Family Games

Camping and Outdoor Games

Constellation Creation Start the game by pointing out one of the well-known constellations to the group, and then tell the mythological story behind it. Then, have everyone take turns making up new constellations and stories to go with them. For a tricky twist, have each constellation's story build off of the last one told.

Shave Mr. Balloon-face Everyone participating will need a balloon and a permanent marker. Everyone should blow up their balloon as full as possible. Participants will then draw on their balloon to give it a face. Apply shaving cream to the balloon's cheeks and chin, and use a plastic knife or safety razor to shave with. Start the race, and the first person to shave Mr. Balloon-face without popping him is the winner. Make this even more risky (and fun) by shaving water balloons!

Tree Hugging Split the group into pairs. Each pair chooses one person to be blindfolded, and one person to be the guide. The guide leads their partner in a roundabout way to a tree (maybe having them duck under imaginary fences, jump over imaginary streams, etc.). At the tree, the blindfolded partner inspects the tree (with the blindfold still on). You can hug the tree, trace its bark with your fingers, touch the ground and roots, and touch the branches and leaves - anything you want without looking. The guide then leads the blindfolded partner back (again in a roundabout way) to the starting point. Then the blindfolded partner takes off the blindfold and tries to find the correct tree.

Frisbee Golf This game is best played in a large, open field. (Each person will need one Frisbee.) Choose around six or seven objects as targets for your golf "holes." Players will then take turns tossing their Frisbees toward the target. Keep track of how many throws it takes to hit the target. The player with the fewest throws at the end wins.

For Communication

Memorable Moment Start off the game by telling your child three things that happened throughout your day. Then, have your child try to guess which one was most exciting for you, and why. After he or she has guessed, tell your child which event was more exciting for you than the other two and why. Next, it's your child's turn to think up three events, and your turn to guess. Your child will enjoy sharing, and you will learn at least three things he or she did that day.

Smarter Than . . . Who? This is a game you can save for the beginning of the school year! Ask your children to quiz you on the things they learned at school that day. For example, if your student is studying world history, they may ask you, "When was the Magna Carta signed?" You answer, and they will tell you if you are correct. Then let them ask another question. By the end of the game, your children will feel proud of all that they've learned (and extra proud when they stump you!), and you will have a little glimpse into what they are learning at school.

Road Trip Games

The Car Next Door Come up with stories about the people in the other cars on the road. Pick a car and glance at its passengers. Then have everyone take a turn telling something about the life of the people in the "car next door."

Animal Battle Everyone gets to create an animal by combining two real or imaginary creatures. For example - a snonkey (snake-monkey), an elephino (elephant-rhinoceros), or a unifly (unicorn-butterfly). Then, everyone in the car takes turns defending why their animal would win in a battle against the other imagined animals. Include rules against graphic descriptions to keep it light and fun.

Who Am I? One person thinks of a person, place, or thing that everyone in the car can recognize. The person thinking of the subject will give one clue at a time. For example:

  • I am bigger than a horse
  • I live in water
  • I was in a movie
(Answer: Willy from the movie Free Willy)

After each clue, anyone can guess. The first person to guess the person, place, or thing is then "it" and gets to think up the next subject.

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