Let’s face it-watching TV together every night doesn’t create lasting family memories. Whether you experience a lazy summer evening or a cold winter night, gather your family around the fireplace. The fireplace’s warmth and brightness will attract young children and teenagers alike.
Once your family gathers, create some memories by sharing games, songs, and stories. Here are 10 ideas to keep your family entertained around the fireplace.
You’ve told campfire stories before, but this method of storytelling will keep your family’s creative juices flowing. One person starts out telling the story. Once they’ve talked for a few minutes, they “pass the story along” to the next person in the circle. The story keeps going until the last family member concludes it.
To make the pass-along story more challenging, try having each person tell just one sentence at a time, or even one word at a time!
Young children love singing songs around the fireplace. Teenagers may grumble about it at first, but they’ll eventually join in. Share some of your favorite songs and chants from your youth, and let your kids teach you the ones they know.
With your family all cozy around the fireplace, you have the perfect opportunity to share memories. Here are some ideas:
- Your favorite birthday party as a child
- An embarrassing moment as a teenager
- The day you met your spouse
- Your happiest memory of your parents or grandparents
- The day one of your children was born
When you share these memories, you help your children relate to you and will them stories they can pass on to their children. While your children’s limited years on the planet might not give them as many memories, they might still enjoy sharing childhood experiences or laughing about funny family moments.
Help each member of your family feel special by taking turns being the “spotlight.” Each family member must share a compliment about the spotlighted person or a reason they love them. Spotlighting is an especially good idea if your kids frequently argue and fight (and what kids don’t?).
For this game, one player goes out of the room and everyone chooses a noun. When the person returns, each family member gives a clue about what they’re thinking of. For example, if the noun is “banana” you could give clues like “You eat it” and “it’s very apeeling.” If the it can’t guess the noun by the time everyone gives a clue, he or she must sing a silly song or do a silly dance.
Name that Tune
If you have some music lovers in your family, hum or whistle part of a song and see how quickly family members can guess it. If you’re not much of a singer, you can play part of the song from an electronic device.
This game adds some fun and intrigue to your family gathering. Form a circle next to the fire. One person (not playing the game) secretly chooses the assassin, so everyone must close their eyes while the chooser taps the assassin on the head.
Once everyone opens their eyes, they look around at each other suspiciously. The assassin must wink at their “victims” without anyone else noticing. If the assassin winks at you, you should wait a few seconds, then “die” (move out of the game). The assassin’s goal is to take everyone out of the game before they guess who the assassin is.
This game is simple, but it gets your family members thinking. Choose a common name, and take turns going around the circle naming famous people with that name. Once someone can’t think of another answer, they’re out!
For a slightly more difficult version, the first player chooses an actor and a movie. The next person must choose either another actor from that movie, or another movie with that actor, and the pattern keeps going around the circle. You can continue with the actor as many times as you want, but you can only use a movie once.
This classic game works well if everyone is already gathered around in a semicircle. If you recall, the first person whispers a word or phrase in the next person’s ear. That player whispers what they heard in the next person’s ear. Chances are the message will get seriously distorted by the time it reaches the end of the line!
For a more challenging (and delightful) version, give everyone a piece of paper folded into 8 sections. In the first section, everyone writes a sentence or phrase. They then pass it on, and the next person draws a picture of the sentence. Then they pass it on again, and the next person writes a sentence that best describes the picture. After all the squares fill up, it’s hilarious to share these illustrated telephone stories with each other!
Two Truths and a Lie
Get to know your family members better with this challenging game. Each family member must come up with two truths about themselves and one lie, and family members must guess which statement is the lie. For example, you could say: “My favorite food is pizza. I’ve never been to Colorado. I read three books this month.” If you know each other pretty well, you’ll have to think hard about facts you can use to stump your family members.
Try one (or more) of these ideas and start creating family memories around your fireplace.