This classic game of strategy traces its roots to Africa. You may already own this fun board game. If not you and your family can craft a homemade version that works just fine with an egg carton and a few beads or marbles! Before you know it, you’ll boost your strategy skills to become an expert at the traditional rules.
What you need:
Two small bowls
48 beads, coins, seeds, marbles, M&Ms or other small objects
Give the beads, coins, or other objects to your child, and have him place four objects in each trough of the egg carton. Have her place one small bowl or box at each narrow end of the egg carton. These start out empty.
The game is played with two players, and the object of the game is to capture as many beads (or other objects) as you can.
To play, choose who goes first with a quick round of rock-paper-scissors. The first player picks up the beads from any trough on his side and carries them clockwise, dropping one bead in each subsequent trough. The bowl or box to that player’s right—called his store—also gets a bead dropped in it. Each player skips the opposing player’s store. The player’s turn is over unless the last bead he drops lands in his store. If it does, the player gets another turn, starting from wherever he wants. Once the player’s turn is over, the opposing player gets a turn. Whenever a player lands a bead in an empty trough, he gets to collect the opposing player’s beads in the trough opposite the one he landed in. The opponent’s beads and his last bead get placed in his store. Play continues in this way until one player is out of beads on his side. He then gets to collect the opposing player’s remaining beads. The player with the most beads in his bowl or box at the end of the game, wins.
Help your kids learn what they should do and do it. This fun and active game not only brings laughter, but also gives space for good conversations about making wise choices.
What you will need:
Balloons at least two per person playing.
Strips of paper
Write down scenarios that your children could experience in their day to day like:
*You see s kid at school eating alone.
*A friend is talking making fun of someone in your class.
*There’s trash on the ground.
*The class is acting up because there’s a substitute teacher.
*You’re at a friends house and they want to play a video game you know your parent’s don’t want you to play.
*A friend doesn’t understand the homework and asks for help.
*There’s dishes filling up the sink and you mom has a lot of other house work to do.
*You see a dog all by itself walking down the street.
*A family member is sick.
*Your elderly neighbor lawn is over grown.
Write on strips of paper, roll up and place inside of balloon. Blow up balloon and tie up. Place balloons on the ground. Have everyone stand on the other side of the room and on a count of three have everyone run to grab one balloon and run back. Then everyone has to pop their balloon, but with their bodies. Using their feet, hands or bottom. Once the balloons are popped read the paper and talk about what you would do in that situation.
It’s time to move the furniture to make some room, and to turn that music up! Because we are going to play FREEZE DANCE! Be confident in your groovy moves and have some laughs as a family as you play this old favorite. In this game, everyone dances their best movies as the music plays. When the music stops, each player must freeze immediately and hold that position until the music begins again. If a player does not freeze immediately, they are out. Last dancer standing wins. Play this over and over until you can’t dance anymore. Create new dance moves as a family and enjoy being active together.
Put away the board games, let’s try something new and throw a Family Talent Show night. Invite the grandparents or maybe a few friends and have everyone sign up to show off their talents. Make a special area for a “stage” in the back yard, in front of the fireplace or on the front porch. Pop popcorn for the audience and enjoy a night of fun seeing everyone’s God given talents (singing, jump roping, magic, dancing, juggling, yodeling etc.).
Who can play this game with the most honesty?
Deal the cards out evenly to each player. Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. They place the Aces in their hand face down on the discard pile and announces their play to the table: “One Ace.” If the player does not have any Aces, or if they wish to get rid of more than one card, they may bluff and play non-Ace cards while announcing: “Two Aces.” The next player plays 2s, the next player plays 3s, and so on. If a player doesn’t believe an announcement, they can call out, “I doubt it!” The person who played the cards must turn them over and show the challenger whether he is bluffing or not. A player who is caught bluffing must pick up the entire discard pile and add it to his hand. If a challenged player is not bluffing, then the challenger must pick up the discard pile. When the rank to play reaches Kings, it then goes back to Aces and the numbers start again. The first player to get rid of all his cards wins.
See who in your family has the most patience and can wait to laugh. Pair family members up. Have them sit facing each other. The rules are they must look their partner in the eye. They cannot move their bodies or talk, however they can move their face, eye brows, nose, wiggle ears (but NO smiling). Try not to LAUGH. The first person to smile or laugh is out. The winner moves on to play against another family member. Have fun seeing you can wait the longest to laugh!
Puzzles are fun and challenging all on their own, however this time when you put the puzzle together it will have an extra challenge. Choose your families favorite puzzle or head to the local dollar discount store and pick a new one, when you put it together you’ll do it picture side down! Not only will this be a challenge on it’s own, but the bigger challenge is to work as a family and keep the peace while putting all the pieces together. Work as a team, have patience with one another and remember that your relationship means more than winning an argument or a disagreement. Once you’re finished be sure to take a photo of your great accomplishment and talk about how you solved problems together as a family and kept the peace.
Give each family member several pieces of paper, each person must write down several acts of kindness, one on each piece of paper. Throw everyone papers into a hat or bowl. Pick one person to go first, they must pick a paper and without talking must act out the act of kindness. They have one minute to get the group to guess as many acts of kindness as possible. Once the minute is up add up how many they were able to get the group to guess and that’s how many points that person gets. Keep playing rotating players. The family member with the most points wins! If acting isn’t your families forte, you can easily adapt this game to be Kindness Pictionary. You just have each person drawn on a white board or large paper instead of acting it out.
Ideas for Acts of Kindness:
Mowing the lawn
Cooking a meal
Picking up trash
Helping someone cross the street
Carrying groceries for someone
Praying for someone
Have the kids plan a treasure hunt for the parents! They will have so much fun planning, and watching their plan put into motion. You can go small scale and do your hunt around the house and yard or you can create a more elaborate treasure hunt around town. Have them make a map or list with clues on places and areas they need to go. Maybe there’s a land mark the parents have to find or a small treasure at each location that needs to be found. Or come up with a list of items for parents to find at each location. Have fun together and always remember to treasure these moments.
You’ll need a pencil and paper for this game. One person should volunteer to go first. At the top of the paper, have person number 1 write down one nice thing a person can do for someone else (example: “I can make cookies for my neighbor”). Don’t let anyone else see the phrase.
Person #1 then passes the paper to their right. Person #2 will read the phrase then fold the paper over so no one else can read what is written. Person #2 then gets 1 minute to draw a picture that depicts the phrase.
Person #2 then passes the paper to their right. Person #3 looks at the picture and writes down what they believe the original phrase was. This pattern of writing and drawing continues until the paper goes all the way around the table and ends up back in front of person #1. At the end have person #1 show and tell the “book” you have now created.
NOTE: If you have one or more players who cannot read yet, simply put them in between two players who can. If the young player gets passed a sentence, have the person who wrote the sentence whisper it in their ear so they can draw the picture from that. If the young player gets passed a drawing, ask them to whisper their guess for the sentence to the person on their right.
Remember “Pick up Sticks”? Well here’s a twist on the classic. You can use the store bought game if you have it or you can make your own out of bamboo skewers you have colored. When you play the Grateful Game, every time you pick up a stick you have to name something you are grateful for. Each color represents a different type of thing. This is a fun way to get your family thinking about what they are all grateful for.
To play, you hold all of the sticks in your hand and drop them, let them fall where they may. Then each player takes a turn pulling a stick from the pile. You cannot make any other sticks move or you lose your turn and do not get to collect the stick. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins. Here are the list of colors to say you are grateful for with each color:
Red- A food you are grateful for
Green- A person you are grateful for
Blue – A place you are grateful for
Yellow- A thing you are grateful for
White- Your choice
Is there a better way to learning about taking care of what you have, then to play a game of Monopoly!? Set aside a weekend afternoon, pop some popcorn and enjoy the game. When dividing up money for each player remember to talk about taking good care of what you are given and thinking hard before spending it in the game. Talk about making wise choices in buying property and such. There’s so many opportunities to talk about stewardship and to set the example while playing Monopoly, if you actually finish the game you’ll family will be the real winner.
Find a beachball left over from all your summer fun and use a marker to write “Get to know you” questions all over the ball. Sit in a circle as a family and toss the ball around, when you catch the ball whatever question your left hand lands on is the question you must answer. Play for as long as you like. Afterward talk about how being a good friend is about asking the right questions and listening, to actually get to know your friends.
What’s your favorite color?
What’s your favorite dessert?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
What’s your favorite movie?
Who do you look up to?
What’s your favorite animal?
What do you like to do after school?
What have you done that you’re proud of?
Have fun and get a little messy in the process. Head outside and bring a few eggs (NOT boiled). Divide into pairs, face each other with only about a foot of space between the two of you and toss the egg from one person to another. Then take a step back and toss again. If the egg drops or breaks you’re out. Last team with an unbroken egg, wins. If you have more eggs, play again. After playing, talk about how everyone’s feelings can be fragile like the eggs we were tossing. Talk about how we need to be careful with others and think about what we say and do, always remembering to be respectful to others.
Play a fun game of “Guess Who?”. Get the family around the kitchen table (The more family members the better, invite grandparent over) with a stack of index cards, dice, 1 minute timer and pens. Decide who gets to be the “Judge” first by rolling the dice, highest wins, then the game play will go clockwise from the highest roller. Everyone else gets an index card and a pen, they will have one minute to write down something unique about themselves. Something like: I love candy, I don’t eat broccoli, my favorite color is purple, I sing in the shower, I love Christmas. Once the time is up pass the cards to someone who is not the “Judge” and read them out load. Once all the cards have been read the “Judge” has one minute to guess who went with each card. If the judge is right they get one point per right answer. Now it’s the next “Judges” turn, and you give out new cards and write down something different. First to 20 points wins. You’ll find out how unique family really is.
The weather is warming up it’s time to get outside and play! Grab a Twister Game or make your own! It’s always more fun to make your own, using chalk on the ground or Spray chalk on the grass create a twister board and then download a free Twister spinner app from the app store. Then have fun outside laughing and getting twisted up together.
As a family pick a new puzzle to do together, the bigger the better. Decide as a family an evening or weekend afternoon you will spend putting together this puzzle. It may get hard or feel impossible at times, however as a family be DETERMINED to finish! Grab your favorite snack and pop in a movie to help pass the time. It will feel amazing when you finish because you didn’t give up.
Play a game of tag, using an umbrella to identify a “safe” zone.
Pride often leads us to disobey. Humbly following God’s rules,
keeps us safe.
Play this game to teach the concept that God protects us (from pride) like an umbrella. While you play your game of tag, have an adult hold a large umbrella that serves as a “home free” base. Runners can only stay under the umbrella for a count of ten. Ideally, arrange to play this game with a larger group of children in a play-date setting or with friends.
Use the discussion questions below to help your children understand that God wants to protect us. When we are prideful and think we can do things on our own, refusing to follow God’s way, we often end up in trouble. So let’s stay humble.
Questions after playing:
Have you ever thought that you knew better than your parents and chose not to follow a rule? Which rules in our home were made to keep you safe?
If you chose not to follow these safety rules, what could happen to you? Can you think of any rules God gives us in the Bible?
How would life be different if we chose not to follow God’s rules?
Forgiveness can be a heavy but important topic to talk about as a family. Let’s lighten the mood and have a game night. Pop some popcorn, get everyones favorite candy and play SORRY the board game. As you play talk about how it feels when someone wrongs you and how we can all find a way to forgive others. Use this time to laugh, play and learn as a family.
You’ll need several boxes of Conversation Hearts (you can find at dollar stores), and a timer. Using conversation hearts, all players must stack as many hearts as they can in 1 minute. If your pile falls over you have to start over. At the end of 1 minute, the player with the tallest stack wins! Then go around the table and have each family member say what they LOVE about the “winner”. Keep playing until everyone gets a chance to be the winner. At the end of the game enjoy eating your game pieces!
You’ll need to think fast to keep up with this family fun card game. Spoons needs at least three players to play, and more players means more fun. Players sit in a circle on the floor or around a table. Spoons (plastic spoons are best) are placed in the middle, one fewer spoon than players. Each player, including the dealer, gets four cards. The dealer takes one card from the deck. If it improves his hand, he adds it, discarding another card, which he slides to the player on his left. If not, he passes the card on. The player on his left does the same, until all players are passing cards.
The first player to collect four of a kind quietly takes a spoon. When the others see the spoon taken, they grab for a spoon. One player will be left without a spoon and is eliminated from play. Play continues until one player is left.
The more you play the faster your brain works! Have fun with this fast passed silly game that ends up with everyone laughing.
Turn off the TV, put your cell phones down and hop on the couch for an evening of Christmas fun! All you need is a bowl and small sheets of paper. Have the family write Christmas items, movies and songs they love on sheets of paper. If you have younger kiddos who can’t read try drawing pictures on the paper so they will still be able to play. Fold up papers and put in bowl.
Then play charades. The kids will laugh watching Dad reenact Frosty The Snowman! Experience the JOY of being together in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Have the family come around the kitchen table. Have a jar or bowl for each person around the table, set in center of table. You can put post-its with each persons name on each jar.
Then give each family member small strips of paper. Have everyone write one nice thing about each person on a piece of paper then place in that persons jar/bowl.
After everyone is done, everyone take a jar, not their own.
Then one at a time read the papers, have the person who is being “Honored” guess who wrote each note. If they guess right they earn one point for every correct guess. Go around the table until everyone has had a turn. The family member with the most points wins!
You can go around as many times as you like. Kids will love trying to figure out who wrote what and they will feel good hearing what their family members think of them.
Do you have the courage to play this crazy game?! Conquer fears and laugh until you cry!
Bean Boozled is a candy game. You can find in most chain stores or specialty candy shops.
Each box is filled with both delicious and strange flavors. The catch is that you cannot tell what you’re going to get until you eat it! There are both a tasty flavors and a downright strange flavor’s. For example, you’ll never know if you’re going to get caramel corn or moldy cheese; licorice or skunk spray; coconut or baby wipes.
If you can’t find this candy game, just grab a bag of assorted flavored jelly beans. Have each person gab one from the bag without looking and eat it, then have each person identify what flavor they ate. It might not be as nasty as the Bean Boozled flavors, however someone may still get a flavor they wouldn’t normally eat.
Using a Jenga Game (or stacking wood block game) stack blocks as instructed. Here’s the twist, when it’s your turn you have to be blindfolded and TRUST the other players to direct you to which block to pick and where to stack it. Then pass the blindfold to the next player. It will take a lot of trust and team work to not knock down the tower. See how high you can build the tower by trusting one another.