Thursday, May 5, 2016


Games for Family Game Nights

Games that do not require a board, equipment or reading ability;
The host shows everyone a little object in the room. All the players are to leave while the host hides it. When they return, everyone is to look for the item until they spot it. When they spot it they whisper the location to the host and then sit down. The last one to find it becomes the host for the next round. 

You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile
One person is selected to be "it." That person is the only one in the group who is allowed to smile. He or she can do anything they want to try and get someone to smile. If the person smiles, he or she becomes it. The person who never smiles is declared the winner.

One person is chosen to leave the room. All the other guests must "forfeit" a small special item that belongs to them. All of these items are placed in the center of the room and then the "auctioneer" is brought back in. He/she picks up an item and tries to describe it as one would an item about to be sold. In order not to forfeit the item, the owner must "fess-up" and do something amusing to win back the item (sing, dance, do an imitation, recitation, tell a joke, etc.

Games for Older Children and Adults
Road Trip
Everyone should know the alphabet. 
Sit in a circle or around a table.  One person begins by saying:
A – I am going to Alabama (or any other location that begins with A) and I am taking an apple.
The next person says: B – I am going to Boston and I am taking a beachball.
Continue around the entire alphabet.
A more difficult version can be played with each person saying all of the previous letters:

I am going to Alabama and I am taking an apple, I am going to Boston and I am taking a beachball, then adding the next:  I am going to Colorado and I am taking a cat.  When someone misses, the others can help them to remember.  The goal is to go through the entire alphabet…not an easy task!

Alphabet Minute
Have everyone write a general topic of conversation down on a slip of paper, along with a letter of the alphabet. Pick two or three people at a time to play the game. Have them pick a topic out of a hat or basket. They then must start a conversation with one another regarding the topic. The catch is that they have to begin each sentence with a letter of the alphabet, beginning with the letter written in the slip of paper. They must follow the conversation through the alphabet, ending back with letter in which they started.
Topic: Shopping
Letter: H
Player 1 - "Hey, I have to go shopping, want to come?"
Player 2 - "I'd love to, but I don't have much money"
Player 3 - "Just come anyway; it'll be fun!"
Player 1 - "Kim said she would meet us at the food court."
Player 2 - "Last time she was twenty minutes late!"
Player 3 - "Maybe she'll make it on time today."
And so on until they arrive back at H to finish. You can either time them or cut them off at 60 seconds. The go on to another group and see who gets the farthest in 60 seconds, or you can let them finish the alphabet and see which group finishes their topic and alphabet in the fastest amount of time.
The Name Game
Provide each guest with 10 small pieces of paper, and a pen or pencil. Ask them to write down the names of 10 famous people, leaders, movie stars, authors, sports figures, politicians, artists, inventors, scientists, etc. Encourage them not to make it too easy! Fold the papers, and put them into a hat, bowl, or basket. Seat guests in a large circle. Each round is limited to 30 seconds, so have a watch with a second hand available. Player One pulls out a name, and tries to get the person beside him/her to guess the name by giving clues, but never actually saying the name or what it starts with. Gestures are also no allowed. After the name is guessed, the clue giver can continue pulling names out of the hat until their time is up. The guesser gets to keep their pieces of paper, and the clue giver gets credit also. The bowl is the passed to the next person and the clue giver now becomes the guesser and there is a new clue giver. The bowl proceeds around the circle until everyone has guessed and everyone has given clues. The one with the most guesses correct wins.
Example: Name - Abraham Lincoln Clues: He lived in a log cabin. He was president during the Civil War. His wife's name was Mary Todd. He wore a stove pipe hat and had a beard. He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

Board Games for the Whole Family

There is a wonderful organization called “Family Pastimes”.  They have created dozens of fun games which are creative and cooperative in nature.  Here is some information from their catalogue which is available on line at:  Some of the game are also available on
Play as friends, not as enemies! Our games foster the spirit of co-operation. Players help each other climb a mountain, make a community, bring in the harvest, complete a space exploration... They are never against each other.
After all, the initial impulse to play a game is social; that is, we bring out a game because we want to do something together. How ironic then that in most games, we spend all our efforts trying to bankrupt someone, destroy their armies — in other words, to get rid of one another! We soon learn how to pick on the other person's weaknesses in order to win the game.
Let's take an example. A simple, common party game for socializing youngsters illustrates our point. Musical Chairs fosters aggression and elimination. Played co-operatively (see our Games Manual), you will see how hugging replaces pushing, how ability and strength are used to help rather than push out of the way.
People of different ages and abilities should be able to play side by side, each making their best contribution. In a co-operative game, someone young and little can play with others older and bigger and not worry about being wiped out. We are all there at the end of it.
Some cautions. We don't protect children from not making it to the summit or completing the space voyage. Our games are designed to offer realistic challenges. But the cultural habit of competing and confronting adversaries runs deep. Some players end up fighting the game itself. We suggest that you'll get better results learning how to get along with Time, Winter, Gravity, and Mountains rather than fighting them.
Aside from all these serious considerations, some people just want to share an enjoyable and challenging time with friends. We feel that co-operative games will prove to be that friendly form of fun.
The challenge. In sum, games are used in various settings and for various reasons, Socialization, entertainment, academic learning, character growth, etc. Whatever your objective, we invite you to realize them by co-operative means. Parents and teachers trying to teach children to share, be kind to living things, and help others out often are troubled by games and recreation programs which undermine these values. Our games provide the opportunity to experience sharing and caring behavior. We simply don't have enough of such experiences.

Some traditional board games

Apples to Apples

Connect Four

Some good resources for games are garage sales and resale shops.  Check to make sure all the pieces are intact.
Also, set up a swap meet with friends.  Everyone brings games and puzzles and you trade one for one. 
Card games
Younger children enjoy Go Fish, War, and other simple games.  Older kids like Uno, Rummy and concentration games. 
Remember the goal is fun!  Don’t worry too much about knowing all the rules, in fact, go ahead and make up your own, as long as everyone agrees. 
Another fun thing to do is make slips of paper with the names of all the possible games and activities.  Fold the slips and put in a bowl.  One person gets to choose each game night. 
A good rule to have:  No arguing with the choice.