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How to Host a Family Game Night

Let the games begin!

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Happy family playing chess together at homend3000/Shutterstock

Between school, work and extracurricular activities, it’s no wonder we find ourselves away from home more often than we’d like. Bring your family back into focus by planning a fun-filled game night. Here’s how.

Next, learn how to plan an outdoor movie night.

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The words Family Time written on a calendar planner to remind you an important appointment with a pen on isolated white background.Shamleen/Shutterstock

Set a Date and Time


Start by establishing a date and time that works for everyone in the family, such as a Friday night. Then, a few days before game night, place a written reminder on the fridge or send out a text alert.

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Hands of woman composing healthy menu for upcoming week;Dragon Images/Shutterstock

Plan Your Menu


Prep for the big night with plenty of family-friendly bites. (Not sure what to make? Skip ahead to find eight game-inspired options.) Depending on the time, you can opt to serve an entire meal, or just set out a spread of snacks.

These yummy meals are kid-approved.

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Inspired by Monopoly: Mama’s Million-Dollar FudgeTaste of Home

Inspired by Monopoly: Mama’s Million-Dollar Fudge

You’ll be even richer than the bank after one bite of this million-dollar fudge. Plus, the small squares make it easy to eat between turns.

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Inspired by Clue: Mustard Pretzel NuggetsTaste of Home

Inspired by Clue: Mustard Pretzel Nuggets

It was Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the kitchen! Let your imagination run wild with these aptly-named mustard pretzel bites. It’s no mystery that they’re delicious.

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Inspired by Apples to Apples: Chunky Apple Snack CakeTaste of Home

Inspired by Apples to Apples: Chunky Apple Snack Cake

Serve up slices of this snack cake during a game of Apples to Apples. Just like the game’s kooky card combinations, this treat is guaranteed to garner smiles.

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Inspired by Scrabble: Meatball Alphabet SoupTaste of Home

Inspired by Scrabble: Meatball Alphabet Soup

Pay homage to the classic word game with alphabet soup. For easy eating as you play, serve the soup in mugs.

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Inspired by Candy Land: Candy Bar BrowniesTaste of Home

Inspired by Candy Land: Candy Bar Brownies

Even if you don’t make it to King Kandy’s Castle, you’ll still be a winner, thanks to these candy bar brownies. They’re so delicious, every player will be vying for the last bite.

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Inspired by Hungry Hungry Hippos: Key Lime Pie CookiesTaste of Home

Inspired by Hungry Hungry Hippos: Key Lime Pie Cookies

It’ll be the players—not the hippos—chomping at these key lime cookies. The rolled bites are inspired by the game’s marbles.

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Inspired by Pictionary: Gingerbread CardsTaste of Home

Inspired by Pictionary: Gingerbread Cards

For a fun twist on Pictionary, trade in your paper for one of these homemade cookie cards. Edible food writing pens make it easy to draw on their surface!

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Inspired by Operation: Savory Party BreadTaste of Home

Inspired by Operation: Savory Party Bread

Even if you can’t extract the Bread Basket token during a game of Operation, you can still enjoy slices of this savory party bread. The whole family will enjoy pulling slices from the warm, gooey loaf.

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several red dice for board games on a green backgroundNcikName/Shutterstock

Set Up the Games


About an hour before game time, set up the boards. Depending on the size of your family, opt for one long game (like Monopoly) or a bunch of shorter games. You can place tokens on the board, deal cards and set up scorecards in advance.

Editor’s Tip: Short on games? Buy some from a local thrift store (just check to make sure all of the pieces are in place) or check the library—some let you borrow board games in addition to books.

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Salty snacks. Pretzels, chips, crackers in wooden bowls.beats1/Shutterstock

Set Up the Snacks


Once the games are ready to go, set out your snacks. Paper plates, small bowls and stacks of napkins make it easy for family members to grab what they want in between turns. Plus, at the end of the night, clean-up’s a breeze.

These are the best snack recipes you’re not making (yet!).

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Close up of a couple in love sitting on the floor next to a table, playing ludo board game and enjoying their free time together.Impact Photography/Shutterstock

Get Ready to Play!


Once you’re all set up, call in the crew and get ready to play. For optimal family bonding, make game night a tech-free zone. Have everyone place their cellphones in a separate room and turn off the TV. Then, let the game’s begin!

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