If you missed our last post, “Got a few extra faces around the meal table?,” scroll down to read that first!
We are talking about ways to make the most of time at the table as a family. Statistics tell us how important that time is, yet, as a parent, it is such a challenge to make mealtime meaningful! From the example of Christ, we can see that gathering together for fellowship and to break bread is a high priority! Sharing a meal with His disciples was the last thing He did before beginning the journey toward the cross and the first thing He did when they had been reunited after His resurrection. Then, of course, there was the feeding of the 5,000…
I get the importance of that time together, but since I don’t have the ability to miraculously multiple fishes and loaves…I’m tired by the time we finally sit down to eat! It’s good to have a few “tricks” up my sleeve that keep everybody occupied, in a good mood, and keep them eating whether I’m serving up broccoli casserole or hot dogs and macaroni and cheese! Here are a few of our favorite mealtime activities:
We came up with this game a couple years ago after seeing my son’s excitement for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It’s particularly great for motivating those picky and/or slow eaters. One person begins as “judge” and watches as each person around the table has a turn taking a bite. The judge can either declare a category ahead of time (like “biggest bite”, “neatest bite”, “happiest bite”, “shortest sip”, etc.) or the judge can keep the category a secret and the competitors take their bites without knowing how they will be judged. Then the judge determines who took the best bite, announces the category (if not previously stated), and declares the winner. The winner is the next judge.
You are probably familiar with this one. One person looks silently around the room and picks an object that is in plain sight of everyone. Then the clue-giver says, “I spy with my little eye something that is…” and gives a clue such as “red” or “round” or “on the table”. Each person gets one chance to guess the object. If no correct guess is made, a second clue is given and then another round of guessing. The winner gets to be the next clue-giver.
This one came from Beginner Dinner Games, which I will reference at the end of this post. Similar to “I Spy”, one person is the clue giver and selects an object in his or her head. The difference is, this object does not have to be visible and can be ANYTHING – even something that couldn’t normally be held in our hands. The clue giver begins by saying, “I have something in my magic hands that…” and gives the first clue, such as “begins with a W” or “lives in the ocean” or “rhymes with pail”. Each player gets a chance to guess the object before a new clue is given. This one is also a great car game! (Scripture connection: Read Isaiah 40:12, 25-26 – “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?… ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Talk about how big and powerful God is. We would have to have magic hands to hold a whale, or a rainbow, or whatever, but God holds the whole world in His hands!)
This is just a simple twist on the standard charades game. We let each person come up with their own action to act out. However, it has to be something that can be demonstrated while seated at the table. It’s amazing what the kids will come up with. Some of my favorites have been milking a cow, putting on pajamas and getting ready for bed, and screaming – with no sounds, of course!
Truth or Lie?
Give each person at the table a chance to tell one thing that “happened” to him or her today and then guess – is it the truth, or is it a lie? (Scripture connection: Read 1 John 2:21 – “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.” And John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Discuss how wonderful it is to know that God NEVER lies and that we can always trust His Word and trust His promises.)
For a whole host of other great ideas, you can purchase Beginner Dinner Games, or the version for the older kids, Family Time Fun Dinner Games and Activities. Both are by Family Time Fun and available through Amazon. The company actually has a bunch of different mealtime games to choose from and some great information and statistics about family time at the table on their website here. We may have to try a new one soon!
So there are a few ideas to get you started. I’d love the conversation to continue – because my bag o’ tricks is certainly not full! Share your ways to store up fun family memories at the table by leaving a comment below. If we get at least 10 responders we will award a $10 gift certificate to the Throne of Grace Shop for the best new idea!