There’s nothing like family game night to bring the whole gang together, undoubtedly for a laugh and a little healthy competition, too. Play is important to a child’s brain development, and when families come together in the spirit of fun it can be a real bonding experience that helps children feel more secure, like they’re part of a unit.
While any form of play is great, trivia is an especially good choice because it gives everyone in the family a chance to show off how much they know—and in some cases, it even gives you a chance to get to know each other better. It’s also easy to customize a family trivia game based on your family’s ages, interests, and abilities. Plus, it’s National Trivia Day—so what are you waiting for?! You can make your own family trivia game in three easy steps:
- Set the rules.
- Select the categories.
- Come up with the questions.
In a nutshell, your family trivia game will have several main categories (for example, a general trivia game might have categories like Food, Sports, and History—but these categories will be all about your family), and each category will have questions that match the topic.
You’ll put each question on a card or piece of paper, making sure the category is marked on the back of the card (so you can see the category without seeing the question). But where you take it from there is totally up to you and your family!
Let’s start with the rules.
The cool thing about making your own family trivia game is that you not only come up with the questions yourself, you decide the rules, too. This makes it easy to accommodate little ones who may start to feel lost if things seem too complicated. Here are some things to consider:
- Trivia is a game that doesn’t really need a board, so decide if you prefer everyone writes down their answers or blurts them out.
- Will people take turns picking a card with a question on it and reading it to the group, or will one person act as “host” of your game (a good option to include a child who’s old enough to read, but doesn’t want to play).
- How will you decide who goes first and who wins?
- How will you choose a category for each turn? For example, you can assign a number to each category and roll dice to choose, shuffle the cards and pick one randomly, or let the person answering pick the category themselves.
- Does everyone get a point for correct answers, or only the first person to respond correctly?
- Consider setting appropriate time limits for answers and decide if hints are allowed (and how many).
When you’re making the rules they can bend any way you want, so have fun with it!
Next, list your categories.
Any good trivia game is based on a diverse series of categories that players may or may not have expertise in, giving everyone a chance to tap their knowledge base or special skills. This keeps the game from getting too focused on one or two topics. Mixing it up makes it easier to include younger children, too. Start with three to five categories but then work your way up so you can play all the time without the game feeling stale.
You can choose any subjects you like, but to bring everyone together try keeping the focus on things relatable to yourselves and your family life. Categories and questions that are unique to your crew really personalize your game night—and can be great as a fun activity with extended family over Zoom. Some category ideas include Weird Habits Of The Family Pet, Favorite Food Combos, Family Vacations, Family Movies, Road Trip Songs, Fam Facts & Stats—anything goes!
Come up with the questions.
Your family trivia game will need a good mix of questions that range from easy to tough, so any family member can reasonably answer. That way everyone has a chance to participate. Some questions could even have multiple correct answers, which helps make the game a bit easier for younger players. And the more questions you can come up with, the better. This way, you can play at least two or three games in a row without repeating too many categories or questions.
If you’ve decided to go with general trivia, the answers will come from Google searches, books, or your own memory. For a family-based game, you might make a big list of questions and prompts (What’s your most embarrassing moment? What’s your favorite school subject? Which family vacation was most fun?) to have each person answer—then use those answers to create your questions. Don’t forget to email the list to distant family members too, if you’re including extended family in your game.
More ideas to get you started:
In addition to questions based on specific family members’ responses to a questionnaire as described above, family-wide knowledge is a great source of material to tap into, too! Here’s a peek at a few sample categories and questions to get your gears turning:
Category: FAVORITE FOODS
- Who is most likely to snack before supper?
- Name a pizza topping that nobody in the family likes.
- Which family member likes to put ketchup on everything?
- List three restaurants that are family favorites.
Category: FAMILY HABITS
- Who falls asleep fastest during family movie night?
- Who is most likely to finish their chores first?
- Name at least two family members who are early risers (or night owls).
Category: FAMILY FACTS & STATS
- Name at least two family members born in the same season/month/day/year.
- What is one of the baby names Mom and Dad considered but never used?
- In which city or state was Grandma born?
- What’s Mom’s favorite flower?
- Which trip was voted “favorite family vacation” by the most people?
Category: INSIDE JOKES
- Why won’t Dad ever forget the rest stop from our road trip last year?
- What word did [child] always say as a toddler instead of [object, person, or place]?
- What phrase does Mom use to get everyone out the door in the morning?
If all of this sounds like fun but you’re not exactly a DIY-kind of parent, there are several free printables available to get you started. There are also a few homemade family trivia sets on Etsy for less than $13. If you’re ready to make your own, include your kiddos in the process of setting it up. It’s part of the fun and it’ll increase the odds that the game is truly an all-ages, family-friendly affair.
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