Celebrate National Game and Puzzle Week this Thanksgiving with these favorites

National Game and Puzzle Week falling on the week of Thanksgiving is no accident. What better time to gather with friends and family to have some fun and share laughs over a game than after you've finished off the pumpkin pie? If everyone is looking to you with the "now what?" face, you can be prepare to say that you will all be joining in the national celebration of game and puzzle week.

Here are some favorite games that can be played by a group, are based on simple rules, require no electricity, have intergenerational appeal and are under $20:

  • Charades: A few years ago I thought my daughter was too young for charades, and boy was I wrong. It was another three generation side-splitting good time. This can be no cost if you make up your own options, and you can tailor your selection to the age and interests of your participants. Themed charades are a ton of fun, and may make it easier for young ones. One twist could be doing items and people for which you are grateful. Other possibilities include sports themese, favorite family books or movies you've seen this year.
  • Apples to Apples.  For us, this game is in a category all its own.  We love it. We've played it with three generations of family, with friends, with neighbors, and we never, ever fail to laugh.  The premise of the game is that each person takes turns being the judge by playing an adjective card and then choosing among the noun cards the other players offer up what most closely matches that adjective. For example, at our last game, a judge played the adjective card "scary" and possibilities included "high school locker room," "the Vietnam War" and "in-laws." The judge picked what was scariest to him (I think it was the locker room). There are a few versions, and we're loyal to the original version, the Junior version is probably worth it for families with younger kids. (My tween had a hand a few years back that included Jack Kervorkian and napalm in it. That was a little tricky.)
  • Bingo! I know, you're thinking of the church basement after reading this suggestion, but really, it's fun for the whole family. We did beach blanket bingo at a summer birthday party and the kids loved it. A friend mentioned that her tween boy used his own money to buy a bingo set. What's not to love about a game that requires no skill whatsoever that can be played by anyone old enough to not eat the balls or markers and involves the winners getting to yell? And for those with uncles inclined to cheat, it's tough to do so at Bingo. Target has a set available for under $20.
  • The Classics: My tween is a big fan of classics like Sorry, although a good game of Uno is a close second for her. Pretty sure we'll have a hot hand of Uno going at my parents' house this Thanksgiving, and we can't wait!

The Million Minute Family Challenge offers some helpful tips for successful family game playing here. What games are your family's favorites? My family falls very firmly into the game camp, but for tweens and their families love puzzles, the Denver Public Library compiled a list of logic puzzle books.

Whatever you do with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, I hope it is full of gratitude for each other and lots of fun together.


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