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10 Great Free Family Game Ideas

10 Great Free Family Game Ideas
Justin Stewart Dec 16, 2019
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Spending time with your family is something that should be treasured, and finding new ways to hang out with those closest to you should be easy and fun!

When the day calls for an indoor hang and you’ve run out of ideas to keep everyone engaged and entertained, it’s time to call in the powers of game night.

Going out to the store on a whim to purchase a new game may be out of the question, especially if it’s already late, so mixing it up with a free game quickly might be your best bet.

Although 100% free won’t always be an option, most of the needed items for these games can easily be found around the house.

If you’re looking for some budget fun with your family, take a look at these fun game options that you can play right away!

10 Free Games for the Entire Family

No matter what the vibe is, there’s always a great way to keep your family entertained while you spend time together.

If you’re looking for budget fun, these game ideas will bring the magic of bonding, fun and laughter together for your family in no time.

  1. Charades

If you’re looking for one of the most renowned games to play, you can never go wrong with charades!

Charades is a game that can be played by all ages, and it is guaranteed to bring family fun to any night of the week.

It’s an incredibly simple game to play, and even if you don’t know the rules, you can catch on pretty quickly!

If your family members are a little older, you can make the game even more complex by making the answers harder to guess.

If you’ve never played charades before, the rules are incredibly simple.

Charades is a pantomime game where you have to act out a word or phrase for the people on your team to guess.

You’ll need a timer, a notepad, a pen, two containers and blank slips of paper.

You’ll divide your family into two teams.

Ideally, you’ll have at least four players, but you can play with as many people as you wish!

Next, you’ll take your short stack of blank slips of paper and divide those amongst the available teams.

Pick a member on each team to keep time as the game plays.

This position is low-key crucial, as the time keeper is the one who tells everyone when they can’t guess anymore, so pick someone who will stay on top of the clock!

Next, agree on how many rounds you’ll play before the winner is determined.

If you want to make some gesture suggestions for all the players to be able to guess easier, feel free, but it’s more fun to play with a blank slate because it’ll be more challenging.

The teams will split off into separate areas to determine what their words or phrases will be.

The phrases can be simple or hard, but try to keep them somewhere in the middle to keep things interesting but not impossible.

Try to keep the phrases to things like objects that are commonly known, actions like building a fire, or the names of movies, songs, tv shows, etc.

You can theme the games if you so wish to help keep everyone in one general scope for their phrase ideas.

Some things to keep in mind as you plan out your phrases:

  • Try to keep them short
  • Try to steer clear of proper names
  • Try to avoid foreign phrases that may not be known to everyone

After everyone has picked their phrases, reconvene in the game room.

To play, follow these simple rules.

Place the slips in a separate container for each team.

A player from the first team will draw a slip from the second teams basket.

After a short moment to review the phrase, the time keep for the second team will start the clock.

The first team will have three minutes to guess the phrase on the slip of paper.

If the players on the first team guess the phrase, they get a point.

If they don’t guess the phrase, then the second team gets a point.

After the turn is over, a player from the second team takes the player from the first teams place.

The game continues until everyone has had a turn, the rounds are completed, or the slips have run out!

2. Pictionary

If you want to up the ante on a game of charades, then you can play Pictionary with your family!

This game is similar to charades, but it incorporates a bit of artistic skill… if you have any.

If you’re not an artist, that’s totally ok!

Pictionary is way more fun if the drawings are terrible.

This game is also very simple to play and requires just a few items you can easily find around your house.

This is a popular game because it is bound to bring side-busting laughter for everyone involved when what’s being guessed can’t be deciphered!

Instead of purchasing the game of Pictionary, grab these tools from around your house:

  • Pens or whiteboard markers
  • Time keeping device
  •  A container for the paper slips

It’s that simple to get started!

Before you start the game, someone who is not playing should generate words or phrases to be used during the game.

You can also use a word generator that you can find online, or download an app that will make generating words a breeze and can be used in real time.

The words or phrases should be simple.

The best suggestions would be a person, place, animal, object, action, or a mix of all of the above.

To play the game, you’ll first need to split your group up into two teams.

On each team, select a time keeper who will keep track of the other team’s time to draw and guess the picture being drawn.

Distribute the paper pads between teams, or set up your white board in a spot that can be viewed by both teams.

The first team will select a person to draw the phrase for the round.

The second team will have their time keeper put a minute on the clock.

The person who is drawing on the first team will pick a slip out of the container and have a minute to draw the word or phrase on the slip.

When both teams are ready, the time keeper will start the clock.

The players on the first team will have one minute to guess the word or phrase being drawn.

If they guess correctly, they get a point.

If they don’t, no points are awarded.

You can choose to keep the turn going for the team that guesses correctly until they lose a turn, or default to an equal alternation depending on how you want to play!

The game keeps going until all slips are gone, the winning amount of points is reached, or everyone on each team has had a turn.

3. Never Have I Ever

If you’ve never played Never Have I Ever, this game is a ton of fun!

It can be played with the whole family, or it can be played with adults only as a drinking game for a little more risqué fun.

No matter who plays, this game is designed to bring people together by helping the people playing learn new things about each other!

This game can be played with any number of people, but it’s most fun with at least six people.

This game can be played anywhere because there are no materials needed for the players involved.

To play the game, have everyone sit in a circle.

This is a great game to play at the dinner table after a meal or in the family room when everyone is relaxing.

Once everyone has gathered together, have everyone sit with their hands out, all fingers outstretched.

For this game, your ten fingers will be representative of your ten chances.

Start with one person in the group and have them declare something that they have never done.

You can select the person by playing rock, paper, scissors, flipping a coin, or simply just picking someone who wants to go first!

The first person says “Never have I ever…” and then finishes the phrase with something they’ve never done, preferably something outrageous.

It’s a perfect chance to pick something that a player may think someone has done, making it a great way to get them to admit their silly secrets!

An example would be “Never have I ever been arrested” or “Never have I ever covered my entire face in whipped cream.”

If someone has done the thing that the first player says, they put a finger down.

This keeps going with each person taking a turn stating something they haven’t done until one person has lost all 10 chances or until there is just one person left with fingers up.

This is an incredibly fun game that will have you laughing with surprise!

Remember to keep the turns age appropriate if you’re playing with kids, but if you’re playing with adult family members, have as much fun as you want.

4. Would You Rather

If you’re looking for a really creative game that can get really silly and is fun for the whole family, you can play Would You Rather!

This game is super simple and so much fun.

It can be played sitting around a table, or you can get more physical and make a dramatic show of having players move from one side of the room to another.

There is no real way to “win” this game, but it’s a fun way to discover the weird choices your family would make if they had no other options.

To play this game, all you need is your thinking cap and a group of four or more people.

The game can be played with as many as two people, but the more people involved, the funner it is.

Players will take turns asking the other players what they would rather do.

A perfect example would be “Would you rather hug a bear in the woods or get abducted by aliens?”

The situations are hypothetical, so you can get as weird, silly, deep, or hilarious as you’d like!

You can keep track of who has the most in common with who if you’d like, but this game is played just as well as an exercise in learning about your family’s preferences.

You can keep the questions simple, but the more outlandish they are, the funner the game will be.

5. 4 Papers

This is another very simple game that you can play with your family at any time!

To play this game, you’ll need some paper, pens, a timer, and a container to keep the slips you’ll write on in.

To begin playing, you’ll select a category such as movie or book titles.

This game is best played with 4 or more people.

You’ll split the group into two teams, and have each player write 3 or 4 different things on individuals slips of paper that fit in the chosen category for the game.

This game is done in four rounds.

For each round, set the clock to 1 minute.

Each player tries to get their teammates to guess as many things written on the slips of paper in the basket as possible.

You’ll select one paper at a time, and if the team guessing doesn’t get the current slip right before the time is up for that round, it goes back into the basket.

For each round, the players have one pass.

If a pass opportunity is taken, the slip goes back into the pile.

Switch between the teams until all the slips are gone.

For each correctly guessed slip, that team gets a point.

Keep going until four rounds have been played.

The team with the highest score at the end of the 4th round wins.

For each round there are specific rules.

Round one: Describe the paper without using only sound effects.

No words or actions can be used, just noise.

Round 2: Describe the paper with ONE word or sounds.

No physical actions allowed.

Round 3: Act out the word on the paper, but use no words or sounds.

Round 4: For round 4, the player who has the slip must produce a “freeze frame.”

This means that the other players who are guessing close their eyes until the player who is acting out the word is ready.

They will tell the other team members to open their eyes.

The player in the freeze frame cannot make any sound or make any moves.

After the four rounds are done and the winning team is declared, you can play again with a new category!

6. Scavenger Hunt

If you’ve never done a scavenger hunt at home, get ready to have a great time!

This is a great game to play with the entire family, and can be especially fun for kids!

If you’re playing with children, you can keep the game very simple by hiding things around the house for them to find.

These things can be toys, candy that can be prizes themselves, or other objects that they hunt for to get a big prize at the end of the game.

If the game is being played with older kids or adults, you can make the game more challenging by hiding things in difficult spots.

Depending on the age of the players, you can choose to make an itemized list of what’s been hidden and provide clues if you’d like.

This will make the game a little more challenging, and give you the ability to create riddles that will keep the players engaged as they search for the hidden treasures.

This game can be played inside our outdoors, so it is perfect for any season or any time of day!

You can hide anything you want anywhere you’d like, but make sure to keep the objects in places that aren’t hazardous.

With this fun game, everyone will have a great time and find a little treasure to keep!

7. The Greatest Game in the Universe

If you’re looking for a game that pulls from some family favorites to create a big, fun filled activity, then you should play The Greatest Game in the Universe.

This game is essentially a combination of charades, Clue and telephone.

To start playing the game, gather a group of at least six people.

Have three players leave the room.

Everyone else remaining will select a person, a weapon or object, and a place.

An example would be a sailer with a baton in the dining room.

Once you’ve decided on these three pieces of information, bring ONE of the players back into the room.

This first player will ask one of the players who was already in the room “who” the person was.

The person who has been asked to explain who it was will act out the person in question, aka the sailor.

The first player will then ask another player in the room what the object was.

This second person will act out what the object was.

After this second player has completed their portion of charades, the first player will ask someone else where it happened.

After this has been acted out, a second player is brought into the room and the first player who asked the questions will act out all three parts for the second player.

The second player then proceeds to act all these things out for the third player outside of the room.

After the three parts have been acted out, the third person has to guess what the three things are.

The fun part comes from seeing how each reenactment goes and how badly reproduced the answers are!

It’s a hilarious game that’ll have everyone playing laughing their heads off.

8. Ghosts in the Graveyard

Ghosts in the Graveyard is a personal favorite as it is so much fun to play with the whole family.

This game is essentially hide-and-go-seek in reverse with a little it of the game of tag mixed in.

To play the game, start with at least six players.

Select two or more of these players to be the ghosts.

These two players go and hide in the area that you’re playing in while everyone else covers their eyes.

This game can be played indoors, but it’s also fun playing outdoors at night!

The remaining players gather at home base, an area selected as a neutral zone where no “harm” can come to them.

The players at home base loudly count “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock” all the way up to “Midnight!”.

The players at home base then fan out through the area where they’re playing to look for the hidden ghosts.

When a player spots a ghost, they yell “Ghost in the graveyard! Run, run run!”

This tells the other players that one of the ghosts have been found and it’s time to run back to home base.

When this cry is let out, it signals to the ghosts that it’s time to move around and “haunt” the other players, effectively trying to tag them.

Anyone who gets tagged becomes a ghost in the next round.

As the game goes on, the number of ghosts grows, leading to more ghosts than not-ghosts!

This game is bound to be a lot of fun ( plus a little bit scary) and is best played right at dusk to avoid tripping.

There are also variations of the game that you can play.

You’ll have fun playing this game along with your kids, and the little fear will turn into fits of giggles as you play on!

9. Who Am I

Who Am I is essentially 20 questions with a twist.

You’ll need paper, tape, and a pen to play this game.

To play the game, gather your group.

Assign each player a different name.

The name should be recognizable by everyone, so ideally a celebrity, famous character,  or a historical or political figure that can be identified through the questions.

Don’t let anyone see the names before the game begins.

If you’re throwing a themed party, you can select characters tied to that theme.

An example would be an Avengers party for your kids where you can pick all of the characters from the movies or comics.

Make a little name tags with the paper and tape, and stick these on the backs of the players, making sure they can’t see who they’ve been assigned.

Each person gets 20 yes or no questions to find out who their assigned person is.

Example questions would be “Am I a living person?”, “Am I a movie character?”, “Am I male or female?”, etc.

The players must go around the room and ask the other players questions about their assigned person.

They can’t ask one person all of the questions, they must alternate between other players.

No free hints allowed, either!

Whoever guesses who their character is first wins the game!

10. Crazy Face

If you want to get really silly with your family, this is a great game that will have you busting out in laughter and might leave you with a few great instagram photos.

This game is so funny, even reading the rules will have you laughing.

To play this game, you’ll need shaving cream, cheese balls, and a good throwing arm.

Split your group into two teams.

Have a lucky player from each team volunteer to be “Crazy Face.”

This person will cover their entire face in shaving cream.

When the player is ready, have the two teams stand a few feet apart with their crazy faced teammate standing a few feet away facing them.

Have someone declare the start of the game by yelling “Go!”

The people on each respective team then throws cheeseballs at the person with the shaving cream on their face for one minute.

The team who gets the most cheese balls to stick on their teammates face will be declared the winner of Crazy Face!

Sounds like a wicked good time, right?

Final Thoughts

No matter how big your family is, there is a free game for you to play together!

Whether you like to keep it silly, keep it classic, or keep it educational, there is always a way to bring everyone together to have a great time.

Always remember to simplify the games if you’re playing with young children, and always check the area where you’ll play physical games for hazards.

All of these games require little to no preparation and can be played right away if you have some basic items around your house.

Take the time to plan out a game night with a few of these suggestions, and you’re bound to have a fun filled family game night.

Justin Stewart

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