Dinner Together Every Night!

Dinner time at my house growing up was always a boisterous event. We played games, debated, shared about our day, teased each other, laughed and reconnected.

When I got married and had children I knew that I wanted to make our suppertime just as memorable. We bought a round table so the six of us could all see each other. No one feels left out this way or is stuck on the end. Typically we begin eating and then linger for a while after dinner playing a game or just chatting.

The focus has never been on the food. I hate cooking which means dinner doesn’t always look or taste very good.

Most of the times conversation is lively and just flows, but sometimes to change it up a little we will play a game. Also, some of our kids are conversation dominators so playing a game allows everyone to have a chance!

Our Favorite Dinner Games

Roses and Thorns: In this game, everyone takes turns going around the table sharing a “rose” or something good that happened to them that day. Then we do the same with the thorns where everyone relates a not so great aspect of their day. This never fails to start fun conversations that wouldn’t have begun otherwise.

The Country Game: We start with the letter A and each person at the table names a country beginning with that letter. We go around the table in order; it’s not a free for all. On the next round, the person sitting next to whoever went first on the last round names a country beginning with the letter B. Everyone else follows suit. This continues on until we have gone through the entire alphabet. Some letters are kind of difficult…O, Q, X (none), Y and Z.

The Harry Potter Game: My daughters are huge Potterheads so competitions determining the biggest fangirl are pretty serious. I usually moderate this one since I haven’t read the books (shame!). Sometimes they take turns naming characters which can go on for a l-o-n-g time. Other times I look up quizzes on my phone and ask them trivia questions and we have a Jeopardy-like competition.

Hats: This is a guessing game where you think of something really random like “calendar” or “Neymar” and write it on a small piece of a paper. Next you tape it to the forehead of the person sitting next to you; they should not know what it says. Everyone takes turns going around the table asking yes and no questions as they try to figure out what is written on their piece of paper. The girls are especially entertained by writing things like “twerking” or “stripper” on their dad’s paper. To make this game easier, create categories for each round such as “Disney Movies” or “Sports Figures.”

The Compliment Game: This is a game where you go around the table and say something specific that you like or admire about each person at the table. When someone needs a boost after a bad day, this is a great way to lift their spirits. I don’t have any sons so I have no idea whether or not boys would buy into this. We like this game a lot because receiving (and giving) compliments is fun!

The Question Game: We can play this one forever without repeating questions. The discussions that spring from our answers often are turbulent, revealing, and entertaining.

  • Hunger Games: Would you volunteer for a younger sibling?
  • Which reality TV show could you actually win?
  • Who would you take with you on the Amazing Race?
  • It’s the Zompocalypse! Do you share your supplies or hoard?
  • You won Powerball! How would you spend your winnings?
  • If you could solve one major world problem, which would it be?

What does your family do to make dinnertime special?

26 thoughts on “Dinner Together Every Night!

  1. Look at your new layout!! It is so friendly and fun! I especially like the quotes you have on the side there, and the new banner, very eye-catching. This is a great posts with some great ideas. My family never eats dinner together anymore, so for my birthday I made them all sit down and eat cake with me and we played like four rounds of the compliment game! Of, course I didn’t know you had a name for it then, but it such a nice and uplifting thing to do. Take care!

    • Thank you! I had fun tweaking my layout…it took a while. 🙂 Happy Birthday! I don’t think there’s an official name for any of those games…that’s just what we call them. The Compliment Game is really nice and fun. Everyone should play it!

      • I agree, compliments are deserved by everyone, and it feels so good to give them too. 🙂 And thank you for the birthday wishes, I really appreciate that!

  2. Have you heard of Concentration? It’s a rhythm games.

    For concentration, assign everyone playing a number starting with 1. Tell them that is their ID number. Teach them the rhythm of 4 beats: we used clap hands, pat your lap, right finger snap, left finger snap. Person #1 starts off the rhythm and everyone follows suit. Once everyone is in synch with the rhythm, the first person says their ID number on the first snap, and someone else’s number (any other person: it doesn’t have to be person #2) on the second snap. Then on the next set of snaps whoever’s ID number was called out by Person #1 has to say their number and then the number of someone else. You keep it up until someone messes up the rhythm or their number, picking up the speed of the rhythm as you go.

    I know a variation of this if you’re interested in mixing it up.

    • Wow, you are really good at writing directions! That was hard to explain, but you did beautifully. We play a variation of this game called “Elephant” where everyone is given an animal name and must make a noise/complete a motion when their animal is called. Thanks for reminding me!!

  3. Wow! I always learn something from you. 🙂 These are great ideas. I think this is one of the perks of having four daughters. If they were boys, I wonder if they will participate in games like these. Hehe.

    • Yes, I’m not sure how boys would do with these games. I grew up with three brothers and some of these were ok, but definitely not the compliment game!

  4. What great fun you guys must have and its a wonderful way to bring everyone together at night to celebrate the day each person has had and to be a family having fun and connecting. I want to live at your house 🙂

    PS Also love your new layout and header which is very eye catching and great colour choice!

  5. Being the mom of boys, I can tell you that asking for compliments could be very interesting. I never know what my sons are going to say. We play games as a family and it’s hard to get through the simplest game because the oldest and youngest play off of each other. Having the family sit around the table for dinner is something that is important to me but very hard to pull off these days. I miss those younger days. 🙂

    • I grew up with three brothers and we never played the compliment game, but we did play some of the others. My brothers were pretty competitive with one another so it was difficult to get through a game. Let me know if you ever try the compliment game! 🙂

  6. These are great ideas! My kids are 2 and 4, so just keeping the 2 year old at the table is a challenge. These will be great when they get a little older! Right now we do a lot of letter games (similar to your country game), where we say ‘who can name an animal that starts with the letter a?’. My son is ABC-obsessed, so this usually keeps his interest for a minute…now if only he’d eat his veggies. Another game I just started with my 4yo daughter (who always lags at the table longer than anyone else) is to have one of us close our eyes and then the other one moves something on their plate or at their place setting (cup, fork, etc.) and then they open their eyes and try to guess what is different. Thanks for sharing!

    • Those are great ideas too. We have always loved playing games around the dinner table and they have just evolved depending on the age of our children. If you start now when your children are young, they won’t think it’s weird or awkward when they are teens! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

    • Our newest is the Hats game which I guess is really like Headbandz. That’s cool that you all still play Roses and Thorns. Alaina hated that game, but we persevered!!!

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  8. Oooh I like the question game, that is really interesting. We used to have board game nights sometimes after dinner which were really fun. One thing I have insisted on with my Husband is that when we have kids we will eat dinner together every night and there will be no technology at the dinner table.
    Currently we have moved in with my parents while our new house is being built and we eat at the table together almost every night… I love it! The places we were living in before were so small we didn’t have a “dining” room so we often ate on the couch watching TV and I hated it! Family time at dinner was always special for me 🙂

    • Sounds like you have a good plan set up! The question game is fun because you don’t need any supplies. Also, you can google tons of fun questions to ask if you ever run out of ideas. Thanks for your awesome comment! 🙂

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