The holidays are fast approaching, and there’s no better way to begin celebrating than by making memories with your friends and loved ones! We collected some of our Club members favorite wintertime activities to help you get moving, get silly, and connect with each other. We hope these family holiday games brighten your season and inspire lots of laughs and fond memories—and even a little learning! Happy holidays from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley family to yours.
1. Car Ride Scavenger Hunt
Take your family games on the go by making a list of winter-themed sights you might see on a car ride, such as fake snow, car decorations, holiday billboards, dogs in sweaters, blow up yard décor, and more. Whoever can spot the most items during the drive wins! Modify this fun holiday game for any age group by making the objects more challenging to spot for older kids.
2. Festive Charades
Players both young and old will enjoy this classic game with a holiday twist! Here’s a quick rundown for those who haven’t played charades before: First, participants split into two teams. A member from each team draws a holiday-related concept or topic from a bowl and must act it out without speaking or miming the letters. Whichever team guesses the answer correctly gets a point. The first team to 20 points wins!
3. Holiday Bingo Cards
Have each family member fill their card with all the festive activities, holiday objects, and your family’s special holiday traditions that they can think of. Whenever you complete an activity or spot one of the objects on your bingo card, mark it off. Whoever marks every space on their card first wins!
4. Spoons: Candy Cane Edition
Got some candy canes and a deck of cards? It’s time to play a holiday-themed version of Spoons! You need at least three players seated around a pile of candy canes. There should be one less candy cane than the number of players.
During the game, each person takes turns drawing cards from the deck. You’re aiming to get four-of-a-kind: for instance, four queens or four sevens. When you have all four of the same card, grab a candy cane from the pile, but try to be stealthy about it! When the others notice, they all need to snatch a candy cane as fast as possible. The person who fails to get a candy cane is eliminated! Repeat this process until you have a winner.
5. Holiday Guess Who
In this holiday-themed game, put names of famous seasonal characters—like Frosty the Snowman, the Sugarplum Fairy, Baby New Year, or Jack Frost—in a bowl. Have each participant draw one name, but don’t let them peek at it! Instead, everyone tapes the name they drew to their forehead and asks other guests questions to figure out who they are. Whoever guesses right first wins!
6. Indoor Snowman Building Competition
No Snow? No problem! Have an indoor snowman-building contest. Challenge the whole family to build a creative or authentic-looking snowman out of pillows, blankets, paper product rolls, or other household items. You can even build mini-snowmen out of cotton balls or marshmallows. Top prize goes to whoever can design and create the most intricate snowman.
7. Marshmallow Jenga
Place a large plate or cutting board on your table, then ask each participant to take turns stacking marshmallows on top of each other. When someone causes the structure to collapse, they’re out! This game works best with the jumbo-size marshmallows.
8. Marshmallow Trees
If you’ve still got marshmallows laying around, put your family’s architectural skills to the test by engineering some edible, snow-covered trees! This game is great for teaching kids how to build three-dimensional structures, and all you need are a bunch of toothpicks and marshmallows. Gumdrops and other soft, round candies can also be used to decorate the trees.
Show your kids how to connect their candy and marshmallows with toothpicks to create the base of their tree. Then, show them how to create a second level with a few vertically placed toothpicks. The person or team with the tallest tree that doesn’t topple over at the end of the activity wins.
9. Make Your Own Snowflakes
This one’s a classic but can also be a great STEM lesson. Teach your kids about the unique and symmetrical nature of snowflakes by making your own six-pointed masterpieces! All you need to start are paper and scissors:
- Trim each piece of paper into a square and fold the square into a triangle. (Folding paper into a triangle first makes it easy to trim off the extra part.)
- Fold this triangle in half again, and then fold the new triangle into thirds so the edges sides stick up unevenly.
- Trim the uneven part off at an angle to create your points, then start cutting out pieces from the sides to make your snowflake design—just don’t cut the paper all the way through.
- When you and your child are done cutting, unfold carefully to reveal your unique snowflakes!
10. Holiday Storytime or Story Creation Game
Whether it’s a classic holiday storybook or a cultural tale celebrating diverse traditions, reading holiday-themed stories is a great way for families to spend thoughtful time together. Browse children’s books that explore multicultural holiday traditions to teach kids about how families all over the world celebrate the holidays. Get even more creative by telling your own story together with the six-word-story game. It starts with one person setting the scene by saying “Once upon a time there was…” and then completing the sentence with a maximum of six words. Family members then go around in a circle, each contributing six words to the collective story. The story ends after everyone has gone twice.
11. The Nose Knows
12. Cookie Pocket
This passive game is perfect for playing in the background of a family holiday gathering. Buy (or bake!) a few platters of cookies in advance. When family members arrive, give each one a cookie and challenge them to sneak it into someone else’s pocket without them noticing — sort of a reverse pickpocketing. If someone is caught while trying to pocket their cookie, they must try again on a different family member. Have everyone turn out their pockets at the end of the event, and if someone finds a cookie – or three – in their pocket without noticing how it got there, they must eat it on the spot. Families can also substitute wrapped treats to cut down on crumbs.