Family game nights are a brilliant way to get together and have some fun. The simplest games are often the most entertaining, and when family time is at a premium it’s important to have games you can deliver within minutes. Check out these 10 insanely easy ideas for a fun family game night and get ready to create some wonderful memories.
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While board games are always popular, do you ever find that you’ve lost interest by the time you’ve set up the board, reminded everyone of the rules and checked to see what pieces are missing? Keep it simple with some family games that require nothing more than pen and paper, or things you probably already have at home. Extra bonus points for the fact that they can be played anywhere, making them ideal games to play on family holidays too.
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Family Game #1: Pass the Balloon
What do you need? A pack of balloons.
How to play: Blow up a balloon and pass it around in the circle from person to person without using your hands. If the balloon falls, you’re out!
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Family Game #2: Chubby Bunny
What do you need? A bag of marshmallows (full size, not the mini ones).
How to play: Sit everyone in a circle and pass around the marshmallows. At your turn, take a marshmallow, put it in your mouth and say ‘chubby bunny’ – but don’t swallow! Keep taking turns, adding another marshmallow each time, and say ‘chubby bunny’. As your cheeks get fuller, it becomes much more difficult! Repeat until only one person remains standing. Warning – be prepared to dribble marshmallow!
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Family Game #3: Boggle
What do you need? Paper and pens for each person.
How to play: Recreate this popular game at home by drawing out your own 4×4 square grid. Fill in letters at random (repeats are allowed) and then set the timer for two minutes. Each player must try to find as many words as possible within the grid using letters adjacent to each other horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The person with the most words when the timer goes is the winner.
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Family Game #4: Hangman
What do you need? Paper and pen.
How to play: This classic game can be adapted for all ages. One person chooses a word, phrase or sentence (depending on the ages of players) and everyone else must take it in turns to guess a letter – if you get it right, it is filled in to the correct spot within the word; if you get it wrong, a line is added to build the hangman. Guess the correct word or phrase to win.
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Family Game #5: Scattergories (or ‘Stop the Bus’)
What do you need? Paper and pens for each player.
How to play: The aim of this game is to come up with an answer for each category using the assigned letter. To start, decide how many categories you are going to complete (some examples include: boys’ name, girls’ name, country, food, occupation, sport, book title, animal, flower, etc) and draw out that number of columns on your page. Now take turns picking a letter (or select at random by flicking through a book) and get ready to fill in your answers.
We give younger players (particularly those still getting to grips with writing) a head start, and the first person to complete their line means the time is up. Compare your answers and award points – 10 points for a unique answer, 5 points for having the same answer as someone else, no points for a blank entry.
Family Game #6: Hot Lava
What do you need? Absolutely nothing.
How to play: All you need to do is pretend the floor is hot lava and don’t touch it! Get your feet up and perch on furniture, or whatever you can find. This is a great one for the playground too.
Family Game #7: Who Am I?
What do you need? A pack of post-its, blank labels or just paper and sellotape.
How to play: Before the game starts, fill out one name on each of the post-its – this could be a celebrity, sports person, historical figure or, with younger players, perhaps try animals or cartoon characters. Turn each name sticker upside down; each player should now choose one and, without looking, stick the post-it to their forehead. Take it in turns to ask a yes/no question and try to figure out the name on your forehead – for example, “Am I female? Would you see me on television? Do I have super powers?”
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Family Game #8: Suck It Up
How to play: Set the timer for one minute and each person has to move their pile of sweets from one bowl to the other by sucking them up with the straw. The first player to do so is the winner. My advice is to keep a secret stash of sweets on hand, as it is inevitable they will get munched during the game!
Family Game #9: Pictionary
What do you need? Paper and a pen/marker.
How to play: Before starting, cut up strips of paper and write a word, book or movie title, famous place or person on each piece. Place all the strips into a bowl and divide the players into two teams. One person from each team chooses a strip of paper and draws clues to what it is for the rest of their team to guess. No written words or talking is allowed, just pictures. Set a timer, and if the team guesses correctly within the time limit, they get a point. The other team now takes their turn. Be prepared to get competitive!
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Family Game #10: Charades
What do you need? Paper and a pen.
How to play: As with Pictionary above, fill a bowl with strips of names or things to act out. One person from each team chooses a strip of paper and silently acts it out for their teammates. If the team guesses within the set time limit, they get a point, then it’s time for the other team to have their go. You could set a goal – for example, the first team to 10 points is the winner – or a time limit.
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If you are a competitive family (ahem, we may be…!), you could keep a ‘Family Game Night’ notebook to track all the scores from each game night. Perhaps there could be an annual award for the overall winner? No matter what, the most important thing is to have fun together as a family and discover which games cause the greatest amusement (for us, it’s Chubby Bunny)!
Do you have a favourite family game? What do your kids like to play? Leave a comment below and let us know – we would love to hear from you!