Holiday Fun and Games

This past Sunday night for my live show “Live & Learn” on, I talked about fun games to play with family during this long holiday weekend.  I mentioned many classics, including Boggle, Rummikub, Uno, and more, but I wanted to specifically share more about some of our personal favorites.

The Great Dalmuti (our #1!)

  • ages 8+ (though our son understood at 6yo)The Great Dalmuti
  • 4-8 players
  • In this card game you jockey for position between The Great Dalmuti (the highest position) and Scum (the lowest) by strategically playing hands and being the first to get rid of all your cards.  At the end of each round, you change seats according to position.


Pass the PigsPass the Pigs

  • all ages
  • any group size
  • Play this game by tossing the two pigs like dice, and score points according to how they land.  It’s your turn as long as you want, and you can keep scoring until the pigs land one side up and one side down – then you “pig out.”



  • Best for older elementary kids, maybe 8+nerts
  • Best played with at least 3, but no more than 6 (unless you break into teams).
  • This is a speed group solitaire game that requires attention to detail and very sharp reflexes!  There are no standard “game” cards packaged as Nerts, instead you can use any decks of your own choosing.  The important thing is, though, that each deck of cards you use must be uniquely marked on the backside, because after all the cards are piled in the center, you’ll need to sort them out for scoring.


Apples to ApplesApples to Apples

  • Ages 12+ (We play with our 8yo, though the Junior version would probably be better for him)
  • At least 4 players
  • This fun word game has you match one of 7 noun cards in your hand with an adjective card drawn by another player – the cards rarely have anything to do with each other and are incredibly random; the game can get pretty silly in a hurry.  We have an alternate version that we play where everyone draws 5 noun cards and 3 adjective cards each and then has 2 minutes to create a story with those 8 cards.  Depending on the willingness of the players to get silly and creative, the stories can end up being pretty funny!


Speed Scrabble

  • I would say at least 8yrs+Speed Scrabble
  • 2 or more players
  • This version of Scrabble requires only the tiles.  Lie all tiles out face down.  Each player draws 7 tiles and keeps them face down until everyone is ready.  All players begin at the same time and try to create words – horizontally and vertically, as on a Scrabble board – with their tiles.  When a player has used all 7 tiles, they holler “Go!” and then everyone draws 2 more tiles (even if they haven’t used their previously drawn tiles).  Play continues until all tiles from the pool are taken and ends when a player is the first to use all their tiles.  Scoring is done by counting each players personal word grid, adding tile values for the horizontal words first, then the vertical.
  • A commercial version of this game, called Bananagrams, is also available.

Maybe something here struck your interest and you can find a new game to add to your own family’s favorites!  I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving and that you truly enjoy this time you have with family.