family games to play

7 Activities for a Family Game Day

When I was in high school, UConn’s coach, Randy Edsall, came to see me. He told me beforehand that he wanted to time my 40-yard dash. I ran the 40 in 5.5 seconds at best, which is really slow, in case you’re wondering. Before Coach Edsall arrived, I was practicing and hitting my normal time. I thought, “This is going to be a disaster.” I knew UConn was my only chance at a college offer. When Edsall arrived, he started talking to my dad. While he was distracted, I kicked the last cone back about four yards. So, my 40-yard dash was only 36 and my time was 4.8.

Yes, I cheated. And yes, I got the offer to UConn, and the rest is history. I don’t recommend cheating, but I am competitive, and while I cut a corner that day, I normally work hard to win. I’ve also passed off my competitive spirit to my kids. We love a good game. Last year, we had a game day, and it was a blast. Nothing makes you bond with your kids like playing together. You can do the same thing with your kids or even invite their friends to play too. If you’re looking to bond with your kids, here are 7 family games to play.

1. Ping Pong Cups

Place three cups in front of each kid and give them a box of ping pong balls. They must either throw each ping pong ball in a cup or bounce it in. If your kids are highly skilled, the winner will have to put a ball in each cup. If it’s taking a while, the winner can be the first to get one in.

Nothing makes you bond with your kids like playing together.

2. Ping Pong Face-Off

This is a variation of the the last one. Place a shoebox in the middle of a table. Have kids line up on either side of the table but with different colored ping pong balls. They have 20 seconds to get as many in as they can.

3. Cold Challenge

This is one of those family games to play that may be out of your comfort zone. If you have a cold day, then have your kids step outside in their bathing suits and see who can last the longest. Here’s the challenge—you need to do it with them. If you have competitive kids like I do, you can challenge them to beat you. Make sure you’re safe, though. We don’t want any frostbite.

4. Ping Pong Ball Header

Have your kid stand in front of a bucket and toss ping pong balls toward him or her. See how many each kid can head into the bucket in 20 seconds. The kids can only use their heads to direct the balls. Make sure that rule is clear. If you want to take it up a level, you can do what my wife did to me. On the fifth ball, she threw an egg that splattered on my head. I wasn’t happy.

5. Blindfolded Water Balloon

Tie a water balloon on a string and hang it. We did it on the basketball hoop in the driveway. Have the kids sit in a circle around the water balloon, blindfolded. The water balloon should be hanging around chin level to each kid. Swing the water balloon so it is moving in a circle behind each of their heads. As the balloon starts to slow down it will hit one of their heads and pop. The anticipation is the best part. It can be done inside, too—just make sure you lay down some tarps.

6. Egg Peg

This is one you’re going to want to do outside. Gather the kids in a circle around any board game’s spinner and a bunch of eggs. If you don’t have a spinner, a bottle will do. Whoever it points to after spinning it must grab an egg and throw it immediately to peg one of the other kids. The other kids can start running the second the spinner stops.

7. Face the Cookie

We got this one from the game show Minute to Win It. Give every kid a cookie. They must start with the cookies on their foreheads. Using only their facial muscles, they must move the cookie to their mouths without it falling off. The first one to do it successfully is the winner.

Bonus: If you’re bold enough, try a No Rules Night.

Sound off: Help add to the list. What are some other fun family games to play?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your favorite family activity?”