Even innovative educators recognize the value of unplugging a bit during the holidays for family games. Here are some recommendations that may not be on your list. This list is gathered from a group of innovative educators who gathered over the holidays and shared some of their favorite games to play with family and friends.
Games for the Holidays
The Metagame is the ultimate cure for awkward silences. It sparks conversation about everything from high art to trashy entertainment and everything in between. It's not about knowing facts — it's about having opinions and sharing them with your friends.
Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures. First published in 2007, the game's unique combination of cooperative gameplay, engrossing premise, and compelling design have proved a hit with everyone from hardcore gamers to casual players.
Zombie Dice is fun for any zombie fan (or the whole zombie family). The 13 custom dice are your victims. Push your luck to eat their brains, but stop before the shotgun blasts end your turn! Two or more can play. Each game takes 10 to 20 minutes, and can be taught in a single round.
Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition
Lean into those iconic (yet unspoken) Monopoly moments in which rules are bent, money is borrowed, and funny business is welcomed. The outlandish suggestions on the board, cards, and rules encourage players to express their inner cheater to own it all while they buy, sell, dream, and scheme. Fake a die roll, steal some bills from the bank, and even skip out on rent. Complete a cheat to get a reward, but fail a cheat and pay the consequences! No houses in this edition – only hotels – and pretend handcuff unit may leave players ""chained"" to the board.
Two teams try to solve logical riddles and moves on a board (which actually is a paper from a block with a "racing track"). Each time team comes up with the right solution they may move one step and demand another question or throw a die (0-3) and let the turn continue to the other team.
What do you think? Have you played any of these games? Are any new to you? What are some non-traditional games you might add to the list?
Lisa Nielsen (opens in new tab) (@InnovativeEdu (opens in new tab)) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator (opens in new tab). Nielsen is the author of several books (opens in new tab)and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times (opens in new tab),The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), Tech&Learning, and T.H.E. Journal (opens in new tab).