Just because we’re all currently stuck at home doesn’t mean that we can’t keep playing and having some fun. It’s great that we have the internet, social media and video games to keep us occupied, but they all lack that face to face human interaction that real-life social games and party games provide.
Obviously, there will be no partying during these times of quarantine and self-isolation, but if you are at home with your family, there are a bunch of simple but fun games that you can play together with nothing more than a pen and paper. For some of the games, you don’t even need those!
Regardless of everything else, this is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones, so we want to give you some ideas for games that will let you bond with your family and have some laughs along the way. Many of these games have several variations, so we will give you the gist of each game and you can feel free to find their exact rules online if you are not already familiar with them.
Divide up into two teams and hand out blank slips of paper to both teams. Each team needs to write down different phrases on each slip of paper. The phrases can be famous quotes, titles of books, movies or songs, but they should be something that most people are familiar with. When both teams have prepared their slips, they need to place them in separate bowls or boxes. Then a person from team A draws a slip from team B’s bowl and tries to act out the phrase for their own team to try to guess what it is. Each team has three minutes to try to guess the phrase and then it’s the other team’s turn. You are not allowed to speak but only act out each word of a given phrase, which can make this game simply hilarious.
2. Who Am I?
This game is pretty simple. Each player gets a sticky note stuck to their forehead with the name of a famous person. Each player has to guess the name of the person on their own forehead by asking everyone else simple “yes” or “no” questions. It can be questions such as: Am I a female? Am I a historical figure? Am I currently alive? If the answer to your question is yes, then you get to ask another one. If the answer is no, then it’s the next person’s turn to ask questions and try to guess the name on their own forehead. The first player to guess the identity of their mystery person is the winner! Everyone else can keep playing for second and third place, or you can start a whole new round with completely different mystery people.
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This is a Slavic word game that doesn’t even require a pen and paper. You need two or more people to play it, but there is no limit on the number of players. In fact, the more people play it, the funnier it gets. The rules of the game are pretty simple. One person starts by saying a word that is longer than two letters. Then the next person has to say a word that starts with the last two letters of the previous word. The trick is not to say a word that ends with the letters “ka”, because the winner of the round who gets a point is the person who gets to say “kaladont”. The idea is that there are no words in Slavic languages that begin with the letters “nt”, so that is the last word that can be said in any given round. You can try playing the game in English as well!
This is a popular game that works best if it is played by seven or more people, so it is intended for large families. The idea of the game is that players draw pieces of paper from a hat with different roles written on them, where at least two of the players will be the Mafiosi and the remaining players will be the townspeople or the Innocents. The game is played in two alternating phases, the “night” when the mafia “murders” one of the innocents and the “day” when the innocents try to find the perpetrator of the “murder”. The game is played until all the Mafiosi are eliminated, or until there is more of them than the remaining townspeople. This game can be really fun but its rules are a bit too complex to explain in this blog post in detail. So, if you decide to play it, we recommend that you find its exact rules online.
5. Hot and Cold
This game actually requires no props at all and it can be played by as many people as you like. The idea is for the player whose turn it is to play to step outside the room, while the others come up with a secret action that the player must do once he or she comes back into the room. Once the player is back, they must figure out what they need to do according to the reactions of the group. The player basically starts doing anything and if they are getting closer to the mystery action, the others cheer them on. If they are getting off track, then the others boo them. Speaking or giving hints is not allowed, but only cheering and booing. You can play this game until everyone has had a go at it or as long as you like, because there are practically no winners or losers. Its only point is to be silly and have some fun.
This one is a classic that practically everyone knows. It is a word guessing game that can be played by two or more players. The rules are pretty simple. Player 1 comes up with a word and draws a number of dashes that corresponds to the number of letters in the particular word. Player 2 then starts guessing letters that could be found in the correct answer. If a letter is correct, player 1 writes it in all the correct places. If the letter is wrong, then a body part is drawn onto a little stick figure hanging from the gallows. Player 2 is free to guess the correct answer at any time and if they get it right before the stickman figure is completed, they win. If not, then player 1 is the winner. If you want to play this game with little kids, you can also draw an apple tree with 10 apples instead of a hangman and simply cross out an apple every time a wrong letter is guessed.
7. Rock Paper Scissors
This game needs practically no introduction and nearly everyone has played it in grade school. It is played between two people where both players simultaneously form one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. Rock, paper or scissors. Rock is a closed fist, paper is a flat hand and scissors are a V sign formed with the index and middle finger. Rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper and paper covers rock. The game only has two possible outcomes, either one of the players wins or it is a draw. You can play two out of three, three out of five, keep score, or simply play until one of you gets a cramp in their forearm.
8. Pantomime Games
In addition to Charades which we mentioned above, there are many other simple pantomime games that you can play with your kids. One is the Mirror Game, where one person makes various movements and another person tries to mirror them. Another simple pantomime game is called Passing the Face. One person in the group makes a funny or emotional face to the person sitting next to them. Then that person makes a variation of the same face to the next person and so on. There is also a simpler version of Charades in which you can write a bunch of different activities on slips of paper and mix them all up in a hat. Everyone draws a slip of paper and tries to act out the activity while everyone else tries to guess what it is. It can be anything from pretending to open a Christmas present you’ve been waiting for all year, hailing a taxi, to being a fireman putting out a fire with a water hose. Pantomime games for children don’t really have any winners or losers. Their whole point is to bond with your kids, act silly and have some fun.
This is a popular game played by children all around the world and it is known by many names. Everyone forms a line and the first person at the beginning of the line whispers a short message into the ear of the person standing next to them. Then they whisper the same thing to the next person and so on. At the end, the last person in line has to announce what they heard to the whole group. In many cases, by the time the message reaches the last person it has been completely changed. This game has a flip-side as well. Every person in the line can intentionally change a part of the message so that something completely different comes out on the other side. This game is very simple to play, but it can give your kids boatloads of laughs.
10. Lip-Reading Challenge
The name of this game is pretty self-explanatory. Write as many different words or phrases on slips of paper and mix them all up in a hat. You can play this game as a single group just to have some laughs, or you can split up into two teams and compete. One person from the team needs to put some headphones on and play loud enough music so they can’t hear anything else in the room. The rest of their team draw phrases from the hat and say them out loud, while the person with the headphones tries to read the words off their lips. The teams can take turns in 2 minute intervals or simply draw a certain number of cards each. Whichever team has the most correct answers in the end is the winner. Needless to say, the amount of ridiculous stuff that will come out of people’s mouths will have you gasping for air with laughter!
We hope these ideas for games will serve you to have some fun and quality bonding time with your family. Whenever you feel that it’s starting to get tough to spend the whole day at home, just remember, we’re all in this together!