Christmas and New Year's Eve are all about the party games. They are a great way of bringing all ages together for some fun and silliness (and perhaps the odd argument or two!!)
These are Sam's top 5 party games...
1. The Name Game (aka The Hat Game)
This one is easy to play around the kitchen table. Split into teams of 2-4 players. Everybody writes down 4 or 5 famous names/characters onto individual pieces of paper, folds them up and puts them in a hat.
In round 1, Team A starts. With 1 minute on the timer, the selected team member must pull names out of the hat, and describe who is on the piece of paper until the team correctly guesses before moving on to the next clue. Only one clue can be passed on. When the minute is up, count how many were correctly guessed, and any un-guessed clues go back in the hat. Then it passes on to Team B. Repeat until all clues have been guessed.
In round 2, all names go back in the hat and it's the same again but this time only 3 words can be used to describe who is on the piece of paper.
In round 3, same again but only 1 word per clue.
After each round, each team counts up how many correct guesses they have to score. The winning team is the team with the highest score after all 3 rounds have been played.
Full game instructions can be found at activityvillage.co.uk
2. The Chocolate Game
This classic game is so often forgotten as we get older, but still oodles of fun for all ages! All you need is a bar of chocolate, a knife, fork and a hat, gloves and scarf. Everybody sits in a circle around the chocolate etc. A dice is passed around to each player. When someone rolls a 6 they get into the middle and rush to put on the hat, scarf and gloves before using the knife and fork to cut (and eat) a square of chocolate at a time. Meanwhile, the other players continue to pass the dice around until someone else throws a 6. Then the current chocolate muncher must stop, remove hat, scarf and gloves while the new chocolate muncher takes over. Great fun!
3. Squeak Piggy Squeak
All you need is a blindfold and a group of giggly British eccentrics! Players sit cross legged in a circle. One player is blindfolded in the middle and must be spun several times. Then they find their way onto the lap of another player before saying "squeak Piggy squeak". The Piggy must then oink or squeak their best pig noise leaving the blindfolded player to guess their identity!
This is a good, fun card game that will be really enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I'm not sure our house rules are the official ones, but they make it a bit faster and easier for younger players. You'll need a pack of cards and some teaspoons (one less than the number of players.) Organise the cards so that you have a set of 4 of a kind per player, discard the rest. Then shuffle your pack.
Place the spoons in the middle of the table (making sure each player can reach them easily) and deal 4 cards to each player. The aim is for each player to gather 4 of a kind, eg 4x Kings. Each player, in tandem, discards a card passing it to the player on their left. Players check the discarded card, and either keep it and discard another, or pass it on. This continues until someone has collected 4 of a kind, at which point they grab a teaspoon - all other players must immediately grab a spoon and whoever is too slow loses a life.
5. Wink Murder
This is a good one for a bit later in the evening when you can't be bothered to move much! It's particularly fun to play with children that haven't yet fully mastered the art of winking. We use playing cards to determine who will be murderer and who will be detective. The detective must reveal themselves, but the murderer must keep their identity a secret. The detective must now try to identify the murderer before all the players are"killed". Meanwhile the murderer must try and kill all the players without being caught, by winking at them. Full instructions are available at The Spruce Crafts