is for families to just have fun and spend time together,” Holderness said. “You can’t place a dollar amount on that.”
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler