Every year, my family comes together to our same rented beach house at the Jersey Shore, courtesy of my grandparents. The small house that somehow sleeps 16 is always overcrowded with extra air mattresses and people sleeping on couches. For the week that we all spend here, you can bet we do a lot of family bonding.
As my family members are scattered all over the country, the time we all make to congregate at the old beach house is highly valued. After each afternoon on the beach and a hearty home-cooked meal, we all take an hour or two of rest in preparation for what naturally comes next: game night.
Whether we break into a few groups playing smaller, separate games or all come together to play something family-wide, we’re all getting to know each other better and developing our relationships. Playful competitive talk and working with a team are just a couple of ways that games can bring your family together!
I was raised on family game nights – by both sides of my family. Any and all occasions that bring us together are oftentimes capped with a game. Below are some of our favorites!
The perfect game for a large group – Cranium. Break into teams and compete by completing activities in four different categories. If you’re interested in games that test your versatility, Cranium may be the right fit.
The four categories include Creative Cat, Data Head, Word Worm, and Star Performer. Depending on the card you draw, you could be doing a variety of activities. Creative Cat includes drawing (sometimes blind) or sculpting something out of clay for you team to guess. Data Head poses trivia questions, while Word Worm asks a team to unscramble words, spell words backwards, guess a word’s definition, and more. As for Star Performer, you get to act something out, whistle a song, or impersonate a celebrity.
Your team has to think on their feet and work together, utilizing each team member’s strengths. The luck of the draw keeps the game exciting and diverse!
If your family likes to get active, gather around for a game of charades. Break into two teams, with each one coming up with specific words in the categories of books, movies, TV shows, people, and songs, and then write each word down on a little slip of paper. Place each team’s paper slips in separate bowls, and hand your team’s bowl to the other team – they’ll be acting out what you came up with!
Next, alternative between teams and team members to silently act out the words on the slip you chose to get your team to successfully guess.
Charades gets you thinking about how to creatively communicate with people through your body motions. Whether you’re the one guessing our acting out, playing charades is very hard to do without laughing. If your family is anything like mine, charades will soon become the catalyst of many inside jokes.
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Catch Phrase is similar to Charades in the way that it’s a word guessing game. While you don’t have to physically get up and act out the words, the object of the game is for your team guess correctly by explaining each mystery word.
Catch Phrase is a disc-shaped game that displays words on a small screen for team members to either explain or guess. Begin by splitting into two teams and pressing the start button, which also begins the timer. Once your team successfully guesses the word that one of you team members describes, pass the Catch Phrase to the other team. Continue to go back and forth describing and guessing words until the timer goes off. When the timer stops, you don’t want to be the team in possession of the Catch Phrase!
Catch Phrase is a great way to exercise your mind and communicate with your family. Minimal physical activity is required – the perfect game to follow a big family meal!
Loaded Questions is a board games that allows you to move around the board by testing your knowledge of the other players.
When your turn comes, pick a card which lists different types of questions, and choose one of the questions for all other players to answer. Each player is given a pad of paper to write down their answers.
Some questions include: What two words best describe you? What is better to whisper than to shout? Who can you best imitate? What is not a good housewarming present?
Once everyone is finished, all the papers get passed to the player sitting across from the player whose turn it is. All the answers will be anonymously read aloud, and the player in turn has to guess who answered what. The more correct matches you make, the farther you get to move around the board.
Loaded Questions gives you the opportunity to test your knowledge of people and learn new things about them, too. Play the game in a small or large group!
What are your family’s favorite games to play together? Tell us about them and Submit Your Story!
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