BLOG: The Best Party Games for Thanksgiving

BLOG POST 24th November 2013

Thanksgiving – one of the best holidays, and a wonderful opportunity to gather friends and family, old and young, for a memorable event. It’s a time to celebrate life, and make the most of spending quality time together.

If you’ve got a wide age range, with cousins, friends’ children, and older folk too, it’s important to keep them entertained. In particular, you’ll want to find some distractions from the invasion of the gadgets and the smartphones!

I’ve been to a big gathering recently and half the folk there spent most of the time absorbed in their phones and apps. Very little conversation or chat: it all felt a little odd. Funny how the world has changed.

Here’s how to avoid that happening….I’m a real fan of party games, how they bring parties alive, break the ice, and how they work across the generations. You can’t really go wrong if you do a little planning and preparation.

Here are my top tips:

Do a little homework
Check out what games are out there, and what’s popular right now. Bear in mind that the games will need to suit a wide age range, and should not be too noisy. With a busy house, hot food, and your beautiful décor, you don’t really want a small riot on your hands. There are many resources out there that list suitable games, and you can have a scan of http://bestpartygames.co.uk where I’ve selected the favourite tried and tested games.

Mix it up
You’ll probably have a lot of ideas from your experience of parties. Some of the old games still work really well. Stuff like charades, a scavenger hunt, or the chocolate game all still gone down a treat. But also pick some newer ideas, and innovations.

For example:

- Pass the Parcel has a new twist with Prize Ball
- The Camera Game is great as you end up with some fun photos
- A Music Quiz is really easy to set up if you have internet access where you are.

(All these games listed at the bottom of the article to make it easier for you)

Include some surprises, like Teddy Bear, which you can only play once. It get’s everyone laughing a lot, and works for all ages.

Focus on the Kids
There will be moments when the adults just want a little peace. Time to let the kids play, while you have a cup of tea and catch up.

Make sure you have a list of games ready for this, and think through the age ranges you will have. Ideally have a separate room ready with all the kit set up. Things like balloons, music, sweets, blindfolds….you will need to plan ahead.

For kids these games always work well:

- Prize ball
- Spin Tasty
- Donut Game
- Kangaroo Race
- Pass the Orange
- Gift Unwrap

Add your own ideas
You don’t need to follow the rules to the letter. Some games you can evolve, customize and add your own twist to. A great example is Musical Chairs. I found an evolution of that into Musical Men, where you sit on your partner instead. Absolutely hilarious (for the right mix of people) !

Get ready
A lot of the games you’ll find will require very little preparation. Maybe just a pencil and paper. Some party games will require a shopping trip and set up beforehand. Just make a complete list of all the things you’ll need, and get ready early.

Keep an eye on the little details too. For example, we tried the Donut Game at my daughter’s 10th birthday. We got it a little wrong, when we bought donuts full of jam, and with no holes in! So they were very tricky to tie up, and then when we played, the jam dripped everywhere. I mean everywhere. I learnt from that!

Trial run
If you have kids yourself, then you can always do a trial run beforehand. Test out some of the games and see which ones work best. You’ll find there are some that work brilliantly for you, some your kids just love. Get a feel for what goes down well, what kit to use, and how much preparation you’ll need to do.

It all helps make it easier on the day.

Involve everyone, but don’t insist
You’re going to want to focus on getting everyone involved, and keeping the energy up. Use prizes, a few sweets, some fun bits and bobs, as a motivation. Don’t overdo any forfeits as these can be a little scary for some. If some people prefer not to get involved, don’t insist.

Enjoy!
The most important thing is to make sure you and your house guests are having fun. Keep an eye on how the games are working. If some are not so good, just move on. For the best ones, you can play a few times.

Give out lots of small prizes to keep people motivated. Have some music playing, hand round refreshments and drinks. Be flexible, and have a laugh.

And don’t forget your camera: it’s always a great photo opportunity!


The Best Games for Thanksgiving
Here is my top list of games, which will work across a wide range of ages:

Spin Tasty
Donut Game
Kangaroo Race
Pass the Orange
Gift Unwrap
Charades
Scavenger Hunt
The Chocolate Game
Pass the Parcel
Prize Ball
The Camera Game
A Music Quiz
Teddy Bear
Musical Chairs
Musical Men

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Recent Comments

Avatar

Pig Out Cool

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Angels and Detectives I would say at least 5 but the more you have it...

Avatar

Obstacle Relay Yeah ditto not great for us with small gardens

Avatar

21 Jinx Yes

Avatar

Heads or Tails Knockout rock paper scissors?

Avatar

21 Jinx 🙂 thanks for the great review! It has inspired ...

Avatar

Camera Game Yep... THIS IS THE BEST

Avatar

The Best Christmas Trivia Quiz Ever the answers are given on page 2!

Avatar

21 Jinx Good idea I might try that

Avatar

21 Jinx Yeah I would recommend 3,4 or 5 people in it so...