If you are hosting a party, whether for a birthday or for a holiday affair, invite the whole family. Instead of extending an invitation to children or adults alone, open it to everyone from parents to kids. This will save your sanity from a houseful of wily kids and save your friends from expensive babysitting fees.
Games give everyone a simple, non-confrontational opportunity to talk with other families and get to know each other. Family reunions or block parties benefit from some early icebreaking games that get people out of their cliques. Put together bingo sheets with different family last names. See who can get around and meet everyone first. Instead of markers in the boxes, have players write three facts about each family.
Family games are a time opportunity to share lessons with children. If you have an upcoming holiday party, gather some trivia about the season or holiday. Ask questions to your guests and see which family knows the most about the holiday. Have some easy questions for the little ones and some tough questions designed for the adults.
Families come in their own teams, but it doesn’t have to stop there. If you need two or three large groups, for a trivia or other game, separate the group by where the families live, such as a certain side of town, or which school the kids go to. If you are ready to mix things up, break families up, and create your own teams. Write everyone’s name on a different piece of paper. Draw teams from a hat. You can put adults in one hat and kids in another to keep the ages fairly equal.
Family games can be overwhelming with so many people in your house or at your party. Prepare all the items you need for the party ahead of time to avoid heckling adults and bored, whining kids. If your party is indoors and your weather is clear, set up the games, such as bowling or other sport, outside to make the transition simple.
Avoid cheap prizes when organizing family games, as this could cause disappointment and hard feelings as siblings fight over who got what. Purchase memberships to local venues or gift certificates to local restaurants. You can even purchase just one or two large prizes. Play through all your games and award points for first, second and third places. Give the prizes to the families with the most points.
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