Family Fun: A Game We Play

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One of the simplest games that we play involves no pieces, no small chokable parts. It is highly portable and can be played anywhere, though we usually play it at restaurants and on car rides.

It’s 20 Questions: the Movie Version.

The rules are simple. It has to be a movie that the Mama has seen, none of this Pokemon funny business. But, since I’m usually the one to initiate play, I tend to hog control of the game anyway. (It keeps down the squabbling over whose turn it is.)

It starts out with “I’m thinking of a movie.”

The children follow up with questions like:
Is it animated or not?
Do we own it?
If we own it, is it on DVD or video?
Are there animals in the movie?
Do the animals talk?
Is the movie in China? Africa? America?

We have great fun, particularly when I answer questions in an ambiguous fashion. For instance they might ask if an animal walks on two legs and I’ll say, “At least.” (Because even a cat walks on two legs – along with the other two.)

It’s great game because it keeps them thinking of details and reasoning through my answers. They dredge up details that I never even noticed.

You don’t have to play it with movies. You could focus on famous people, books, Bible stories, whatever you want. Just try to make it be a topic that everyone in the family has a reasonable understanding of so that all can play. It gets everyone talking and interacting which is so much better than staring off into space or playing a video game. And we usually have quite a few laughs in the process. It makes the time pass more quickly as well.

What’s a fun game that your family plays?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Phoebe says

    Love it! I like how you give a tricky response to get their wheels churning.

    One of our faves is “I Spy”. My three year old loves it and it is very helpful with his colors (although he has had most of them mastered for awhile now).

  2. Duckygirl says

    We play a question game called, “Who knows?” then I ramble off random trivia like, “who knows the name of the monkey from the lion king?” or “who knows how many eggs are in a dozen?” This game saved my sanity on many ferry boat rides when we lived in WA!!


  3. Ashley says

    What a great idea! We play a similar game. Who is Nala? Or What is Sleeping Beauty’s real name? My kids love it. It’s one of our favorite games to play during dinner.

  4. Bridgett says

    We play an alphabet I spy on long road trips. We start out with the letter A. One the 1st person finds something you go through the eye spy and describe. The person that gets it right has to do letter b, and so on and so on. It can be stuff in the car and out of the car. Some letters are harder than others. If after a couple of minutes you can’t find something for that letter you move on to the next. You can always come back to it.

    We have spent hours on this game alone.

    We also play ABC items found in a: school, grocery store, our house, your bedroom, hospital.

  5. Leslie says

    What a great idea! A mom can never have too many game ideas (sans pieces) rattling around in her head.

    We enjoy mad libs. The kids get to learn more about parts of speech, and the stories get pretty wacky. I also like taking real stories and just taking words out so we can jumble up ones we already know.

    Thanks for sharing. Glad I came across this weekly idea- perfect for Wednesday when I’m losing steam.


  6. Jenn @ Beautiful Calling says

    Before our little ones came along, my husband and I had a couple games called “Car Tag”. The name is a bit misleading since it had nothing to do with tags.
    It had several little games in it. One was a scavenger hunt with a list of things to find (one for county ie. cows, one for city ie pizza place, one for highway ie red van) and then there was also a license plate game but I don’t remember how it went.

    My oldest just turned two so we’re still in the “singing on trips” stage 🙂

    Great ideas everyone! I’ll have to keep them in mind!

  7. Kristen says

    When we have been in the car a long time, we play an abbreviated “simon says” just to get some movement in our cramped stationary bodies. I will start out by having them touch their heads or something easy, but I also ask them to be different animals or use different emotions. The boys love it and it helps the miles to grandma’s go faster.

  8. Emily says

    My brothers and sisters and I play a game we call initials. Usually on long trips or maybe while washing dishes. Someone says the initial of a random person. Then the other people try to guess who it is by asking questions like you do for twenty questions. Every answer has to be “yes” or “no”. It sounds so easy, but when your younger sister calls out the initials of a boy you met in a homeschooling group three years ago and you’ve never seen him since, it can be mystifying!

  9. Honey says

    These are all great ideas! We (me and kids ages: 7,6,6,5,& 5) play "which one doesn't belong?" We got the idea from our Shiller Math DVD. I'll say, which one doesn't belong: car, train, cupcake, airplane? Then the kids yell out the answer. My husband played a game growing up with his cousins. It's a total guy game (although I'm getting good at it). You say a person's name and a car part that starts with the same letter. For example, "Wally windshield-wipers" or "Holly headlights". I know it's stupid, but it keeps people out of trouble! The more you know about cars/mechanics the more creative you can be. I remember my dad talking about his car having a problem with the bendix when I was a kid. So I busted out "Billy Bendix" on my husband. He thought that was pretty cool…

  10. Claire says

    It’s “the um game” for me!

  11. Lynette says

    FUN! I like doing that for the movie version! We watch a lot of movies! I listen to my Mother tell me that she would have loved to have DVD players when my bro and I were little to watch movies on long trips. I tell her all the time that I remember long TALKS on those trips that I wouldn’t trade for ANYTHING – and that my kids are not going to spend 13 hours in the car, staring at a DVD player. They are going to talk and listen to US and be a family!!! This will make those longs TALKS a little bit more fun! Thanks for the idea!

  12. Kelly says

    We play Cash Cab. I think of math problems, spelling words… Occasionally, if they get three strikes, I drop them a few houses away and they walk. They thinks its great.
    We also play 20 questions at dinner to keep the conversations going.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Kelly, I have never heard of Cash Cab, but I love it!

      • Kelly says

        @Jessica Fisher, I think it is on the Discovery Channel. But it is a cab that drives around large cities (NYC and Chicago) and the passengers flag it down unknowingly. The questions start out easy and get harder. The contestants get 3 strikes and they are out. The kids can work together. My kids request it often especially with friends or cousins in the car and we even do it on short rides. Lots of fun for us.

  13. Melissa says

    This is so timely…were on a road trip right now!!

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