Big family holidays

A special occasion, whatever it may be, demands a special venue – something distinctive and exclusive, with that wow factor. Family reunions, a wedding anniversary, or a birthday celebration - whatever the occasion there are so many fabulous properties to make your celebration special. Check out these great holiday party games. 

10 simple party games that will keep adults and kids entertained for hours

When going on holiday with family or a large group, it's always worth planning a bit of evening or rainy day entertainment! Holidays are not usually considered the place for TV and video games, and you will find all your guests will be up for a bit of silly fun! Here is a list of 10 parlour games that involve little or no planning, and can be enjoyed by everyone…

  • I Spy – a game usually suited to groups with lots of kids, as it is easy but involved! One player hast to pick something that they can see, and the other players have to guess what it is based on the letter it starts with. The winner gets to pick the next 'I spy'. Easy peasy, and a good 'time filler' game, as it takes no setting up at all. It is a popular choice for long car journeys too where lack of space and movement makes most other games impossible.
  • Charades – a old classic parlour game. Charades is possibly considered too old and stuffy by today's youngsters, but I have not known anyone not have fun whilst playing this, (even begrudging fun!) One player has to come up with a famous Book, Film, TV show, or Theatre Play and the rest of the group has to guess what it is. The player cannot speak, and must act out clues. Always worth swatting up with the group on the universal signs for each category and the sign for 'sounds like' etc so everyone is reading from the same page!
  • Hide and Seek / Sardines – another classic. Probably not always suited to the older generation, but I think adults could happily get involved. Hide and Seek requires everyone to hide, with one player seeking them out, a good game for kids. From my experience (ahem!) Sardines is a bit more fun for teens and adults, and requires one person to hide, with the rest of the group seeking. Once a seeker has found the hider, they then hide with them in their hiding place. Eventually you will end up with a large number of bodies crammed into a small space, and one last soul still wandering the house wondering where everyone is. Fantastic games for burning a little energy, and even better in a big house or castle with lots of sneaky hiding spots!
  • 2 Truths And A Lie – an easy variation on the old TV show 'Call My Bluff', and the more recent 'Would I Lie To You?' Each player takes it in turns to come up with two truths and a lie, (or two lies and a truth of you'd rather) about themselves, and other players have to try and guess which statement is the truth and which is a lie! Couldn't be simpler! Plus, you don't even need anything to play, although a note pad and pencil may be useful to jot down your statements. (You don't want to get caught out by forgetting your lie!)
  • Celebrity Name Game – An all-time favourite of mine! Take with you a sheet of sticky labels, although you could probably just manage with just paper! Sitting in a circle, everyone writes down the name of a famous person on a label, and stick it to the forehead of the person to your left, without them seeing the name. Famous people is a very loose category, so go mad, it's more fun to pick something obscure! Easy options include Sports persons, singers, actors, or push the boat out with something trickier with a political, a reality TV star, or cartoon character perhaps. Players then take it in turns to ask the group a yes or no question about who they are. Answers can only be yes or no, so open questions are not allowed! Questions usually start with 'Am I a man?', 'Am I on TV?' etc, and eventually (hopefully) players will be able to narrow down their options until they can guess who they are. Take pity on younger members of the group when choosing a celebrity for them! Hours of fun. (more so with a glass of wine for the grownups!)
  • Pictionary – another old classic, this game requires some materials, but nothing you shouldn't be able to put your hands on easily. With a similar theme to Charades, one player has to draw something and the other players have to guess what it is. Paper and pencils are a must, and you can buy official boxes of cards with the 'items to draw' which will make the game easier for you. However this is not necessary; with a bit of pre-planning you can write out some cards with 'items to draw' before the game. Again, there can be easy options, (maybe with the kids in mind!) or some harder options, like actions, sayings or expressions instead of items. Another involved game for the whole family that can be as easy or difficult as you like! Variations can include the drawer being blind folded, or the game being played in pairs, with one person holding the pencil, and the other person 'drawing' by guiding the first person's hand.
  • The Chain Game – a game that can be played with idioms or famous names. Players take it in turns to come up with an idiom or celebrity name. The next player has to come up with another that links to the previous idiom or celebrity. For example the rule may be naming a celebrity with a first initial that matches the surname initial of the previous celebrity. So… Michael Jackson could be followed with James Blake, who could be followed with Brian Blessed and so on. An example of idioms, expressions and sayings could be 'Blue Moon' followed by 'Moon Shine' followed by 'Rise and Shine' followed by 'High Rise', and so forth. Make sure everyone understands your 'rule' before you start! This is a slightly more complicated game that may be better for after the littlies have gone to bed!
  • Yes or No? – another oldie! Players pair up and ask each other questions. The aim of the game is to get the other player to say yes or no, the trick is obviously to come up with alternative answers to yes or no questions! (eg, 'That is correct' 'That is not the case' etc. Variations include each player having 5 tokens (or pennies!) and having to relinquish one to their opponent every time they are tricked into saying yes or no. When a player has lost a token, the pairs of players are shuffled around, and you face a new opponent. Losers are those who lose all their tokens, winners are those with the most tokens! Simple really, and you don't even really need any props.
  • Hunt The Thimble – a good game to set the children up with! All players leave the room but one, who hides the thimble. No need for an actual thimble, you could use another prop! The item has to be visible without moving anything in the room. Players then return to the room, the winner is the one who finds the thimble. The game can be intersected with 'hot, hotter, COLD!' to make it easier if you want! Easy peasy game, and is again well suited to big houses with big rooms!
  • Consequences – the writing game, will require paper and pens for everyone. Set a list of 'questions' for the game to answer. Usually the game starts with 1) A Man's Name, 2) A Woman's Name, 3) Where They Met, 4) He Said…, 5) She Said… and so on. Sitting in a circle, everyone writes an answer to question 1 at the top of the paper, and folds the page so the answer is hidden. The paper is handed to the person on your left. Everyone then answers question 2 on their new piece of paper, and folds the paper again. Keep passing around until all the questions have been answered, and then unfold the papers, and take it in turn to read out the silly and nonsensical stories you have created! A variation of this game is 'Mad Libs'; you can buy a 'mad libs' book, which contains short stories with blanks, players are asked to suggest a word for the blank, which may need to be a noun, or verb, a place or part of the body etc. The same sort of silly and surreal story will be the outcome!

For additional 'party entertainment', (and if you have space in your suitcase!) you could bring some family board games as well. Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly Cranium and Cluedo are popular options! Perhaps a pack of cards could get thrown in the mix too; brush up on the rules to Gin Rummy before you go! Card games are great for variations on the numbers of guests, as games can be played with one, two, or many players. Your holidays are about having fun, so make sure you are not caught out with nothing to do!