There is no better time to cherish your family than the holiday season. So how are you planning to spend a quiet Christmas evening when your tummies are full and gifts are opened? Check our ideas below for free family games and have fun with your loved ones!
Drama Queen is the baby sister of popular party game Charades. The main difference, however, between Charades and Drama Queen lies within acting categories as Drama Queen is way more personal!
How to play: Each player needs to think of a typical life scenario involving one person among the group. You can also consider people who are not present but they should be close to most of the players. The trick is to come up with a funny or awkward behavior that is someone’s typical routine or a one-time event that everybody remembers. Some examples include:
- Uncle Steven finding out he was going to be a father,
- Mom making a mess in the kitchen while trying to bake an apple pie,
- Sharon having a fit over not finding the right dress for a party etc.
Once the player has a scenario in mind, he or she needs to act it out without pointing who the situation is about. Other players can try and make a guess by shouting their answers. The acting player makes an ultimate decision who the winner is. Points are earned individually.
What you’ll need: Players with a big of sense of humor and a sheet of paper with a pen to keep scores.
Fish Bowl is another fun party game where players need to act out and speak up.
How to play: Each player writes down on separate pieces of paper phrases related to each of the three categories:
- famous person (for example: Elvis Presley, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey)
- place (for example: chapel, South America, Maryland)
- item (for example: tea spoon, birthday card, chest of drawers)
All the paper sheets go into a so-called fish bowl (which is really a salad bowl or anything that can hold crumpled pieces of paper). Players form a number of teams (there should be a minimum of 3 players on each team) and the fun begins.
Round 1: A timer is set to an agreed amount of time – 1 minute is the optimal time for the first round; shorter for later rounds. The acting player grabs the first sheet of paper from the fish bowl and tries to describe to their team what’s written on it without using any words of the actual phrase. He or she keeps going with as many phrases as time allows. The team gets one point for each guessed phrase. Once time’s up, other teams, in an order, get a go until all the phrases are gone from the fish bowl.
Round 2: All the phrases go back to the fish bowl. A timer is set again and this time the acting player needs to silently act out phrase by phrase as they take them out from the fish bowl. When time’s up, acting players from other teams get their chances to act.
Round 3: All the phrases go back to the fish bowl and the timer is set again. This time the acting player can only describe each phrase from the bowl with one word only.
What you’ll need: good memory, pieces of paper and pens, “a fish bowl”.
This particular Pictures is a popular family game based on the rules of the board game Dixit.
How to play: This game could either be played with the use of Google Images or with the photos cut out from the magazines. Either way, you need to prepare a bunch of photos and display them in front of all the players. There should be between 6 and 8 pictures in front of you, each clearly numbered. The first player chooses a picture and secretly writes down the number on a piece of paper. Then he or she describes their chosen picture in a mysterious way such that only one other player can figure out which photo has just been described. All the remaining players write down their answers on their pieces of paper and place them face up simultaneously.
- If there are no correct answers: nobody gets a point.
- If there are more than one correct answer: everyone who guessed correctly scores one point while the first player scores minus one point.
- If there is only one correct answer: the player who made the correct guess and the first player both score a point each.
After the first round, another player gets a go. Pictures could be replaced either each round or after each player gets their turn to choose and describe.
What you’ll need: a vivid imagination, a library of pictures, pieces of paper and pens.
Countries and Cities
Countries and Cities is a competitive game where players can show off their knowledge but they have to do it fast.
How to play: Each player needs a sheet of paper divided into 10 categories: country, city (town), plant, animal, item, name, famous person, occupation, sport discipline, food. Once all the sheets are ready, the first player either draws an alphabet letter from the bowl or chooses a letter and then all the players have to write as quickly as possible words beginning with the chosen letter and within each category listed. The first player to finish writing says STOP and everybody needs to put their pens down.
Scoring: Each written word is scored based on how many times it was written.
- If a player is the only one to come up with a word in a certain category, they get 15 points.
- If a player’s word is unique to the words selected by other players, they get 10 points.
- If a player has the same word as at least one more person, they get 5 points.
- If the player didn’t write any word, they receive 0 points.
The game goes on as long as all players want to play or until an agreed number of rounds have been played.
What you’ll need: Paper, pens and thinking on your feet.
21 questions or Who am I is a guessing and laughing game where the active player pretends to be a famous person or a fictional character while the other players need to guess their identity by asking a maximum of 21 questions.
How to play: The active player has to answer all the questions truthfully but they can only use Yes or No words. Players take turns posing their questions. Making a guess also counts as a question. The winner is the person who makes the right guess before or on the 21st turn.
Sound easy? Try guessing Scooby Doo, Inspector Gadget or Yoko Ono.
What you’ll need: Your wits. That’s it! (You might also need to use the Internet if the active player is unsure how to answer a specific question)
Mafia otherwise known as Werewolf is a game of two opposing teams: mafia and the civilians where only Mafia members know their true identity.
How to play: A moderator prepares a set of cards with identities of the players and hands them out to all the players. Depending on the number of players, there should be either 2 (for groups between 6 and 10 people) or 3 (for groups bigger than 10 people) mafia members.
Once all players know their identity, moderator “calls it a night” and everyone closes their eyes. Mafia members open their eyes as the moderator directs them to and they silently decide to eliminate a player. The moderator taps the eliminated player to let them know that they have just become mafia victims. Once the moderator “calls it a day”, all the players open their eyes and find out who the victim is. Then they need to talk amongst themselves and try to pinpoint mafia members in order to eliminate them too. If more than a half of all the players decide to eliminate an accused person (it could be either mafia member or an innocent civilian) their role gets revealed and the night begins where again mafia members eliminate another player.
Play continues until all of the mafia or all the civilians have been eliminated.
What you’ll need: Identity cards which could be made from paper or any other tokens to distinguish mafia and civilians.
Bend a Friend
Bend a Friend is one of the funniest party games where players have to stand up from the table and move a little bit.
How to play: You need an empty cereal box placed standing in the middle of the room. Each player takes a turn to try and pick the box up off the floor… with their teeth! There is only one rule: only feet may touch the floor, only teeth may touch the box. Each round you need to cut a little bit of the box off to make it shorter and more difficult to pick up. If a player falls or uses anything else than feet for support, they’re out. The winner is the last player standing.
What you’ll need: An empty cereal box and a pair of scissors
Are you ready to bend?
What's yours like?
Mine is round, Jeff’s is messy and Amy shares hers with her family. Do you know what it is?*
What’s yours like? is based on the popular board game with the same title where players need to think outside the box in order to win.
How to play: An agreed-upon first player thinks of a word or a phrase and writes it down on a piece of paper. They can think of nearly anything that other players have somehow in common – it could be “a spouse”,” a desk”, “favorite meal”, “bedtime”, “Sunday” or “best friend”. As soon as it’s written, they describe it to the guessing player and pass the note further. Then all the players take turns to describe what their “thing” is like while the guessing player makes notes and tries to guess the written phrase. Once they guess correctly, they receive the exact number of points as the number of rounds they took to make that guess. The winning player is the person who has the lowest number of points by the end of the game.
What you’ll need: a vivid imagination, few pieces of paper and pens.
* It is a table, of course!
Word Hunt is a simple word game, very good to play with children to expand their vocabulary.
How to play: The basic principle of Word Hunt is to find a word that starts with the same letter as the previous word ended but the game could be as difficult or as simple as players want it to be. They can agree to hunt just about any word or they can choose a category in which they will search, for example: plants and animals or verbs. Players can get eliminated from the game by repeating the word used previously or by exceeding an agreed time limit for their turn. The winner is the last player standing!
Are you ready?
carroT, TurniP, PotatO, OwL, L…
What you’ll need: Your wits, that’s it!