Whenever I’m together with family in Wisconsin we play a few rounds of our favorite games. My sister seems to know an endless list of games that don’t require any cards or a board. This got me wondering what games other families play when they get together. If you are hanging around the house with family and friends over the holidays and need some inspiration, or perhaps are looking for a new game to try, here are ten party game ideas:
- Taboo. (or Heads Up) I have played countless rounds of Taboo with friends, and it’s excellent for large groups. Plus it never gets old. Hazard warning: you may sometimes wake up in the morning to find the Taboo cards scattered all around your apartment after a late dinner party.
- Celebrity is another big group game, which has caused people to cry because they are laughing so hard. Each person writes down 3-5 famous people/characters on pieces of paper, which are then placed in a bowl. Designate a scorekeeper. In the first round you pick up a paper and can say anything to describe the character except the name. Do as many as you can in a minute, and then it’s the other team’s turn until all the papers are gone. In the second round, you can only say one word. In the third round, you have to act out the character. BONUS: fourth round, the best by far, you have to act out the character under a bed sheet. Just try it.
- Scattergories is a bit calmer, and takes individual skill. You have to list words in certain categories before the timer runs out. A dice is rolled to determine which letter all of the words have to start with. My cousins and I have made a tradition of playing this on Christmas Eve.
- Scrabble slows things down further and requires a bit more time. My husband’s family is as skilled as they are intense about this game. Use all of your letters in a turn and it’ll be talked about for months. Bananagrams is similar to Scrabble but you really only play against the clock; it’s more of a race. Crossword-lovers would be great at this game. It’s also incredibly travel-friendly.
- Blokus, my new favorite. Anytime, anywhere.
- Cranium is a game that my dad’s family usually plays after Christmas dinner. It’s fun with a lot of people and things may get crazy, but everyone has a good time.
- Apples to Apples is an entertaining game to play no matter the age. Or of course there’s Cards Against Humanity, definitely not for all ages.
- Speed, Uno, or Tic are all good card games for two people.
- Mafia—a large group of people is needed for this game; instructions here if you haven’t played. Put on your best poker face.
- Five Second Animal is one I haven’t tried yet, but look forward to playing with kids. You take turns being the judge, and the judge chooses an animal. Everyone else has to draw that animal in 5 seconds. The judge gets to decide who is the winner. (Or the most hilarious.)
What games do you like? Recommendations welcome!