Family History Game Night

Audience: Families (children, youth, and adults)

Objective: Families will create games that are designed to help them learn about their ancestors and turn their hearts toward them.

Invite families to create different types of games that will help them learn about their ancestors. Families can choose one or more of the following games:

Matching game: The family creates pairs of matching cards using photos of family members, former homes, or other items of significance to the family and paste them on card stock squares. On the opposite side of the cards, the items are numbered. Players pick two numbers and try to locate matches. The significance of the items selected is discussed as the game is played.

Crossword puzzles: The family generates a list of words that have significance to them. The words might be locations (where they have lived or where significant events occurred), names of family members, words that represent inside family jokes, and so forth. Once the list is created, they need to write a single sentence that could be used as a clue. For example, the word might be London, and the clue might be “Name the city where Grandma and Grandpa Jones were married.” Using online tools, the words and clues can be entered into a program that will create a customized crossword puzzle. (This is also a great idea for use at a future family home evening or family reunion)

Game of life: A game board is created and personalized with family events, such as the birth, marriage, or graduation of family members. Instead of a “go to jail” section, perhaps family members are sent to experience a trial (such as unemployment or an illness) that has occurred. Family members work their way through the game toward their ultimate destination as an eternal family in the celestial kingdom.

Getting to Know You Card Game: A set of cards is created. One side of each card has a photo of an ancestor, and the other side of the card tells a story about that person’s life. Attributes worth emulating can be identified before the game begins. Some traits could be:

  • Sense of humor
  • Hard working
  • Good citizen
  • Strong testimony
  • Charitable
  • Obedient

Five cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards are scattered photo-side up between the players. Players hold their cards so they are able to see the story side with the photo side facing the other players. Players take turns asking another player, “Do you have a person who has [fill in the attribute]?” If the opponent has a card with the desired attribute, he or she must give it to the player who requested it. Only one card should be used at a time for each round. If an ancestor has more than one attribute, the player must choose which attribute to use in the round. The player then earns a point for finding the ancestor with the correct attribute. Ancestor cards that earn points for a player are laid down and are out of the game. Additional rounds can be played requesting the same attribute, but each card can only be used once. If the opponent does not have a card with the correct attribute, he or she responds, “Go Fish.” The player must then pick a single card from the pile of scattered cards. If players run out cards, they may pick five more from the scattered pile. The game is over when all the cards are played and the player with the most points wins.

Bingo: Create a card with 9, 16, or 25 squares on it. Questions are listed in each square. Family members who can answer the question place a coin on the square. Questions could include:

  • What is the name of your maternal grandmother?
  • Where was your paternal grandfather born?
  • What was the profession of one of your great-grandparents?



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