Here are some of the games we use at camp when sitting around the dining room table together. If you have some ideas, please share them with us in the comments!
Ideally, everyone at the table keeps a beat going in unison. At camp, we usually do a 4-count that is: knee (or table) slap, hand clap, right snap, left snap – and then repeat over and over. The spoken words are on the two snaps. The leader starts off by saying (on the snaps): Cate—gories… Names—of… Types—of… ___________, and then on the 4th set of snaps the leader calls out the category. It can be anything that has a lot of items in it: flowers, US states, ice cream flavors, crayon colors, etc. Then, each player at the table calls out an answer to the category when it gets to their turn (on the snaps). A player is “out” when they either take too much time, or when they give an answer that has been given already. Here’s an example!
20 (or 10, or 5 if you’re good!) questions:
One person thinks of an item that can be seen from the table, and the rest of the people take turns asking yes or no questions about it until they either guess the correct item, or run out of questions!
2 truths and a lie:
Each person at the table says 3 things about their day, but the catch is that one of them isn’t true. The rest of the people at the table each guess which one is the lie! An experienced player will get good at making truths seem outlandish and lies seem plausible…
Follow the leader:
This game is best for larger groups. One person hides their eyes, and the rest of the people decide on someone to be the “leader.” The game begins when the leader starts a pattern on the table (say, tapping two fingers lightly on the table) and everyone else does the same. At this point, the hiding person can open their eyes, and their job becomes to find out who the leader is. This person guessing will generally watch everyone else’s eyes to see who they are looking at. Meanwhile, the leader must change the pattern every so often, so that the guesser has a chance to figure out who is leading the group. You can end the game after 3, 2, or even 1 wrong guess!
Keep a stack of trivia cards in the middle of the table and test everyone before, during, or after the meal!
One person at the table begins a story and tells 1-3 sentences of the story. Then they “pass” it to the next person who keeps the story going… but only for another sentence or 3. Go for as many rounds as you want – the story will certainly have taken some unpredictable turns after a few rounds!
- “Would you rather” questions. Come up with 2 things and ask people at the table which one they’d prefer. For example: Would you rather be able to swim like a dolphin or run like a cheetah? Would you rather spend the next month being 10 feet tall or 12 inches tall? Would you rather be able to fly or to be invisible?
- Everyone goes around and says their high and low of the day, or if you want to do an expanded version: Rose-Thorn-Bud (where the rose is a highlight of the day; the thorn is a challenge or something you need some help with; and a bud is something you’re looking forward to)
- Use a “conversation jar.” This is just an on-going jar where family members submit slips of conversation starters. Each night you can pull one out.