Budget-friendly game night ideas

Dec 1, 2011 at 10:08 a.m. ET

Your family can enjoy a super-fun family game night... for free! Take a break from video games, computer games and the TV to spend some real quality time together without spending a cent!

Family playing cards

Card games

"You can never run out of ideas with a deck of playing cards," says Fenesha Hubbard. Having a few decks on hand is a must for every family.

Many kids know how to play Solitaire and Hearts on a computer, but there are so many benefits to playing games with real cards. Gather around the table, deal out a few hands and watch the conversation unfold. Teach your kids Go Fish, Gin Rummy, War and some poker. An added benefit: the kids will improve their math skills, too!

5 Family card games >>

Movie charades

Movie lovers will have a blast acting out their favorite movie scenes. "There are two teams and each team writes down 10 movie titles to give to the other team," explains Cindy Sawyer. The teams act out the movies without saying a word, and the team that guesses the most titles wins.

"It's really fun and entertaining," adds Sawyer, "Not to mention free!"

How to play charades >>

Scavenger Hunts

Game night doesn't have to be around a table. Spread out the fun with a little scavenger hunt. Place snacks, trinkets and other treasures in various hiding places throughout the room and give each player a list of things to find.

If the kids are older, make it competitive and give everyone the same list to track down. Hide different items and make a separate list for the younger set so they're not at a disadvantage. Whoever collects the most items on the list wins (and gets to pick the next game the family plays).

Organize a family scavenger hunt >>

What is it?

With a bowl, a blindfold and some various things from around the house, you can have a ton of fun playing What Is It? Each player fills a paper bag with X number of household items -- anything from cotton balls to potato chips -- and brings them to the table without sharing.

One player places an item in a bowl covered by a cloth or tea towel and passes it around to the other players who are blindfolded. After each player has had a chance to touch the item in the bowl, the blindfolds are removed and players write down what they think the item was.

The winner is the player whose items were most difficult to guess correctly.

6 Free classic games for little ones >>

More family game night tips

Secrets of great game nights
3 Ways to make time for family game night
Beat board game boredom

Tagged in