Family get-togethers in the holiday season are a great time to catch up by playing games. But for families with more than 4 people (we were sometimes 15!), it’s hard to find something that everyone can play. That’s why I want to share with you some of my favourite Family Games For Big Get-Togethers – all you need is paper, pens and a little creativity.
Games for Older Kids (and Adults):
1. The Word Game (5+ people)
Set Up: One person volunteers as the moderator, or “it” person. Everyone else writes down a word on a small piece of paper. It can be any word (e.g. – spatula, Santa, running or how). Everyone gives their word to the “it” person without showing it to anyone.
Game Play: The “it” person reads each word out loud, one by one. Then, the person to the left of the “it” person picks any word from the list and tries to guess who said it (e.g. Sally – Spatula). If you get it right, you get to go again. If you get it wrong, the next person goes.
If your word is guessed right, you join the team of the person who guessed your word, and can help them with future guesses.
The last person whose word isn’t guessed wins!
2. Celebrities (6+ people)
Set Up: Everyone writes down 10 “celebrities” on 10 small pieces of paper – i.e. famous people, politicians, actors, singers, movie and book characters, and famous figures (like Santa Clause). Make sure that most people in the group would know who the celebrity is. Put all the pieces of paper into a bowl. Divide everyone into two teams. Name your teams something fun or silly!
Game Play: Team 1 goes first. One person from the team stands up in front of the group. That person has 1 minute to get their team to guess as many celebrities from the bowl as possible. You can use gestures, words, sounds and pointing – whatever you want except the words or names written on the paper. When the celebrity is guessed correctly, add it to the “win” pile for your team and pick up another name. Do as many as you can in 1 minute – when the time is up, it’s team 2’s turn. They pick someone and do the same thing. It goes back and forth until each person gets a turn and all the papers are guessed. Count how many each team got and write it down. Then put all the papers back into the bowl, because that was just round 1!
Round 2 is the same, but you can only use 1 word to describe the celebrity (e.g. Santa could be chimney). Then, put them all back for Round 3 – where you can ONLY use gestures, just like charades.
3. Pictionary (4+ people)
Set Up: You don’t need a pictionary game to play, just paper and pens. To start, have everybody write down 3-5 ideas to draw on a piece of paper. For lower level, restrict it to physical objects and animals only. For higher level, you can use objects, actions or more abstract concepts (like ideas). Then, divide the group into two teams. Put all of the pieces of paper into a bowl.
Game Play: One player from team 1 goes first. They pick a paper from the bowl and have 60 seconds to get their team to guess it by drawing it. No sounds or actions, only drawing. If the team gets it within the time limit, they get a point. If not, the paper is discarded. Then it’s the next team’s turn. You go back and forth until everyone has a chance to draw and all the papers are gone.
You can add more action by doing some rounds where one player from each team is drawing the same thing at the same time, and it’s a race to guess it right!
Games for Younger Kids (and Adults):
4. Broken Telephone (4+ people)
Have everyone playing stand in a circle or in a conga line.
Choose one person to go first. That person thinks of a sentence in their head, and then whispers it to the person next to them so no one can hear. The second person then whispers it to the one next to them, and this keeps going until everyone’s heard the message. When the last person hears it, they say what they heard out loud to the group. Then the person who started the message tells everyone what they originally said. It’s rarely the same (especially with lots of people) and usually sounds silly. Pick someone else to start the telephone and play again.
5. Drawing Together (2+ people)
This is a great game for 2 people up to as many people as you want.
With 2-4 people, fold a letter-sized piece of paper into 4 sections. Have someone start the drawing and fill in one section. They can draw whatever they want e.g. the head of a person or animal, the sky, the ground, one half of a forest etc. For every line that touches the edge of their section, the person extends the lines so they go a little bit into the next person’s section. When they’re satisfied with their masterpiece, they fold their drawing under, so the next person can’t see it, and they describe what they drew very vaguely (e.g. house, forest, person’s head). The next person picks up the drawing from where the first person left off, using only the small extended lines for guidance of where things are. After every section is filled in this way, open up the drawing and see what you get!
For more than 4 people, divide the group into teams so that everyone gets a chance to draw without too much waiting. It’s fun for the first people to go in each group to decide together on a theme that they’ll use. With the same starting idea, it’s funny to compare how each drawing ends up.
If you play any of these games this holiday season, tell us what you think!
Stephanie Phillips, the-one-who-insists-on-playing-games-at-every-family-reunion, Community Manager, myBestHelper