Toss the remote control and get ready for some family fun!
If your family suffers from the humdrums and ho-hums during the holidays, these family-friendly games are sure to change that and bring some great laughter, memories and ways to create what you really want – a great time of gathering together as family.
Our clan loves puzzles and the Christmas season lends perfect timing for purchasing a new one, preferably with a holiday and/or winter theme. We have a rather large coffee table top, so it serves us well for gathering three to four around to jigsaw their way in completing the multi piece project. This way we can keep it out until it is all finished. If you have a card table, make room for it (even if you have to shove a small piece of furniture into the spare bedroom). You’d be surprised at the conversation that this activity lends itself when two or more gather.
Kids love hide and seek. Our kids’ favorite inside game of all time was the game Dark. This is merely a inside-the-house version of Hide and Seek. Turn all the lights in the house off except the miniature lights on the tree. Everyone hides and the first one found is ‘It’ in the next round. What makes it a bit different is the element of fear and surprise. Those hiding have the advantage of scaring the person who is it. Smaller children will want to be paired up with an adult/mom/dad. This will be a favorite in years to come.
Not traditionally known as a game, building a family snowman is a cherished treat the children will long remember. You can make it a competition and have everyone make their own or build the family snowman, having each family member contribute something (scarf, hat, necklace, carrot nose, etc.). This makes for an adorable display for holiday drive-by onlookers.
Of course there’s charades, but add a holiday theme to words. Some suggestions are Rudolph, Christmas tree, snowman, star, Santa, angel, 12 days of Christmas characters, bell ringer, etc. This can also be used for a Pictionary type game. Make sure there’s a bowl of your family’s favorite popcorn or snack nearby for refreshment.
Try making an obstacle course for the little ones. Use pillows, Tupperware/plasticware, blankets, chairs, boxes, etc. When everyone is tired, this is a good time to prop up the boxes for footstools, grab your favorite blanket from the course and snuggle together for a family movie.
Another version of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ can be made by drawing a reindeer on brown or white mailing paper. Have the kids color it in as you make enough red noses for each participant. Tack the reindeer to the wall and blindfold participants as you give each one a red nose. Congratulate the winner(s) with a special prize.
A favorite is always a Gingerbread House Contest and the contest can be carried on within the home for all the kids. You’ll need a box of graham crackers, white tubed icing (2 tubes for each house), colorful candies for decoration. Gather around the kitchen table after dinner and let the creation begin!
Begin a ‘Telephone’ line by gathering everyone together in a circle. This works best if there are at least five people. Designate a ‘starter’ and send a holiday message or phrase down the line. See what the final saying ends up being by the time it reaches the end of the line. Whenever the phrase is correct at the end, everyone gets a piece of candy.
The following game was found at FamilFun.com: Present Scramble requires a bit of prep but is well worth the effort. Put a small prize (such as a $10 bill) in a small box, tape it well, and gift-wrap it. Put the box in a bigger box, wrap that box and put it in another, and so on, wrapping it as many times as you have the boxes and the patience for.
With everyone sitting in a circle, the youngest chooses a number from one through six and rolls a die, then passes the die to the next player. The first person to roll the chosen number puts on two oven mitts and tears into the present. The other players continue rolling the die. The next player who rolls the chosen number grabs the mitts and takes over the unwrapping. The person who unwraps the actual box with the prize inside gets to keep it.
There are dozens of fun games that require little or no prep time. Search your memory bank or the web for a great variety of fun that bring family together for the holidays and create years of wonderful memories. Enjoy!