January can be a difficult month for many people following the weeks of holiday festivities and merriment. If you find yourself feeling a little down and need a pick me up during this otherwise dreary month, chances are your friends are feeling the same way. Consider throwing a game night to help the new year get off to a great start. Tell your neighbors, friends and family members to get a sitter and have the grown ups over for a fun night that will have everyone avoiding the post-holiday blues.
While a theme is not necessary for a game night (a themed party in itself), it can add a twist to help guests know what to expect throughout the night and also set up ideas for the food and dress code.
Casino Night: Invite your guests to dress up for a night in Vegas and play games traditionally found in the casinos, such as Poker, Blackjack and Craps. As your guests enter, give them their allotment of chips and secure a couple of friends in advance who are willing to be the dealers. This game night allows for fairly easy coming and going if guests can only stay for a bit.
Childhood Night: Remember those games you played as a child but may not have played with someone your own age for years? Ask your guests to bring their favorite games from their childhood and plan on revisiting your youth for a night. This is a great night to break out games like Candyland, Clue, Dominos and Life. You can even serve foods like macaroni and cheese or corn dogs!
Couples/Teammate Night: This will require your guests to bring a significant other or some other friend to be their teammate for the night. Plan games that require small teams such as Pictionary, Nertz, and Charades. Keep a tally of the winning couples and at the end of the night, have a prize for the couple who won the most games.
Olympic Games Night: An Olympics themed night will require a little more planning and organization than other themes. Have your guests RSVP and then divide them into “country” teams (ie. France, Canada, Egypt, China) and make sure they know it requires them to be punctual, as you cannot start the games without them. Provide food that exemplifies each country being represented or if guests know their country in advance, ask them to bring a dish from their “native land”. Have a list of events and let each team choose which teammate will compete in each event. You can even have medals available for the winners!
When it comes to game nights, the food can be as complicated or simple as you allow it to be. While you are more than welcome to make the food yourself, consider also making it a potluck, so that guests know there will be food and the amount of food will be roughly proportional to the number of guests in attendance. Small, non-greasy finger foods are easiest, as they do not require utensils or extra space on the table. Try to avoid foods that may stain furniture or floors if a game gets particularly competitive and spills happen to occur. Try this 7 layer dip or these mini chicken taco cups.
Choosing a Game
Games should be catered to large groups or those that can be made into team games.
It is helpful to make the first game one that easily accommodates a change in the number of players, as people will likely show up late. Games such as Scene-It or Charades where guests are divided into two teams make the initial coming and going less disruptive to the game.
Be sure to know the rules of all games you intend to play and be able to explain it simply in under five minutes. Remember to explain not only the basic instructions but also any deviation from the traditional rules of the games. Be aware of games that require an even number of players, as they may not be able to be played depending on your attendance.
Here are some ideas for games that are generally well enjoyed at game nights:
Never Have I Ever (only if your guests are comfortable with each other as personal information will be shared)
Apples to Apples
The Game of Things
When setting up for your game night, you will need to make sure you have enough tables and chairs to accommodate your group. While you may have enough room in your living room or dining room for a smaller group, extra tables and chairs are a great investment not only for a larger game night, but for future family functions and parties.
Many games involve the use of paper and pens or pencils. Make sure you have plenty of paper and writing utensils available for everyone that will be in attendance and for the duration of multiple games. If nothing else, you will need it for score keeping for each game.
As you plan your game night, do not try to do too much at once! After a successful game night, you will likely have your friends asking for another one so you will have more opportunities to host again and try something new the next time. So have fun and enjoy a night in with your friends!
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!