Family dinners play an important role in our health and our family lives.  Gathering your family around the dinner table nightly allows you uninterrupted time to truly bond and come together after a long day.  As I posted in, The Importance of Family Dinner, children and adults alike benefit greatly from eating meals together regularly.

 

That being said, family dinners can often be chaotic and frustrating. After a long day it may be difficult to let go and shift into family mode.  Our minds are still at work or on our never ending to do list. The kids are whining about what’s on their plate and arguing with siblings.  And night after night you ask the same questions only to get the same responses.

A great way to lighten the mood and get the family engaged in dinner is to use dinner games and conversation starters.  These fun activities will allow you to learn more about each other and share some laughs at the table.  Ever wonder what super power your spouse would like to have? or think about ways in which your child might have helped a good friend out today?  Try a few of these dinner games and you may be surprised at what you learn.
The following games are geared towards families with smaller children, but several can be played well into the middle school years.  I have included a game printable that allows you to easily print a list of all the games and table talk starters. You can use the list to create your own Family Dinner Game Box.  Cut the list into individual strips, fold and throw into a jar, bowl or old tissue box. Bonus: you can let the kids “create” the game box to entertain them while you are making dinner:) Each night at dinner let the kids take turns picking something from the game box.
dinner games

 

Game Box Printables

                                                     Dinner Games

  • Dinner Guest: If you could invite any one person to dinner who would it be (celebrity, historic figure, character)? And Why? What would happen if each family member’s guest was here at the same time?
  • I Spy: Designate a spy at the table.  The spy will spot an object and without telling what the object is, he will describe it by color “I spy with my little eye something green”. Remaining family members take turns guessing what the object is.  The person to guess correctly is the next spy.
  • The Manners Game: Gather some coins, buttons, beads or even dried beans.  Give each family member 5 pieces.  Every time someone uses bad manners they have to give up a coin. Examples: elbows on table, chewing with mouth open, forgetting to say please or thank you.  Children love “catching” mom and dad forgetting their manners. It’s also a great way to instill proper table manners.
  • ABC’s of Gratitude: Starting with the letter A , go around the table letting each person say what or who they are grateful for that begins with that letter. Continue through the alphabet. This is a great way for little ones to practice their letters and sounds.  This game can get very creative:).
  • Finish The Story: One family member starts a story, then go around the table adding more to it. The last person will create the story ending.  Take turns letting each family member begin or end the story.
  • Who Am I: Each family member picks another person to be (celebrity, character, family member, friend, teacher). During dinner you will act as that person until someone guesses correctly.
  • 2 Truths and a Falsehood: Each person will tell 2 truths and one falsehood about their day.  The remaining family members will guess which one is the falsehood.
  • Highs & Lows: Take turns discussing the best part and lowest part of each person’s day.
  • Do You Know Me? Each family member asks 5 questions about themselves to see how well the others know him. (Example: KIDS-what’s my favorite sport, what do I play at recess, what’s my favorite class? PARENTS – where did I go to school, where do I work, in what city was I born?)
  • Table Talk: Use these conversation starters to keep the family engaged at dinner.
    • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
    • What is your favorite family vacation?
    • If you could stay up all night what would you do?
    • If you could trade places with your parents for the day, what would you do different
    • Name 1 person that made you sad today.
    • If you could choose our next family vacation, what would it be?
    • What are you looking most forward to this week? month? year?
    • If you had the power to do one special good deed for someone, what would it be and for who?
    • If you had 3 wishes what would they be? (No wishing for more wishes:)
    • Name 2 people that made you smile today.
    • If you could be a famous person for a week who would you be, why and what would you do?
    • If you could have one superpower what would it be and what would you do with it?
    • If you could eat only 3 foods for a month, what would they be?
    • Name one way you helped another person today. Name one way another person helped you today.
    • If you could be president for a day what would you do?
    • If you could trade places with your teacher for a day, what would you do?
    • If you could have one wish come true, what would it be?
    • Where do you want to live when you grow up? (Parents: when you retire)
    • If you could pick your own name, what would it be?
    • What is your favorite book and why?
    • If you could be any book character who would it be and why?
    • If you could be any animal, what animal would it be and why?
    • What does your life look like in 10 years? 20 years?
    • If you could have any animal you wanted, what would you choose?
    • What is the funniest memory you have of name family member?
    • What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? Take turns describing each family member.
    • What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you? What is the nicest thing you have ever done for a friend?
    • What is your favorite movie and why?
    • What is your favorite family tradition?
    • If you could play any instrument what would it be and why?
    • What do you want to be when you grow up and why? (Parents: what do you want to do when you retire?)
    • If you could have any one talent what would it be and what would you do with it?
    • What are three things you are grateful for today?
    • What has been the happiest day of your life so far?
    • Name one person in your life you are thankful for and why?
    • Name one thing you could have done better today.
    • Name two things you did that you are proud of today.
    • What is your most embarrassing moment?
    • If you could have dinner with anyone past or present who would it be and why?
    • What is your least favorite chore?
    • What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
    • Name 3 things you couldn’t live without.
    • Who is your best friend and why?
    • What is your greatest talent?
    • What country would you like to someday visit?
    • If you had a time machine where would you go?
    • What is something you want to learn how to do and why?
    • If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
    • If you could do just one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be? 

Related Posts You May Also Enjoy: The Importance of Family Dinner, The Veggie Battle – Getting Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

 

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