Family game nights can be epic in building family memories. From board games to cards to trendy activities including Pokemon Go, games are designed to encourage friendly competition, team building and to challenge. Brenda Lui of the Newport Beach boutique event planning company Bookt Events has tips and tricks to creating the perfect game night for your family. She suggests keeping game night within a two hour time period and having back-up games handy if you are sensing gamers are getting tired or bored.
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Newport Beach, CA 92658
Belinda Lui has been producing events for over a decade. Her company, Bookt Events, is a boutique events company based in Newport Beach, specializing in the production and planning of social and corporate events. Belinda’s prestigious clients include Disney, Toyota and UCLA, among other organizations, as well as social engagements and weddings.
Games that require physical activity are a great way to engage younger families with children and for them to get some exercise. Using everyday household items, you can create simple “Minute to Win it” (based on the now defunct TV show) games. These games are great because they’re silly, fun and only take a minute each. One example is seeing who can stack the tallest tower of plastic cups within a minute- just use plastic cups. Another example is seeing which team, within a minute, can transport the most number of tennis balls from point A to B by having tennis balls lodged under their chins and only being able to move the balls in this fashion. If someone drops it, they have to go back to point A. The best thing about this “Minute to Win It” format is that it’s great for both young and older kids. And the games can be played individually or as teams.
Younger kids are relatively easier to please than their teenage counterparts. But themes can certainly help with engaging teens; the trick is to get them involved and out of their comfort zone.
With the Olympics on everyone’s mind, an Olympic-themed party would be fun. Each family member can choose a country to represent and then compete as their respective country throughout the night. You can easily award bronze, silver and gold medals by creating your own “medals” using ribbon and foiled chocolate candies.
If your kids (or even your spouse) are Pokemon Go fans, then a Pokemon Go theme would be a lot of fun for a game night. You can hide colorful balloons around the house with cutouts of the Pokemon characters (i.e. Charmander) and have the younger kids “find” the characters.
Finger foods work best on game nights, with nothing that needs knives, forks or even plates. You don’t want to interrupt the flow of a fun game night by having to stop and eating pasta or a heavy meal.
An easy way to create finger foods is by simply cutting regular meals into smaller pieces, i.e. mini chicken quesadillas, mini pizzas. Crescent rolls are always handy to make mini croissants. Let the kids choose the fillers, i.e. cheese, ham, spinach etc. The same “mini” principle applies with desserts. Cut brownies into bite size pieces, or add frosting to a boxed cake mix for easy cake balls.
Drinks and desserts are a great way to enhance your theme. With the Olympic theme, you can make red, white and blue drinks using food coloring or syrups. For a Pokemon Go dessert, decorate cupcakes in the (now-iconic) black and red look of a Pokeball.
We’re lucky to live in Orange County, where the weather is always beautiful, so definitely plan on playing outdoor games. And you have plenty of options outside. It would be fun to create a “Field Day” at a local park with all of your favorite games: three-legged race, ring toss, potato sack race, etc.
Prizes are a great idea. They don’t have to be valuable by any means, but just something to encourage friendly competition. One creative prize would be to create a family game night “Stanley Cup” trophy for that year. The winner of the family game night gets to write/etch/ marker their name onto the trophy along with the date of the game night. That way you can keep a tally of who won the most game nights that year. A great family memento.