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10 Fun Free Family Games

10 Fun Free Family Games

Family playtime is perhaps one of the most important things that a family can do.  How great it is that playtime is also fun?!  Here are 10 ideas for family games and activities that are free or have minimal to no materials.

Kick the Can

This childhood classic is great for all ages.  The person who is “it” tries to tag people before they can kick the can.  If  you’re tagged then you go to jail.  If you reach the can without being caught then people in jail are set free.  Not only do most of us have fond memories of it as children, but I have fond memories of it as an adult.  Playing kick the can at night with other students when I was at college was one of the funnest nights of the year.

Fruit Basket

Pick a category, such as fruit for example, and you go in a circle naming every type of item in the category that you can think of.  For example, if the category is fruit then you name bananas, strawberries, etc.  You cannot repeat any of the items, and players are eliminated when they do.  This was a favorite of my family’s while we sat in the hot tub.  It’s also a great road trip game to pass the time.

Red Light, Green Light

This is a favorite game of many little children.  Players try to be the first to reach the leader.  When the leader is turned around the light is “green” and players move forward.  When the leader turns toward the players the light is “red” and any player he or she catches moving has to go back to the start.

Name Game

This is a more elaborate take on charades and is a great game for a party.  Each player secretly writes down names (perhaps 5) of famous people- real or imaginary.  During the first round, players describe the person (like Michael Jordan, for example) and try to get their team to guess as many names as they can in 1 minute.  After all the names are guessed, the names go back in the hat.  The second round, players draw the same names out but can only pick one word to describe it.  For example “basketball” might be used to describe Michael Jordan.  Play continues until all names are guessed again.  The last round is charades-no talking allowed.  The team with the most points win.

Murder in the Dark

I think the more fun version of murder in the dark actually happens in the dark.  Players draw slips of paper with either “murder” or “civilian” written on it.  Players try to keep away from the person who drew the paper titled “murder.”  If you are tapped 3 times then you are murdered and scream.  The players then try to determine who the murder is.  I remember mistakenly being accused as the murder when I was little because I believed if I jumped up and down the whole time I would jump out of the way of the murder.  People didn’t think my story was legitimate…


Similar to murder in the dark, players choose slips of paper that say “mafia,” “angel” or “player.”  A narrater is also chosen.  Heads go down and the mafia look up when the narrater prompts them.  Then, they murder someone.  Then all the players look up and try to piece clues together to determine who the mafia is.  Last team standing wins.  An angel can bring people back to life if wanted.

Steal the Flag

Wasn’t everyone’s favorite day in gym class when steal the flag was played?  I know mine was.  Teams tag players who run into their territory and send them to jail.  If you escape the enemy’s territory with their flag then your team wins.


While I have never played fugitive, it has been on my bucket list for ages.  The goal of the game is to make it from point A to point B without being caught.  People who are “it” parol around the area between the points and try to catch other players.  My cousin knew someone who jumped into someone’s backyard while playing in order to hide.  The family was outside BBQing and offered a hotdog to the fugitive!

Blind Man’s Bluff

This is a game of tag, but the person who is “it” is blind folded.  My grandpa used to shimmy up the hallway and hang out on the ceiling to avoid being caught.

Water Kickball

Each of the bases is a kiddy pool or large containers that you can easily run into.  Have sprinklers going or slip ‘n’ slides between the bases and it’s a great way to cool off and have fun.


Tanya Lindquist

Tanya is a licensed clinical social worker who worked for several years at various therapy clinics before becoming a stay at home mom. She loves helping families find tools and methods they can apply to helping children overcome any challenge.

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