Family Game Night: Creative Games to Shake Off the Winter Doldrums

Amy Oestreicher

best-costa-rica-travel-site-sponsor“I’m bored….”  Have we ever heard anything like this before?

It’s a brand new year and a brand new opportunity to focus on bringing family together while also having some time to relax and restore. Everyone’s looking for a way to unwind and have some quality family time.  How can we manage it all and still have time for dinner?

Take a breath and think positively about limits on time or money.  You don’t need a blow-up fun house to have a great game night with family and friends! Check out these fun and easy game night ideas for your family and friends.


  1. Play with words.  Bananagrams is a fun, easy game you can take anywhere.  Think of it as a portable Scrabble game.
  2. Play with shapes and get creative! Cut out giant circles with the corresponding Twister colors and play Twister in your living room.  You can get creative and move the circles. Who needs a traditional Twister board?
  3. Go on a magazine scavenger hunt in your house. This is a great way to sort through old magazines, too!  Come up with 12-15 items to find.  Examples may include an inspirational phrase, a picture of a backpack, the word “glow,” a blue dress, an article written by two people – anything goes!  Sit around the kitchen table with a stack of magazines, scissors in hand, set a timer, and GO!  You can even make this a learning activity. Ask the kids to search for five bits of interesting trivia. It’s a great way to share, learn, and connect.
  4. Play Charades. This game never gets old.  It’s a wonderful way to get active, think, and learn each other’s “favorites.”  You can have themes and ask each person to pick a favorite movie or food. It’s a great getting-to-know-you-better activity!


Have a “Chopped” Party.  If you’ve been following the Food Network for the past few years, you know about this jaw-dropping cooking reality show.  Four contestants have a basket of four random surprise ingredients. The contestants are given a time limit to prepare each dish. They must create an appetizer, entrée, and dessert from the mystery basket ingredients. When I’ve had Chopped Parties in the past, I ask each person to bring four mystery ingredients for another participant.  You can get creative.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Appetizer Round (30 min) – kale, an orange, Lucky Charms cereal and imitation crab meat
  • Entrée Round (40 min) – a can of clam chowder, pineapple, chicken breast, cilantro leaves
  • Dessert Round (30 min) – puff pastry, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, avocado

Have fun and remember, you’re going to eat your final products!  So when you pick ingredients for other participants, don’t be too mean!  What other game provides fun AND dinner?


Don’t count out classic games. These have been around for years for a reason!

  1. Monopoly, Battleship, and Sorry are all fun games for all ages. Game makers also have junior versions for the younger kids if the classic versions are too difficult.
  2. My kids love card games. When they were little, we played Old Maid, War, and Go Fish. Now we play Gin Rummy and Hearts.
  3. My grandfather played dominoes with me every Saturday. He was very competitive, and I believe he cheated. But I loved it as a child. Dominoes are terrific for teaching kids counting and sorting skills. And this game is fun for adults to outwit each other.
  4. Use dominoes to play Mexican Train. Build “tracks” for your train. This is a great game for kids over 8 and adults.
  5. A simple game of dice is another fabulous game for teaching counting and sorting; the goal is to roll particular sets of numbers with the dice. Whoever finishes with the most points wins.
  6. Stack some blocks carefully. Roll the dice. Gently remove your block. Make the tower fall and you are out!
  7. Draw a picture and wait for the silly guesses to start about what it is. This family favorite is super fun to play.
  8. Roll a letter die, set the timer, and try answer come up with words for different categories using the rolled letter.
  9. Get your teammates to guess a secret word. The twist? You can’t use any of the forbidden (taboo) words. Players get creative and silly.


Search and you will find fun group electronic games. Some of our favorites include:

  1. Wii Just Dance Series. These games are so fun. They get the group up and moving, laughing, and having a great time. Your dancing will embarrass your teens, and the little ones will think you are cool. It’s a win-win.
  2. You Don’t Know Jack. This multiple choice answer game is like a comedy show. The game comes in a game pack with a console, PS4 game, and is available for download on mobile devices. Connect your mobile devices with the app, sync to the television, and start to play. The trivia questions are hilarious.
  3. Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? Looking to give your kids an ego boost? Play this game with them. Not only am I not smarter than a 5th grader, but I also didn’t make it past Kindergarten. My kids still tease me about it. It is a lot of fun to play a game where the kids have the upper hand. It comes in a classic board version, Nintendo, and Xbox.


The best games of all use your imagination! Here’s one idea to get you started: If you have an empty cardboard box, you have a creative, let-your-imagination-run-wild playground for the ages.  Your kids will know what to do.  The world is your oyster…(or box.)

Have a hilarious and fun game night. Get creative, laughing, and hungry planning your night of fun.

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Family Game Night Ideas

This post was written by Amy Oestreicher exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.

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Amy Oestreicher is a 28-year-old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries, and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, and has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows. She continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre, and writing.