Easy Ideas for Family Meals and Game Time

When our kids were still at home, it was very important to us to have quality time together. As the kids got older, it became a little bit more challenging, but we found a few easy ideas for family meals and game time that helped.

Granny Joy and the girls playing board games
Granny Joy and the Girls Playing Candy Land

It was important to us that we ate our meals together at the table. As the kids got older and had activities, we had to make a few exceptions. However, for the most part, we always sat at the table to eat our meals.

We also enjoyed playing games together. Eating together and playing games are some of the easiest ways we can spend enjoyable time with our families. I would love to share some of these easy ideas for family meals and game time.

The Importance of Family Meals

Family meal time at the table

Several years ago I read some research on the importance of families sitting down together (at the table) for family meals. Although I do not have the exact numbers, I remember that drug use and giving in to peer pressure among youth sharply decreased when families shared family meals at the table several times a week.

I recently came across an article written by the Harvard Graduate School of Education that explained the importance of family meals. It also gave practical ideas for making them happen. Click the link to read, The Benefit of Family Mealtime.

Advice to Students

Through my years of school counseling, many students have come to me about their relationships with their parents. Many of them feel like they don’t communicate as much anymore.

My advice is always to plan a family meal and have everyone sit at the table. I tell them to take the initiative and get the table ready for the meal.

On the occasions when they do this, they come back with excitement to tell me how nice it was. Family dinner together is always a great way to get the communication going again.

Easy Family Meal Times

Casual family meal time

Family meals should be enjoyable for everyone in the family. With that being said, here are a few tips and ideas to keep in mind:

  • Keep all table conversations on a positive note. Do not bring up any problems or trouble at the table.
  • Ask each person about their day. Even teenagers tend to open up at mealtimes.
  • When possible, make meal preparations together.
  • Make meals the entire family enjoys – something for the whole family.
  • You might let each person pick a meal a week or month.
  • Obviously, everyone should gather around the table.
  • It does not have to be a fancy dinner party. In fact, sandwiches, corny dogs, or whatever you have is just as great at the table as it is elsewhere.
  • Enjoy impromptu family gatherings. Everything doesn’t have to be planned out all of the time.
  • #1 Rule should be – No phones at family dinner time.

Enjoying Family Game Time

Granny Joy, Caddie, and Shea playing games

We all love playing games together. Some family members can get very competitive when games are involved! When the kids were small, Jay taught them that you don’t always win. LOL!

There were some great lessons in our game times as well as other benefits. Just from my observation (nothing scientific), here are some of the benefits I have seen come from family game time:

  • Families have fun together.
  • Conversations naturally happen.
  • Memories are made.
  • A little friendly competition can teach healthy competition.
  • Thinking skills are developed – strategic thinking, word skills, higher level thinking, etc.
  • Social skills are developed.

We still play games when the family gets together. However, when the girls come to visit, it is a must. They love games, and you have to have snacks while you play! A couple of their favorites are pictured below. Notice how worn out the Trouble box is.


Train (Double 12 Dominoes)
Trouble Game



Almost any kind of games will make for a fun night. I tend to like word games best, and Jay likes more challenging games with strategic thinking. There are so many different games to choose from these days, with all sorts of topics. You just have to find the ones that fit your family best.

Our New Favorite Game

A couple of years ago, a friend of ours posted that her son did woodwork, and she shared his Etsy link. Oh my goodness! When I went to his site, I was so impressed. We immediately ordered a game for my daughter and her family. When it arrived, I ordered a game for the two of us. This was how we spent our New Year’s Eve – playing WaHoo.

Before he puts it in the comments, yes, Jay won all four games!

We have enjoyed this game so much that we have taken it to my parents a few times to play. Family time playing your favorite games is the best way to spend a Friday night!


homemade wooden Wahoo board for family game night
Personalized Wahoo Board

I have already had people ask for a link to order a personalized game like this. He makes these as well as many other items and games. If you are interested, contact Jared Tredway on Etsy here at this link. You will definitely enjoy it!

Family Game Night Ideas

board game for family game night
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com
  • Card Games
  • Word Game
  • Puzzles
  • Board Games
  • Dice Games
    • Yahtzee
    • Farkle
  • Trivia Games
  • Charades
  • Dinner Table Games
  • Outdoor Games
    • Sports
    • Wiffle Ball
    • Croquet
    • Cornhole

Family Meals and Game Time Challenge

I would like to challenge us all (myself included) to have more meal times at the table, and more family time playing games or with some other activity your family enjoys.

I would also love to hear about your family’s next game night. What is your family favorite game or activity?

Please tell about it or share pictures in the comments. I love new ideas for my own family!

Related Posts

How to Host Family Gatherings Without Missing Your Family – This post gives easy meal ideas for family gatherings.

Kitchen Table Memories – Please listen to the song linked to the end of this post. It brings back so many memories of sitting at the table after the meal was finished, having a great time in conversation.

16 Dinner Table Games for All Ages + Printables

I hope something in these easy ideas for family meals and game time was helpful to someone. Let’s keep having fun and building memories with our families!

Until next week…

Closing Signature
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“He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.” Genesis 31:54

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  1. Thank you for sharing. I enjoy all of your posts. Our son, daughter-in-law and their 5 children all sit at the table to have their meals. One of the kids says a prayer before eating. They all play games together.

  2. As our kids grew and had jobs with differnet hours and left for college our schedule changed it wasn’t alwasy dinner and games any more but we had time each day together. Now we have meals and grandkids.

  3. Yes to gathering around the table! It’s so important. I’ve learned a ton about our family from lingering after each meal. It’s one of life’s best gifts! We play “Roses and Thorns” at the beginning of each meal. It definitely helps to open up the conversation but also helps us gauge how each one of us are really doing. Hugs, CoCo

  4. I was just remarking to someone last week that even with a 15, 17, & 19 year old we have almost always eaten dinner together as a family with only the odd exceptions of someone being absent… of course that will have to change slightly when my 17 year old goes off to college (his older brother is attending a local school that has mostly online classes so they haven’t interfered at all).

  5. I love your suggestions for the table…I always try not to bring up anything too negative at dinner time…sometimes we only get that time together during the day as a family.,

  6. Now my girls are older and one is working it is harder to eat meals together but we try for a couple of times a week and always make them a fun occasion.

  7. Family meal times and family game nights are some of the best ways for us all to connect. When we were homeschooling our kids, we sometimes had Theme Nights for dinner, and the kids got involved in planning the meal which was inspired by a country or region or historical time period we had studied. It was so much fun!

  8. I love all of this! We are game people and definitely food people too! Bananagrams is a favorite. Spending time with the family is so important, strengthening that bond. Thank you for sharing this.

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