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Oct 27, 2016 12:39PM

Game on: Fun and easy games for your next gathering

By Whitney Longeville and Laura Anderson Shaw
The only thing better than a Thanksgiving feast is spending time with your friends and family while you eat it.

However, post-meal pastimes might send everyone in different directions: the football fans to the TV, the kids to a toy room and the remainder to the kitchen or dining room to chat over coffee and dessert.

If you're hoping to spend a little more time with everyone gathered together, here are a few games to try. Some may even be played using materials you have on hand.

Who, What, Where, When, Why
Number of players:
5 or more
Necessary items: Paper, pens or pencils.
How to play: A favorite at slumber parties, "Who, What, When, Where, Why" requires only slips of paper, writing utensils and active imaginations. Friends and family should gather in a circle and write "who, what, when, where, why" on their paper. Each guest fills out one piece of the information, folds the paper down to hide their answer, and passes to the left.
At the end of the game, an interesting story is sure to unfold.

Number of players: 3-13
Necessary items: Deck of cards; spoons — one fewer than there are players
How to play: Spoons is a game that requires a deck of cards and, you guessed it, spoons! Be sure to clean them up after all of the feasting!
Place the spoons in the center of your table, and deal four cards to each player. The objective of the game is to make four of a kind.
The dealer takes five cards, but passes one to the left, face down. Then, each player should begin to pass a card to the left face down, until the last player discards one into a trash pile. Once one person gets four of a kind, he grabs a spoon. Once one person grabs a spoon, everyone can reach for one. The player left without a spoon has to take a letter, and the first person to spell out S-P-O-O-N is out. The last player to remain wins the game.

Exploding Kittens
Number of players: 2-5 players, ages 7 and older
Where to find it: explodingkittens.com
How to play: Called a "highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette," I've enjoyed playing this game with my sister and 7-year-old and 10-year-old nephews. With bright, colorful illustrations on each card and lots of laughs, Exploding Kittens will bring the fun to your holiday gathering.
This is the one game on the list that will require an advanced purchase, so get it before the holidays are upon us!

— By Whitney Longeville

Mad Libs
Number of players: 2+
Necessary items: Paper and pen or pencil, or Mad Libs template from Pinterest
How to play: Studies have shown that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes can burn between 10 and 40 calories. Get a head start on burning off that extra slice of pie with some Mad Libs!
Before your guests arrive, write a narrative, but leave some blanks! Note what type of word the sentence requires, be it an adjective, noun, animal, food, etc., whatever you'd like.
When it's time to play, one person may ask the group to help fill in the blanks. Once the puzzle is complete, he or she may read the passage aloud.
If you need inspiration, or you're short on time to make your own, check out Pinterest. I tracked down a Thanksgiving Mad Libs for kids there, posted by sisterssuitcaseblog.com.

Number of players: 4+
Necessary items: Paper, scissors, pens and pencils, bowl or jar
How to play: Get in the Thanksgiving spirit by having everyone express what they are thankful for this year. Cut a small piece or strip of paper for each guest, and have everyone jot down their thoughts before dinner. Once they are finished, everyone should fold their paper, and drop it into a bowl or jar. Then, give the papers a good mix.
After dinner, pass the bowl or jar around. One at a time, have everyone select a piece of paper and read the note aloud. Then, the group has to guess which person wrote it.

Whitney Longeville is a page designer for The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus. Laura Anderson Shaw is the editor of Radish.

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