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Games to Bring the Family Together

by: Janelle Martel ; edited by: Amy Carson ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Family game nights are great ways to help break the ice between parent and child, open discussions, and strengthen relationships. There are many simple family games to play that don't require many supplies or come with a lofty price tag.

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    Pass the Slipper

    Pass the Slipper is an older parlor game that is great for a family with a few smaller children. All that is needed is a shoe or slipper. One player is elected to stand in the middle and the other players form a circle around him or her. The player in the middle closes his eyes and the players sitting in the middle of the circle begin passing the shoe or slipper around behind their backs while chanting:

    "Cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe

    Have it done by half past two.

    Cobbler, cobbler, tell me true,

    Which of you has got my shoe?"

    When shoe is chanted, the player in the middle opens their eyes and has two chances to guess who has the shoe or slipper hidden behind their backs. If the player in the middle does not correctly guess, the player with the shoe or slipper takes his or her place. If you wish to make this game more difficult, you can continue to pass the shoe or slipper around as the player in the middle guesses.

    This is a great game to help strengthen relationships with younger children, as the players must work together to outsmart the player in the middle.

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    Blind Man's Bluff

    Blind Man's Bluff is a variant of tag and all that is needed is a blindfold (can be a scarf) and a spacious area. The player who is chosen to be "it" is blindfolded and must try and tag the remaining players in order to get them out of the game. This is a good game to play with larger groups and can be played with a wide range of age groups. This game is great for strengthening relationships as players will share laughs over teasing the player acting as "it".

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    Spoons

    Spoons is another fun family game that requires only a deck of cards and spoons. You need one less spoon than the number of players playing. Place the spoons in the middle of the playing area and elect one person to begin shuffling. Each player gets dealt three cards. The object of the game is to get four of a kind. The player with the deck will begin by picking up a card and looking at it, and then discarding a card that does not fit towards getting their four of a kind to their left. The cards will continue to circulate like this; players cannot have more than four cards in their hand at once. As soon as a player has four of a kind they can grab a spoon from the middle. This cues other players to grab a spoon and the player remaining without a spoon is out. You can keep playing until only one player remains. You can grab a spoon quickly and alert everyone or try and sneak a spoon and see how long it takes for other players to notice. This is a great game when played fast and is good for school aged and older children. Even teenagers and adults will have a fun time playing this game.

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    Charades

    Charades is a classic game that is great to be played with a wide variety of age groups. Split your group into 2 teams and write down titles of movies, television shows, and books for your opponent. The teams will take turns choosing a clue and trying to get their teammates to guess by acting out the clue - no talking allowed! A time limit of 30 seconds usually works well but if you are playing with smaller children you may want to give them a longer time frame.

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    Two Truths and One Lie

    Two Truths and One Lie is a good game for teenagers and adults. Each player gets a piece of paper and must write down three things - two truths and one lie about themselves. The group then takes turns reading their three items aloud and guessing which one is the lie. You can award points for guessing correctly and proclaim the player with the most points to be the winner. This is a great bonding game for teenagers and adults. It is a test to see how well the players and family know one another and, likely, you will learn something new about each other. This is also a great game to generate discussions between parents and their older children. In learning something new about mom and dad, teenagers may have questions about experiences that relate to their own lives. If nothing else, this is a fun game that will generate laughs!