Games and Activities
Games can bring a whole new sense of fun to dinner.
Whether you feel you’ve hit a dinner rut, want a break from “serious conversation,” or simply want to bring more joy to the table, games work wonders. Take a break from the stresses of work and school, and help everyone connect through laughing together. The next time you’re craving some dinner fun, give one of these activities a try:
Rose & Thorn (all ages)
Ask your kids to tell you about the rose (the best or most special part of their day), and the thorn (the most difficult part of their day). This can be a great way to get around one-word answers when you ask, “How was your day?” It helps everyone think about sharing their day in a new way.
Alphabet Game (ages 3-8)
As a group, choose a category, such as animals, countries, singers, or “people our family knows.” One family member starts the game by naming a person/thing from that category that starts with the letter “A.” Then the next person names a person/thing that starts with the letter “B,” the next person finds something for the letter “C,” and so on.
I-Spy (ages 3-8)
Another fun, classic game. One person starts by saying, “I spy with my little eye, something…”, and adds a description of an object he’s looking at (for instance, “I spy with my little eye, something blue and fuzzy!”). Everyone at the table tries to guess what the person is looking at. You can go around the circle, letting each family member have a chance to be the “spy-er.”
List Game (ages 3-8)
Think of 5 things that “belong” to something. For example, a banana, a pair of shoes, a Harry Potter book, a pile of paperclips, and a box of flooring. Then have your family guess what these things belong to (answer: things in the trunk of my car). With little kids, you can just ask them outright for a list of things in a category (example: name three things in your bed).
Telephone (ages 3-12)
This classic game was practically made for the dinner table. Have one person think of a sentence or phrase, and have him whisper it into the next person’s ear. When the last person hears the phrase, she repeats it to the group, and the person who started the game can see how close she got!
Would You Rather (all ages)
Take turns asking “Would you rather….?” questions. You can either purchase a book of these questions, or make them up as a family. A few ideas to start:
- Would you rather be invisible or able to fly?
- Would you rather sweat melted cheese or always smell skunk?
- Would you rather be able to swim like a dolphin or run as fast as a cheetah?
Create a Story (all ages)
One person starts a story with one sentence. They can use a traditional story format (“Once upon a time, there was a huge bear…”) or something completely original (“A woman carrying a large cake was walking down the street…”). Go around the table, and have each person add a sentence to the story. If the kids are old enough, pass a piece of paper around, and have everyone write their sentence down. After dinner, you can illustrate the sentences, and then post your drawings on the fridge.
Higglety Pigglety (all ages)
One person thinks of a rhyming pair of words, and then gives clues about them, using synonyms. For example, if the secret phrase was “funny bunny,” the clue might be “hilarious furry mammal.” The person can also give a clue about how many syllables the secret phrase has by shortening or lengthening the game’s title. Saying “hig pig” means that each word in the secret phrase has one syllable (like “old mold,”), whereas “higgy piggy” means words with two syllables (“chipper zipper”), and higglety pigglety means words with three (“triumphant elephant”).
Where in the World? (all ages)
Imagine everyone at the table has the gift of teleportation, but it only lasts for 24 hours. Where in the world would you go? Would you bring anyone with you? How long would you stay? What would you do there?
Two Truths and a Tall Tale (all ages)
Have each family member think of two true facts about themselves, and one made-up fact (a “tall tale”). Go around the table and share your three items. The other family members have to guess which one isn’t true!
Ask Your Kids (all ages)
Your children are also likely to know a few games, either from school or playing with friends. Ask them if they have a game they’d like to try at the dinner table!