When there are children at the party, it is time to play games! There is nothing more boring for children than to be relegated to one room – frequently the converted garage – to play with their snot-nosed cousins; they want to play with mom and dad. Is it possible to do holiday games that include great-grandma and the preschoolers? In fact, it is easier than you think to get everyone playing family games for the holidays – if you let them know ahead of time what the plan is. After all, a party attendee dressed to the nines might not enjoy crawling on the floor (but would have loved to have joined in, had she known and worn a pair of jeans).
Quiz-show Games: These family games are a crowd-pleaser. They capitalize on the knowledge folks have and educate the youngsters in the process. Keep it at a relatively reasonable intellectual level (fifth grade is about right) and include some very easy questions for the littlest ones. As family games go, this one is a hit even with the introverts (I can attest to this fact!) who would not be caught dead playing charades. Buy games that follow this format or make up your questions and clues.
Get out the Karaoke Machine: If you have mostly extroverts in the family, then karaoke is the way to go. Keep the song lyrics reasonably clean for the kids and allow everyone to join in. Confirmed introverts who would not dare to open their mouths singing will cheer and perhaps also pass judgment on the singers. Some handmade numbers can be held up at the end of each performance. Make the game even more enticing for younger kids by offering a dress-up box filled with goodies: you may be surprised at the budding voice talent! If the song selection presents a problem, just stick with holiday favorites.
Do the Wii: Wii Sports is a well-known bit of software, but Wii Sports Resort is the way to go for the holiday games. A simple enough video game, it simulates golf, table tennis, archery and basketball. Other sports, such as bowling and swordplay, are perennial favorites as well. Kids love the idea of trying out new sports in a virtual world and this is something that everyone can get into.
Decorate a Family Tree: This one requires a good-natured adult and a bunch of preschoolers. Okay, so even the older kids will get in on the action. To tell the truth, this game has been known to take the form of family competitions at some of our parties. The rules are simple: the adult is the tree and the children get to decorate the tree. Decorations are rolls of crepe paper, aluminum foil, duct tape and ping pong balls. As the tree stands still, the kids race against the clock to incorporate all of the decorations. When the timer goes off, the onlookers get to vote. Who is the most festive “tree?” Be sure to have the cameras ready for this one since the memories are priceless.
Strings of Popcorn: An oldie but goody, this holiday game capitalizes on the age-old Christmas tradition of stringing up popcorn like garlands. Keep in mind that this works for all types of holidays! It is a good idea to incorporate this game in activities that involve preschoolers. Adult supervision is required! The children string the popcorn via a large-eye needle onto thick thread. Dried fruits are another great item to use for colorful effects. Teams of youngsters compete against each other to see who can incorporate the largest amount of popcorn on a pre-measured string. At the end of the day – or after the holidays – the strings can be hung outside for the birds and squirrels to enjoy.
More by Sylvia Cochran:
Games and Activities for Senior Citizens
10 Free Christmas Online Games for Kids
3 Failsafe Birthday Party Games for Tween Girls