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It’s basically summer, and there’s no better fun than a game night!

As I say in my one-woman show, Gutless and Grateful, “Whatever I do, I tend to do obsessively!”  Once I decided what I wanted – to get my story out there in the hope that it might inspire others, that is what I devoted myself to.

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As much as I love traveling and speaking…even I need a break!

I am probably not the greatest at life balance, I admit. I don’t stop working. I research, reach out, and work constantly.  I hope to learn how to relax a bit to in the future, even if it means missing out on some business opportunities!

We all need to learn how to take a break, take stock of what we have, relax and reflect. And sometimes…we just need to have a night with friends and laugh at some silly fun.

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Taking a break to recharge in nature!

In celebration of balance, summer, and a bit of friendly competition…here are 16 amazing game night ideas when you need a beak from the daily grind – come on, it’s summer!

Originally published in Willow House Magazine

Board game

SIXTEEN FUN AND EASY GAME NIGHT IDEAS

“I’m bored….”  Have we ever heard anything like this before?

Games help us to lean creativity as a mindset, allowing us to interact with a deeper part of our aliveness, and build a stronger identity for our brand and for ourselves.  A strong sense of identity is the greatest compass on any “detour” our business – or life –  takes.  Playing games,  we can utilize problemsolving skills to overcome any obstacles, turning life’s detours into the business of our dreams

Besides our business, we have life to deal with.  We’ve got carpools, school projects, grocery shopping, holiday-preparing, and there’s not much time (or money) for big extravagant entertainment.  Everyone’s looking for a way to unwind and have some quality family time.

Take a breath and think positively about limits on time or money.  You don’t need a blow-up fun house to have a great game night with family and friends! I have sixteen fun and easy game night ideas for your family and friends.

Family Games

AFFORDABLE FAMILY GAMES FOR EVERYONE

Play with words.  Bananagrams is a fun easy game you can take anywhere.  Think of it as a portable “scrabble” game.

Play with shapes and get creative. Cut out giant circles with the corresponding Twister colors and play Twister in your living room.  You can get creative and move the circles. Who needs a traditional Twister board?

Go on a magazine scavenger hunt in your house. This is a great way to sort through old magazines too!  Come up with 12-15 items you are looking for.  Examples may include an inspirational phrase, a picture of a backpack, the word “glow”, a blue dress, an article written by two people – anything goes!  Sit around the kitchen table with a stack of magazines, scissors in hand, set a timer and GO!  You can make this a learning activity. Ask the kids to search for five bits of interesting trivia. It’s a great way to share, learn, and connect.

Charades – Ah, a game that never gets old.  It’s a wonderful way to get active, thinking, and learn each other’s “favorites”.  You can have themes and ask each person to pick their favorite movie or food. A great getting-to-know-you-better activity!

FOOD GAMES

Have a “Chopped” Party.  If you’ve been following the Food Network for the past few years, you know about this jaw-dropping cooking reality show.  Four contestants have a basket of four random surprise ingredients. The contestants are given a time limit to prepare each dish. They must create an appetizer, entrée, and dessert from the mystery basket ingredients. When I’ve had Chopped parties in the past, I ask each person to bring 4 mystery ingredients for another participant.  You can get really creative.  Here are some suggestions:

Appetizer Round (30 min) – kale, an orange, Lucky Charms cereal and imitation crab meat

Entrée Round (40 min) – a can of clam chowder, pineapple, chicken breast, cilantro leaves

Dessert Round (30 min) – puff pastry, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, avocado

Have fun and remember, you’re going to eat your final products!  So when you pick ingredients for your other participants don’t be too mean!  (But at least you’ll have a game AND dinner!)

electronic controllers

CLASSIC GAMES

Don’t count out classic game. Monopoly, Battleship, and Sorry are all fun games for all ages. Game makers also make Junior versions for the younger kids if the classic version is too difficult.

Card Games. My kids love card games. When they were little we played Old Maid, War, and Go Fish. Now we play Gin Rummy and Hearts.

Mexican Train. A domino game where you build “tracks” for your train. A great game for kids over 8 and adults.

Dominos. My grandfather played dominos with me every Saturday. He was very competitive and I believe he cheated. But I loved it as a child. Dominos is terrific to teach kids counting and sorting. And fun for adults to outwit each other.

Yahtzee. Another fabulous game to teach counting and sorting. A simple game of dice; the goal is to roll particular sets of numbers with the dice. Whoever finishes with the most points wins.

Jenga. Stack the blocks carefully. Roll the dice. Gently remove your block. Make the tower fall and you are out!

Pictionary. Great fun for the family. Draw a picture and wait for the silly guesses to start. It is a family favorite.

Scattergories. Roll the die for a letter. Set the timer. Try answer the categories with a word starting with the rolled letter.

Taboo. Get your team mates to guess the secret word. The twist? You can’t use any of the forbidden (taboo) words. Players get creative and silly.

DIGITAL GAMES

Search and you will find fun group electronic games. Some of our favorites include:

Wii Just Dance Series – These games are so fun. They get the group up and moving, laughing, and having a great time. Your dancing will embarrass your teens and the little ones will think you are cool. It’s a win-win.

You Don’t Know Jack – This game is like a comedy show, multiple choice answer game. The game comes in a game pack with console, PS4 game, and for download on mobile devices. Connect your mobile devices with the app, sync to the television, and start to play. They are trivia questions with hilarity.

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? Looking to give your kids an ego boost? Play this game with them. Not only am I not smarter than a 5th grader, I didn’t make it past Kindergarten. My kids still tease me about it. It is a lot of fun to play a game where the kids have the upper hand. It comes in a classic board version, Nintendo, and Xbox.

Have a hilarious and fun game night. Get creative, laughing, and hungry planning to your night of fun.

BACK TO WORK…

I guarantee you’ll come back to work refreshed, recharged and with a new competitive edge…all in good fun though!

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How are YOU going to laugh today?

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Art is MY play time!

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