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12 Fun Family Games to Play This Father's Day

12 Fun Family Games to Play This Father's Day

Chances are this Father's Day isn't going to look normal, but that doesn't mean it won't be just as special.

We're willing to bet most Dads would pick spending time with their families over receiving any other Father's Day gift. This year, try spending time with your family. A little outdoor barbeque and some fun family games with your kids and grandkids – who wouldn't enjoy that?

With much of the country still under shelter-in-place or social distancing orders, spending time together might be difficult. If you're lucky enough to be together this Father's Day, we have some awesome games you can try, and if you can't be together, we still have you covered with some fun games you can play together on your smartphone.

Here are our top 12 picks for some Father's Day family game-time. Choose one, or try several of them. Who knows! You might find a new family favorite.

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Outdoor Games

1. Capture the Flag

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

This game has been around forever, and it's great to play with the whole family. 

How to Play

First, divide your family into two teams, each with their own flag. It doesn't matter what the flag is; a bandana, rag, or even an old sock will do.

Divide the battlefield (your yard) into three sections, separating the two teams with a neutral area. You have five minutes to hide your flag on your battlefield, and then you're off! You must defend your flag as the other team tries to capture it and take it back to their territory. The first team to return home with the other team's flag wins.

If you're captured (tagged) while in enemy territory, you'll be thrown into jail, and you must stay there until one of your own teammates tags you. 

This game is fun for everyone, and the variations are endless. Try tagging with water balloons, or by throwing stuffed animals, or even flashlights if you're playing at night. 

2. Giant Pick Up Sticks

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Surely you remember playing pick up sticks when you were young. You probably haven't thought about that in years! We've found a giant outdoors version of that same game that's perfect for all ages.

You can easily make your own game pieces, or you can buy it already made. If you want to make your own, you'll need 30 dowel rods, ½ inch diameter and 48 inches long.  

Paint the ends of each rod with bright colored paints. We suggest using five different colors; that way, if you want to have teams, each team can be a different color.

How to Play

Drop the sticks in a huge messy pile on the ground. Everyone takes turns trying to get their color sticks out of the pile without wiggling any other sticks. If another stick wiggles, you have to put your stick back in the pile and forfeit your turn.

Whoever gets all their sticks first wins the game.

You can use more or fewer sticks, and you can play in teams or as individuals. Either way, this game offers hours of fun family time.

3. Yard Dice

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Two popular games to play with yard dice are Yardzee, which uses five dice, and Yarkle, which uses six, but the options are endless.

Yardzee is just like Yahtzee, but you use the large dice in the yard. Thanks to DYI Montreal, you can print out free scorecards and try your luck at rolling a large straight or a Yardzee.

Use the same set of dice to play Yarkel (Farkle except in the yard), which is always a family favorite. A printable Yarkel score sheet is available at Math Equals Love, which makes keeping score easy because it has the scoring guide right on the bottom.

The great thing about Yarkle is you can have an unlimited number of players, and as long as the kids are big enough to roll the dice and you don't mind helping keep their score, they can play too. The concept is easy, and young kids can catch on pretty quickly.

Indoor Games

If you find yourself stuck inside because of the weather, or just circumstances in general, there are still a lot of ways to enjoy your time. Try these inside games that can be played by the whole family.

4. Sardines

If you've never played Sardines, you're in for a treat. It's an awesome twist to the old favorite, hide-and-seek.

The more players you have, the more fun you'll have. All you need are people and space with good hiding places.

How to Play

Everyone meets in one room of the house. Then, find a fun way to choose the first person to be it. Maybe choose the person with the closest birthday, the one wearing green, or even the oldest or youngest one.  

The person who's it first has three minutes to hide while the others stay in the room where they can't see them. When the three minutes are up, everyone else spreads out and searches for the hiding person. 

Here's where it gets tricky. When you find the hider, you want to make sure no one else knows.  As soon as you know that no one else is around, you join the hider in his hiding spot. 

As others find you, they will join in, hence the name Sardines. The last person to find everyone is it for the next go-round. 

What makes this game so fun is trying to pile everyone together in tight spaces, all while trying not to giggle and laugh and give yourselves away. We've had 13 people plastered to the bay windows behind the living room drapes, and we had some good laughs as we wondered what all the passersby were thinking. 

Sardines is a must-play for everyone in the family. It definitely has the possibility of making many family memories.

5. Charades

We've probably all played charades at some time in our lives, but playing with your whole family is the best. There aren't any steadfast rules, but it's essential to set some guidelines before you begin, especially if you have competitive people in your family.

Here are a few suggestions to make the game run smoothly.

  • Divide into two teams.
  • Each team comes up with a specified number of ideas, say 10 or 20,  writes them on slips of paper and places them in a bowl. 

Suggestions for ideas could be:

  • Sports and activities
  • Animals
  • Movies
  • Books
  • Characters
  • Songs
  • Television shows
  • Famous people

Then, decide which team will go first.

  • That team chooses a slip from the other team's bowl.
  • One person from that team has a predetermined amount of time to act out what's on his paper. We like three minutes per turn.
  • If the actor's teammates correctly guess what's being acting out within the time limit, they get the point.
  • The team with the most points at the end of play wins.

A few suggestions to keep the game going smoothly are:

  • Let your teammates know how many words they are guessing by holding up the corresponding fingers
  • If there's a keyword you should act out first, let your team know which word this is by holding up the number of fingers right after showing how many total words. For example, if your paper says The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you will hold up four fingers to show four words, then four fingers again to show you are starting with the fourth word.

To let your teammates know you have a title, you can:

  • Hold your hands together like your holding a book
  • Pretend to be cranking an old-timey camera for a movie
  • Draw a square in the air to represent a television which indicates a TV show
  • Act like you are singing into a microphone if your item is a song

The important thing to remember with charades is to make sure everyone understands the rules before starting, and keep the ideas age-appropriate. 

Go ahead and find the inner actor in yourself; you'll be glad you did!

6. Karaoke

Who hasn't wanted to be a singer at some point in their lives? Karaoke is a great way to let everyone see how talented – or maybe how untalented – you are.

YouTube has tons of karaoke channels you can choose from to start a karaoke time with your family; one of our favorites is KaraFun Karaoke. It offers thousands of titles, and you can find songs that everyone in your family from toddlers to the oldest members will know.

You can make this a game by choosing the other person's song, giving them scores on a 1-10 basis, or just having fun choosing your own tunes and enjoying watching each other.

Another fun way to enjoy karaoke is the Karaoke Game. For this game, you divide into two teams. You then take turns challenging the other side to sing lyrics from song titles you give them.

If they can sing at least part of the song, they get a point. At the end of a round, which is ten songs per team, the team with the most points wins.

Board Games

Never underestimate how much fun board games can be, especially when you have a family gathering. We've chosen three favorites. If you've never played them, this Father's Day would be a great time to learn, and if you have played them, you already know what a good time you'll have.

7. Beat the Parents

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Beat the Parents is a game of general knowledge with a twist. It pits kids against their parents and is guaranteed to be loads of fun and is suitable for everyone six or older.

In this game, the adults answer questions about kid stuff, and the kids answer questions about things adults should know. You will have questions like: Do the grown-ups know what school Harry Potter attends? Can the kids guess how many C's are in the word cappuccino? 

Along with the questions, there are Wild Card spaces that can send you forward or backward on the game board, so just when you think you're advancing, boom, you can be sent back. 

The winner is the first one to cross the board with all their tokens. 

8. Trekking the National Parks (Second Edition)

Trekking the National Parks (Second Edition) is the winner of the MENSA and Parent's Choice Gold Award. This fun, educational game is excellent for ages ten and older.

You get to see the National Parks in an exciting and competitive way by collecting Park Cards and trail stones to earn points. You'll race across the country and get to experience the wonders that each of these parks has to offer.

What's cool about this game is it starts differently every time you play, so it never gets old. 

Trekking the National Parks (Second Edition) is an educational experience you never knew you wanted! Play it once, and you'll be addicted.

9. CodeNames

Picture courtesy of Amazon

CodeNames is a relatively new board game that is gaining momentum with game players everywhere. It is simple yet intriguingly fun.

There are two teams made up of as many players as you want. The board is a simple grid of 25 random one-word cards placed in the center of the table. 

Each team has a spymaster, and he's the only one who knows which cards belong to which team. His job is to give one-word verbal clues so his team members can figure out which cards are theirs while avoiding the other team's cards.

You will find yourself pulling this game out every time you have company - it's that fun!

If you like this game, there are other versions available you might want to try as well: CodeNames Duet, CodeNames Pictures, and CodeNames Deep Undercover 2.0.

Smartphone Games

If you can't be with your family this year for Father's Day, there are plenty of games you can play together using your smartphone. We will look at three that you're sure to enjoy.

10. Words with Friends

In this Scrabble-like game, you build words on a tile board to rack up as many points as possible. 

You and your opponent take turns making words out of the letter tiles in your hand. Each letter has a point value, and there are point boosting tiles on the board that you strategically play on to raise the value of your words. 

The game is over when there are no more words to be made with the letter tiles left. The person with the highest score wins.

Words with Friends is available in the App Store for Android and iOS, and it's free unless you want the ad-free version; then, it'll cost you a few bucks.

11. Monopoly

There's nothing like a good Monopoly game, and now you can experience it in a whole new way. In this smartphone adaptation of the classic game, you can roll the dice, buy and sell properties, houses, and hotels, and even Go Straight to Jail. It's a great way to spend time with the loved ones you can't be with this Father's Day.

Monopoly is available in the App Store for just $3.99. Some cool features about this app are:

  • You can play with anyone else that has the app on their mobile device or tablet.
  • It uses the game's most common house rules.
  • It has a quick mode so you can finish the game fast.
  • There is a single-player mode that allows you to play a fictitious person.
  • You can play offline with others by passing the phone between players.

This Monopoly app is a must-have for all families, and it's a great way to stay connected.

12. UNO

Challenge your whole family to a game of UNO. The world's number one card game is now available in the App Store for both Android and iOS devices.

This app offers several ways to enjoy this classic game. You can play with the most popular house rules, or join other Rooms to take the challenge to new levels. You can even rule your own Room where you set up the house rules you like best. 

Another fun way to play is by working together with a friend in the 2v2 mode. The use of teamwork to build your strategies is a challenge in this version, but it's a great way to get several family members involved.

Give this free app a try. Father's Day probably won't be the last time you get a family game brewing.

Conclusion

As Leo Christopher said, "There's only one thing more precious than our time, and that's who we spend it on."

We all want to celebrate our Dad's, but with this year being different, it forces us to look at things and to focus on what's most important.

What's more important than being with those you love? That's why playing games is the perfect Father's Day gift, so try out the games we've suggested. 

You might have to buy the game or the materials to make it, but what an excellent investment. Games are the gift that keeps on giving. 

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