Ironically, our extended family is spending more time together now that we aren’t able to see each other in person. Go figure. That says something for intentionality. We have 2 family game nights per month: one for my extended family who are mostly in the US and the other for my parents, my brother and his extended family. It takes a little bit of coordination but has been well worth the effort to see each other. Here is a little rundown of how we set this up and one game idea.
I have a paid Zoom account and host the game nights. I have them set up as recurring meetings so that we use the same link to access. For technical settings, I have it set up as a meeting with host and participant audio and video on when they join. I know everyone who joins so have the waiting room on and admit them as they enter. For more tips on settings, see my previous post on security for virtual meetings.
Each household either sits together and shares the sound from one device (do not connect to audio for secondary devices in the room) or sits far enough apart to not get feedback on each device. It is nice to chat with everyone when you can see their faces but not everyone has separate devices. It’s family so we roll with it.
We’ve tried a few different games and different styles. Here is a quick rundown of one that has been quite fun and easy to do with little setup required: Disney Colour Brain.
Most of the people in our game night have seen a few Disney movies but even if you haven’t, the game is still fun. Basically, there are clues to a character in a movie and you are asked to identify the color(s) of something about that character. Each individual or team needs to have a set of colors in order to flash their choices. Each family could buy a copy of the game – it is fairly inexpensive. Or I made up a set of cards in a pdf that can either be printed out on black and white or in color. Other ideas are to simply write the names of the colors on pieces of paper or grab a set of markers that represent the colors in the game. It’s pretty flexible.
The first person to decide on their answer calls time and that starts a 15 second count down. I use an app called Time Timer which is a visual timer and just hold it up in front of the camera. When time is up, everyone has to flash their answers to the camera.
I’ve scanned the scorecard and use a pdf markup program to keep score while sharing the screen but you could also do it manually and show the score by holding it up to the camera.
There is a twist to the game with a Color Capture card. Each player can thwart another player by restricting the number of cards that they have access to for one round. The way our family plays is that the person who exercises the Color Capture card gets to pick three colors for the other player. It sounds a little complex but you’ll get it once you play =)
We’ve really been having fun hanging out together. I hope this gives you an idea of a fun way to connect with friends and family. We’ve played around (get it?) with some other games virtually – let me know if you’d like to hear more ideas.