Ready to make some memories on your next vacation or road trip? Put DOWN the technology and power up your family time. Start by packing some parenting superpowers on your next trip with these fun conversation starters. They are just the ticket for building strong family connections, and the kind of moments and memories you’ll always remember.
These are meant to be terrific, non-competitive family activities. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Each of the following games is great for mixed-age groups, which leaves even younger siblings feeling empowered to participate.
Top Ten Conversation Games – Ready, GO!
1) The A, B, C’s of Gratitude: Have someone start with the letter A and come up with something they are thankful for. For example, maybe you’re thankful for animals, your son is grateful for bananas and so on until everyone is feeling gratitude from A to Z. This is a great way to remind kids that even on tough days there is always something to be grateful for - even the little things.
2) Rewrite the Ending: This conversation starter is inspired by the fun and fantastical books and movies loved by your kids. Talk about the book or movie, and then let your kids’ imaginations run amok with the plot and share a different ending – it can even be one with them as a character! For example, if your kids were characters in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, what food would fall from the sky and what would they do to stop it?
3) My Best Mom or Dad Impression: Kids love to pretend to be you (whether you know it or not!) This is a give-it-your-best-shot time for kids to put on their parent face and act the part. Hilarity will ensue when they are prompted to give you the best and the worst imitations you ever saw. Try “Mom in the morning” or “Dad watching football” or “Parents without coffee”. This is a no-judgment zone, all-in-good-fun activity.
4) If We Won the Lottery: Objective: your family has just been awarded $1,000 out of the blue. What do you do with it? Start the conversation letting your kids know that all answers are right answers – that the sky’s the limit for their ideas. Sometimes simply asking what you might order for dinner with that kind of money creates a great gateway to exploring the possibilities. Record their answers if you are keeping a vacation journal – then play the game again next year to see how answers change.
5) If I Were the Parent I’d... This game can be quite insightful. Hand your kids your hat or keys or something that symbolizes you to them, and say, “If you were me, what’s one silly thing and one serious thing I could do differently to be the best mom or dad possible? You’ll quickly learn what’s most important to your kids.
6) Would You Rather? I’ve always loved this idea inspired by Anna from The Measured Mom. The topics are fun and it fosters critical thinking. The only rule is they have to choose one option or the other. Here are some starter questions:
- Would you rather be in a pool of marshmallows or a pool of M&Ms?
- Would you rather communicate only with an Etch-a-Sketch or a Lite-Brite?
- Would you rather live in a place that was always very hot or always very cold?
- Would you rather wear your shoes on the wrong feet or your pants on backwards?
Encourage the kids to come with their own questions.
7) On the Screen: Ask your kids, "If you could live in a TV show or cartoon, which one would you choose and why?" This fun game allows kids to use their imaginations and probe for fun scenarios.
8) Build a Friend: Set the stage – “If you could describe the perfect friend, what would he or she be like?” As they describe the perfect friends, it may remind them of how they should treat their treasured friends.
9) “We Are” Word Challenge: Challenge your family to find as many words as possible to describe your family and fill in the blank, “We are _________.” From the most heart-felt response to the funniest memory, the “We are” Word Challenge reinforces your family’s core values and fosters connection and a powerful team spirit.
10) My Superhero Family: Fire up their superhero fantasies with a creative question and answer time. Let the sky (and beyond) be the limit for your family fun. Here are a few to get you started:
- If you were a brand new superhero, what powers would you have?
- What would your superhero costume look like?
- What superhero does mom remind you of?
- What superhero does dad remind you of?
- What would your teacher be if he/she were a superhero?
- Where would we live if we were a superhero family?
- What would superhero school be like?
- What kind of bad guys would we rid the world of?
Memories are yours for the making. It can be tough to put down the phones, the videos, the games, the app of the day and pull out the earbuds – but it’s so worth it. Let these conversation starters help you make those connections. Watch them become the windows to what your kids are thinking and feeling.
These carefree times with your kids will go faster than a racecar on a speedway. Make them special. Make them the kind of time that they’ll use to model time with their own children in years to come. Start the conversations. When you do, you’ll be taking more than a vacation. You’ll be making amazing family memories. Have fun!