I don’t remember when we started it, but playing Yahtzee has started to become a ‘given’ when my immediate family gets together; because half of us are in Texas that also means it’s become synonymous with holidays. But when I reflect on it-we’ve had many family get togethers in the last few years that have included added fun because of some simple games. And, its become another way to not only engage but get to know each other better. . . . because who wants to dread going to family functions? Not this girl. Here are a few ideas we’ve used.
- A THANKFUL TREE: The first Thanksgiving I “hosted” as an adult (I use the word hosted lightly because I’m pretty sure everyone else brought the big ticket items and I was in charge of frozen corn, but it was my house nonetheless) included a “thankful tree”. This tree was kind of a Charlie Brown tree in that it consisted of fake branches from Hobby Lobby thrown into whatever vase I’d had. But, the important part was I’d cut pieces of paper, punched holes in them, and tied string through them to hang on the tree. As relatives came in, I asked them to write what they were thankful for and hang it on the tree. It was neat to go over and see what everyone was thankful for and it warmed my heart. It also helped keep a focus on the occasion. These days I know I’ve seen placements that you could write on (less cutting and tying of ribbons), and I would love to find some way to highlight what everyone says. . . . yes family, this will be coming soon 🙂
- 50 QUESTIONS: Ok, the number isn’t important here, but the idea is to have get to know you questions to ask each other. The first Thanksgiving I hosted my in-laws I wrote questions on tongue depressors and put them in little mason jars at each table. That way in the lulls between bites or refills people could ask each other these questions and have fun with it. Examples were questions like ‘if you could have a superpower what would it be and why?’ OR ‘whats the best gift you’ve ever been given?’ I was so busy trying to make everything perfect that I don’t remember us using them that much this particular day, but I did bring those questions to another family function and had a blast hearing my cousins’ answers!!! We’ve also done this with my grandma on girls weekends where we wrote down questions to ask her (mostly about her and my grandfather, dates they’d been on, how they met, etc). It’s to date one of my fondest memories about my grandma!
- LIFE-SIZE GAMES: Remember how I talked about Yahtzee? Well, a new thing I’ve been seeing is the life-size version of it, Yardzee. It’s on my Christmas List. Then, last year, my handy husband built life-size Jenga games for our nieces and nephews on one side of the family (they’re all a little older). I personally think it’s one of the best gifts we’ve given.
- HEADS UP: Another tried and true game my family has played-Ellen’s Heads Up. This is a nice one because younger kids can kind of join in-even if they can’t read they can guess, and if they’re not guessing they’re laughing along with the craziness that will ensue.
- MINUTE TO WIN IT: When I was in the working world we played a few of these Minute to Win It games as team builders and entertainment/breaks in trainings. They. Were. AWESOME! (One resource, http://postris.com/list/64/11-minute-to-win-it-games-to-play-at-parties/). One of my personal favorites is getting a cookie to go from your forehead to your mouth, or using straws to move items into a bowl. Look it up-you won’t be disappointed. Any of these games are ways to get everyone working together and laughing together and most are very simple.
- SARAN WRAP BALL GAME: This one I haven’t tried yet, but again, I plan to make my family a guinea pig one of these upcoming holidays! Basically, you wrap a bunch of different little prizes (and one bigger prize in the middle) in layers of saran wrap. You get to keep any prizes you unroll so you want to go fast. The player to your side rolls dice until they get doubles at which point you have to stop unwrappping and pass that ball. It continues until the big winner gets the middle prize. It sounds quirky but cute so I’m all for it; plus, who doesn’t love prizes? This is the link I’ve been looking at for ideas, https://www.isavea2z.com/saran-wrap-ball-game-rules-ideas/.
What other kinds of things do you all do to spice up family functions? I always love new ideas!