There's nothing like the holidays to bring the family together, but the fact that everyone is in the same house doesn't necessarily bring them closer together. The key to hosting a meaningful holiday gathering is ensuring that every family member feels welcome and included - which is only sometimes accessible for people to accomplish. So when it comes to engaging teenagers, who are "too cool" to wear ugly holiday sweaters, what is the best way to engage them?
Wouldn't it be great if we kept little kids entertained at a grown-up party while their energy levels were high (and they were full of sugar from cookies and sweets)?
This festive 7-holiday game and activity list will be the perfect way to light up your family night and make it more enjoyable.
1. Scattergories for Holidays
With holiday themes in mind, you can put a festive spin on your category's game! For example, if you wish, you can create a table containing different letters in each column and seasonal categories in each row – Christmas songs, characters from classic holiday puppet movies, or winter sports. When time is up, set a time limit for family members to fill in their answers to each list. Once time is up, go around the group and read out the answers that each person wrote down for each category, and you'll get the point for every correct answer that does not repeat itself! The winner of this game is the one who accrues the most points by the end.
2. Holiday Guess Who
The name of this game might be familiar to you. After all, it's an excellent icebreaker for the holiday season! Using a hat, place the names of popular holiday characters, such as The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Sugarplum Fairy, Tiny Tim, or Buddy the Elf, into one of the hats. Keep them from seeing the names. Instead, have them tape the name they drew to their forehead and ask other guests questions to try and guess who it is. Whoever guesses correctly first wins the game.
3. Holiday Lights Photo Scavenger Hunt
You can make your family feel at home by bringing your family to a place where there are many holiday lights on display (a park, neighborhood, botanical garden, zoo, etc.). Each team should be divided into two, and each should give a list of light displays in the area to locate within 20 minutes. After that, the team members have to run around the area, taking pictures of as many items as possible before returning to a designated home base to collect the remaining items. Before the time runs out, the team with the most photos of holiday lights on their list will be declared the winner.
4. Cookie Pocket
It is a great passive game that can be played in the background during a family gathering. The best way to prepare it is to buy (or bake!) a few platters of cookies ahead of time. Upon arrival, give each member a cookie and challenge him or her to sneak it into someone else's pocket without them realizing it - a reverse pickpocketing challenge.
The individual must try again with a different family member if he or she is caught trying to pocket the cookie. You can have everyone turn out their pockets at the end of the event, and if anyone finds a cookie in their pocket without realizing how it got there, they must immediately eat it. There is also the option to use wrapped treats like Hershey kisses and peppermints to reduce the number of crumbs that families may need.
5. Jingle in the Trunk
Let your families loosen up and laugh with this activity. Start by hot gluing a tissue box to an adjustable belt. Repeat this process on another belt and slip eight jingle bells into each box. This activity is sure to get your family talking and laughing. It would be fun to compete between family members with the belts on to see who can shake their hips the fastest to quickly get the bells out of their boxes! Everyone, from grandparents to toddlers, will have a time showing off their skills!
6. The Nose Knows
If you need to pass the time between main activities, such as digesting dinner before dessert, this clever sensory game is perfect! Gather a bunch of foods and items with strong seasonal scents like oranges, cinnamon sticks, pine tree branches, or gingerbread cookies so you can test them out!
The kids can use their noses to discover what lies inside the empty tissue boxes by placing each item on its own. Next, you ask kids to describe what scent they are smelling, fruity, nutty, etc., and name places in which the different aromas are associated, such as grandma's house, the farmers market, etc. For kids to be able to use their critical thinking skills to support their guesses in this game, it is less about getting the answers right and more about demonstrating their ability to think critically.
7. Marshmallow Jenga
You will never find your kids bored in the house if a bag of marshmallows is on hand. The most popular game among children is undoubtedly "Fling Marshmallows at Your Siblings." Still, we suggest another activity, Marshmallow Jenga, which is slightly more civilized than throwing marshmallows at your siblings. It would be great if you placed a large elegant high-quality disposable plate or cutting board on your table and then asked each participant to take turns stacking marshmallows up on top of one another. It is best to use jumbo-sized marshmallows that make the structure fall. If a person causes the structure to fall, they are out.
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