Forget elaborate props and pricey board games—these entertaining party games are simple, easy to play, and fun for everyone. Like road trip games, clever party games can be tailored to the crowd playing them, and these ideas are practically guaranteed to make sure everyone has a great time.
Sometimes, great conversations and catching up with distant friends are all a successful gathering needs. But if you would rather fill your holiday party with laughter and activity, or if you need to keep little ones entertained, these games have you covered. Pick a few party games that work for you and keep them in mind for any gathering. Packs of gum, dollar bills, lottery tickets, and the like all work. Pick one item to place at the center of your saran wrap ball. Wrap it thoroughly in plastic wrap, then add more items as your wrapped ball gets bigger, trapping them in layers of wrap.
To make the game more challenging, tear the wrap into smaller sheets as you go. Gather in a circle or around a table. Give one person the wrapped bundle; give the person next to them a pair of dice. The person with the saran wrap bundle must unravel as much of the ball as possible before the person with the dice rolls doubles.
Any prizes that fall out during your turn are yours to keep. Once the person with the dice rolls doubles, they pass the dice down and receive the bundle. Repeat until the ball is completely unwound. For alternative versions, have the person with the plastic wrap ball wear oven mitts, or set a timer for each turn instead of using dice.
Write a name of a well-known public figure or character on each note, then pass them around until everyone has one. Without looking, each person should stick their note on their forehead or back. Have everyone mingle, or sit in a circle and take turns asking yes or no questions to discover your assigned identity. Play until everyone has correctly guessed their identity, or pass out prizes to the people who guess correctly first. With the people remaining, select a common trait: hair, articles of clothing, or body parts all work.
Itchy, thick, and stretchy all work for shirts, for example. Repeat until the person asking guesses the trait. This party game works best for close groups of friends or family members. Gather in a circle. Count down from three performing a drumroll with your hands is encouraged and then have everyone point at who they think would be most likely to do said act.
Whoever has the most fingers pointed at them is out. You can skip the eliminations to make the game last longer. Sit in a circle. Traveled to Africa, eaten escargot, and the like all work. This party game can get as racy as you make it, so play carefully and set ground rules ahead of time if grandparents or other conservative guests are involved. Set chairs or seat cushions in a circle, facing outward, with enough seating for everyone playing, minus one. Designate one person the music player and have everyone else stand in a circle around the circle of seats.
When the music starts, walk around the seats; when the music ends, everyone must find a seat. Remove one more chair and begin again, until two people are fighting for one seat. To make musical chairs more interesting, add your own rules.
Allow people to sit on top of each other as long as their feet are off the floor , for example, or make your own alterations. This game requires an app: The Heads Up! After the 99 cent purchase and download, though, you have hours of entertainment on-hand at all times.
In-app purchases are also available. One person will hold a phone to their forehead, facing out. Everyone else will act out or describe whatever appears on the screen while the person with the phone guesses. They have one minute to make as many correct guesses as possible, and then the phone goes on to the next person. Categories include animals, movies, public figures and celebrities, and more. For a more cognitive game, play this brain-teaser. Pick a secret rule: Typically, everyone must bring something that begins with the same letter as their name, but you can also get more creative with it.
An oldie but a goodie: Gather in a circle. Pick one phrase to whisper in the ear of the person next to you—no repeats. That person will whisper what they heard to the person next to them, and so on until the phrase gets back to you. Prepare to laugh at how distorted it gets. To make it more difficult, play music in the background. Two should be true; one should be a lie. Everyone else must guess which is the lie, and then the next person goes.
Purchase a pack of stickers. This one is a great Christmas party game or Halloween party game, so try to find stickers that suit the occasion. Give everyone one sheet of five to ten stickers or less, depending on the size of the party. This game works best in a party where everyone is mingling, so you can incorporate it easily into your happy hour or neighborhood function.
Each person must discretely place all their stickers on other party guests; the first to use all their stickers wins. If they get caught stickering someone, they must accept a sticker. At the end of the evening, you can laugh about how sneaky some people are—and wonder at how you ended up with stickers all over your back without even noticing. Place chairs in a circle, using one less than needed.
Have everyone take a seat; the one person without a seat must stand in the center of the circle. Everyone that descriptor applies to must get up and find a new seat, without retaking their initial seat or moving to the seats next to them. The person in the middle will also be racing for a chair; whoever is left standing at the end stands in the circle next, and the game continues.
Find a deck of cards and a set of spoons. Pieces of candy also work. Have enough for each player, minus one. Deal four cards to each person playing. One person, the dealer, will keep the remaining deck next to them and draw one card at a time. They will look at the card and trade it out for a card in their hand or pass it along to the person next to them, who will do the same thing. The goal is to collect four of the same card; when that happens, reach for a spoon.
When someone spots a spoon missing, they, too, can grab one; whoever is left without a prize at the end is out. Remove one more spoon and play again. Pick a phone to pass around the group. Set it to self-timer mode—10 seconds is best—and use regular photo mode, not selfie mode. Pass the phone around, with each person holding the phone up for a moment, posing for the camera.
Pass until the photo is taken, then repeat. At the end, take a look at the probably undignified photos. Sit in a circle and designate yourself the host. Say you are hosting a party, but only people bringing the right items will be invited. Continue until everyone figures it out. Your perfect world has only double letter items: Schools but not universities, for example, or apples but not bananas. Continue around the circle until everyone figures it out. This tried-and-true party game can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.
Have everyone write down concepts, movies, people, shows, and more to act out and divide into teams. One person will act out something drawn from the assortment while their team members guess what it is. When time is up, switch teams and repeat. Add time limits, scoring systems, silence rules, and more as desired. Pick one person to go first. That person will think of an item, animal, movie, public figure, etc.
Everyone else will ask yes or no questions about what or who they are; they have 20 chances to guess, or the other person wins. Whoever guesses correctly can win a prize, or be the next to answer questions. Have everyone sit or stand in a circle. Go around the circle and have everyone present their motion: Memorize these. Have everyone begin clapping or stomping a steady rhythm and pick one person to start: They will do their motion, and then the motion of someone else in the circle.
This next person will do their own motion, then the motion of a third person, who will do the same. There are no passbacks and no hesitations. Whoever messes up first is out; continue indefinitely. Find a pad of paper and writing tools.