Fun games to play at the family dinner table
Family dinner time is a time to catch up with each other. It’s probably the only time of day when you’re all together. This is when you get to connect after a hectic day. So make sure this time is positive.
Families that play together, stay together. And the dinner table is the ideal space for this. There are many games you could play as you sit and eat. Apart from stirring up some friendly competition, here are some games that guarantee to provide a few laughs and create lots of memories to hold on to.
Tap into your acting skills and test your knowledge of popular culture by playing guessing games. From figuring out the names of celebrities, to interpreting dramatic mining gestures, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
Prepare sticky notes with the names of people - these can be famous but don’t have to be. Place a sticky note on each person's forehead, taking care that they don’t see the name. People then take turns guessing who the person is by asking questions to other players who can all but reveal their identity to them. The game is over when the second to last person guesses correctly.
This classic is best played with at least 4 people. Divide yourselves into two teams: A and B. Team A thinks of a word or phrase that fits into one of the following categories: books, movies, songs or TV shows. They write it down on a piece of paper which is given to one member from team B who is tasked with miming out the phrase for this team to guess.
No talking is allowed. Players acting out the clue can begin by motioning the category and also informing their team how many syllables each word contains. The team with the most points wins.
Apart from being educational, word games are great fun because they encourage you to use your imagination and creativity as a family. Here are a few to enjoy.
Test your etymological skills with this game. One person chooses a complicated-sounding word from the dictionary and reads it out loud to the rest of the group (you can also spell it). Then every player writes what they think it means on a paper and hand it to the picker.
The picker writes down the real definition and adds it to the pile of definitions. The picker then reads all the definitions aloud and everyone votes for the meaning they believe to be correct. The person who wrote the definition that gets the most votes gets a point.
Write random words on individual slips of paper and put them in a bowl. Each person at table picks a word from the bowl. One person starts making up a story with a sentence that contains the word he or she picked. The next person then continues the story using his chosen word until everyone at table contributes to making up a story that is guaranteed to be entertaining.
Great minds think alike
Come up with about 10 categories and write them on individual cards. Examples of categories could be: expensive clothes brands, something you would pack in your hand luggage, something you’d add to pasta sauce.
Divide yourselves into two teams and give each person a pen and paper. Call out each category as each person writes the first three things that come to mind, without letting other players peek. After each category count how many people in each team wrote words in common and award points accordingly.
So, for example, award three points for every word that three people had in common, four points for every word that four people had in common, and so on. The team with most points wins. If you’re a family of three, adapt the game by not dividing yourselves into teams. Instead allocate points whenever two or three of you write the same reply.
Inject some mystery into your dinner conversation with games that require you to use your detective skills. Have fun trying to keep a straight face while you try to trick your family members.
This is a fun game that will bring out the child in you and guarantee lots of laughs. One person is picked to be the detective and asked to leave the room briefly.
Meanwhile the other people at the table pick someone to be the winker. This winker must covertly wink at other people at the table who, when winked at, must perform a funny dramatic movement. The role of the detective is to figure out who the winker is with two or three guesses.
Slip it in
Come up with a list of phrases - one per person at table. Each person will then have to slip the assigned phrase into conversation without anyone noticing.
Examples of phrases include: “I’m thinking of changing career”, “I saw a rainbow”, or “I’m thinking of starting salsa classes”. Hand out the phrases or place them under people’s dinner plates.
If a person makes use of their phrase without being caught out for five minutes, they get a prize. You can allocate prizes as you wish: the first to use the phrase, the person who spots the most phrases, etc.
FOR SMALLER KIDS
If you have smaller children sitting at your dinner table, keep things simple with some all-time classic games they will love.
Start with a word or phrase and whisper it into your child’s ear. Then have your child whisper it into the next person’s ear and so on around the table until it gets to the last person. The last person then says the word or phrase out loud. It’s fun to hear how the message gets distorted along the way.
Yes and No
This is a game in which the words “yes" and "no" are banned. People at table take turns asking questions to one another. The answer cannot include the banned words. This can be a tricky one, even for adults.
Carve out some playtime together as a family. If getting everyone together for dinner is not always possible, don’t worry. Organise games’ nights on the weekends and have great fun playing board games which you can get from any of the toy shops or stationers listed on Yellow.
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