Who will be attending your family game night? Will it be your immediate family only? Do you have single family members who might want to join you? Do you have close family friends who you’d like to invite? Discuss this to find out who would like to participate.
For example, our “family game night” includes everyone at my house and my mom. We have four single uncles and they are always invited. We also have a friend with no family nearby that sometimes shows up.
Before you start your family game night, determine where you will have it. If you plan on having a lot of people, you need to make sure the area you have available will fit everyone. You might choose to host it at more than one home. You may want to even use a dedicated area in your home and let others bring their games. Find what works best for you.
When you’ve found the spot, find a day and time that works for most people. You’ll find some people may not be able to make it all the time. If you create a regular family game night, everyone will know when it is so they can attend.
Your family may be very busy and planning a night for games seems like just another chore. Instead, look at it as “bonding time.” Discuss how often you’d like to meet. We’ve tried weekly and biweekly. I personally prefer the later as we tend to have our family game nights on Saturdays. This gives me every other Saturday for relaxation or other activities.
For larger groups, you may want family members to let you know they are coming. This is especially true if you plan on providing snacks or a meal before playing. The RSVP can be as simple as a text message.
Everyone has a family member (or two) who rub each other the wrong way. When we play cards, we switch off partners so no one is stuck with a single person the entire night. This also encourages more interaction between family members. Look through your family list and note which people will be more of a challenge to your game plan.
7. Take turns.
Some people don’t like to play certain types of games. Some like to play group games, some individual. Be aware of what your players do and do not like to play. Even if the majority wants to play the same type of game, be sure to mix it up occasionally so everyone is happy.
8. Entertain the kids.
Some games are more suited to a certain age. The more people you have, the more you’ll be challenged to “find something for everyone” as your group dynamic will be more diverse. To keep everyone happy, you can vary the games you play (easy to difficult), run one game for adults and one for kids or even do a “kids rule” night where all the games are chosen by the kids.
9. Family meeting.
Get together as a group to decide how the family game night will be run. For the first night or two, one person can lead the game. As time goes on, other people may want to bring their own games or lead a new one. By including everyone who wants to have a say in the activities, you’ll have a happier group of people.
My daughters belonged to the “Strategic Game Club” at their charter school. They asked to play some of the games they had learned there. This allowed them to be in charge and teach the adults a new game.
10. Board games.
What board games do you have available? Check each out and make sure you have all the pieces before you recommend the game. Remember to mix old classics with new board games. These might include:
- Chutes and Ladders
- Settlers of Catan
- Trivial Pursuit
11. Card games.
Whether you choose to play games with a standard deck of 52 cards or a specific game, you can have a lot of fun. Check out a copy of “According to Hoyle” or the site listed below to get rules to your favorite card games.
12. Dice games.
Yahtzee is a favorite, but you can find other dice games as well. If you’ve not played Bunco, that is a great game for a large group of people. Check out Wikipedia’s list of dice games and find a new one to try.
13. Outdoor games.
Plan to play outdoors. Try a scavenger hunt or a game such as badminton or croquet. Make a list of outdoor games your family enjoys and play one.
14. Video games.
Video and digital games can be fun as well. Try a digital game such as “Scene It?” or “Party Time.” What other digital games can you find that multiple people can participate in together?
15. Action games.
Instead of worrying about pieces and play, try a game that is all action. These might include:
- Hide and seek
16. Going out.
Sometimes family game night can involve going out and doing something together. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Amusement park
- Baseball or softball
- Car show
- Fair (county or state)
- Hike or walk
- Local events
- Miniature golf
- Water park
17. Keep a list.
As you play games, keep a list of those that are popular and those that are not. This will help you in finding new games to play in the future as well as avoiding those that did not go over well.
Sites to Explore
To get a PDF copy of this badge program, download it here: EP_Family Game