A Fun Family Twist on Bingo For Your Next Big Party

Ever feel lonely in a crowd, even a crowd of your own relatives?

Do your normally outgoing kids turn shy as soon as family flies in for the holidays and files into the house?

Looking for a fun, easy way to break the ice at the big family reunion—to get everyone talking and laughing?

Large holiday gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to get to know the far-flung members of your family tree, but they can be intimidating, especially for kids faced with folks they don’t see often or know very well.

In this article I’ll show you how your kids can lead a fun game of “Getting to Know You” Bingo at your next group event that will jump-start conversations and breach the shyness gap so everyone can get to know each other better.

Lead a fun game of Getting to Know You Bingo that will jump-start conversations and breach the shyness gap so everyone can get to know each other better

Why Play Bingo?

Family reunions and holiday meals are the perfect setting to bring generations of family members together in one place. These events can include large numbers of relatives you and your children have never met or don’t know very well.

Scary!

When it’s time for your next big group activity, let your children take the lead and offer an ice-breaker to help everyone meet, share and get the laughter flowing.

“Getting to Know You” Bingo uses a familiar game to help children and adults talk and spend time together.

Soon you’ll find it hard to get a word in as your formerly quiet bunch starts to share personal favorites, silly stories or songs, family fiascos and other interesting (and maybe a bit embarrassing) tidbits of information.

An ice-breaker is a game or activity used at the beginning of an event to help people meet and begin talking to each other. The goal is to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible while they interact with people they may not know.

Using a familiar game like Bingo will give kids and adults a fun avenue to meet and mingle.

bingo card

“Getting to Know You” Bingo is fun for all ages.

With just a few minutes of preparation, your children can get the party started with this easy game.

You Will Need

  • Computer, printer and paper to print the Bingo cards (PDF)
  • Pencils or pens for all game participants
  • Prizes for Bingo winners (optional)
  • Family members and/or friends

Preparation Time

5-10 minutes to print “Getting to Know You” Bingo cards and collect pencils

Activity Time

15-30 minutes, or as long as everyone keeps talking and sharing

Location

Any large gathering of family or friends

#1: Gather Supplies

As soon as you receive an invitation to a large family gathering (family reunion, holiday meal, etc.), contact the host and ask if your children can lead a fun ice-breaker activity.

Your host will probably be excited about your family’s offer to help kick off the party with such an engaging game.

printing cards

Print enough Bingo cards for everyone, plus a few extras.

Be sure to ask the host how many people will be attending the event so you can begin your preparations. Help your children print copies of the “Getting to Know You” Bingo cards.

You will need one card per person (you might want to print a few extra copies for any drop-in guests).

supplies

Take pens or pencils and a few extra cards along.

Gather the Bingo cards and pens/pencils to take along to the event.

If you decide to award prizes after the game, be sure to take those with you too.

#2: Determine the Rules of the Game

Most people are familiar with how to play Bingo, so do your best to keep the game as simple and easy as possible.

To make it unique for your family, however, you might want to consider some of these game variations:

bingo card

One question per person.

Set a maximum number of questions each person can answer, depending on how many people are attending. If you are expecting a large crowd, limit participants to asking only one question per person. If fewer people will be at the gathering, set the number at two or more questions per person.

completed card

Learn even more by completing the entire card.

Bingo vs. Blackout. You can require participants to get one “Bingo” (5 boxes in a row) or have them complete every square on the card (a “Blackout”).

candy prizes

Candy is always a nice prize.

Add prizes. You can present small awards to the first person to complete a Bingo, whoever gathered signatures from everyone in attendance, the funniest answers to a question, etc. Prizes or special treats add an extra element of fun and competition.

Create a custom Bingo card. The Bingo card you can download above will work for any group gathering. To customize the game for your family and turn it into more of a scavenger hunt, contact each guest in advance and ask for a unique or unknown fact to include on your Bingo card.

With a custom card, everyone in your group will have to search for the person who has lived in a foreign country, can wiggle his ears, worked at Disneyland, served in Vietnam, etc. And it will be lots of fun to learn unusual facts about your family.

#3: Let the Games Begin

As guests arrive at your event, have your children welcome everyone with a big smile and a Bingo card.

smiling child

Always greet your guests with a big smile!

Give each guest a “Getting to Know You” Bingo card and briefly explain the game according to the rules you have determined.

handing out cards

Give clear instructions.

For example, you may want to remind everyone of the following points:

  • The goal is to talk to each person in attendance and learn something about him or her by asking the questions in the boxes.
  • Record the name and answer from one person in each box. If possible, only ask one question per person (this will encourage everyone to talk with even more family members).

    reading questions

    Be sure to read through all of the questions.

  • Participants should complete at least one “Bingo” on their card (complete 5 boxes up, down or diagonally).

#4: Get Everyone Talking

Give guests 20-30 minutes to talk with each other and gather names for their Bingo card boxes.

talking with each other

You may gather some funny information.

In addition to completing their own Bingo cards, you may want to encourage your kids to help facilitate the game.

They may need to answer guests’ questions, keep an eye on the clock if you set a time limit for play, or gather everyone together at the end to present prizes and talk about what you learned.

the winner

And the winner is…!

Kids love to be in charge and leading the ice-breaker helps develop their interpersonal skills.

Have fun playing Bingo and getting to know your family better.

Some Final Thoughts

During a recent lunch visit with friends, our children enjoyed a game of “Getting to Know You” Bingo. The game was filled with laughs and smiles as they asked each other questions and learned many surprising facts about their friends.

I know your family will enjoy learning about each other, too.

The kids already have plans to take Bingo cards to our next holiday dinner and play the game with their grandma, aunts and uncles.

What do you think? Does your family experience shyness with unfamiliar relatives at the beginning of a family gathering? What has your family done to get to know each other better?

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About the Author, Susan Williams

Susan is always looking for ways to bring learning to life for her two curious boys. She writes about their learning adventures at EducationPossible.com and shares literature resources at WorldForLearning.com. Other posts by »


  • Robin Bermel

    This is really cute. My kids love playing Bingo. Will have to mix it up with this rendition sometime over the school break! Thanks.

  • http://educationpossible.com/ Susan F Williams

    Robin, we hope your family has a lot of fun with this twist on BINGO! A school break is a fun time to add in a few family games to get everyone talking, sharing and laughing together!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Susan! What a great way to get the kids talking to people. We’ll be seeing distant family for Christmas and this will be a fun activity to help everyone reconnect.

  • http://educationpossible.com/ Susan F Williams

    Jennifer, Have a wonderful time with your family! We hope this fun activity will help your kids create some very special family connections and give them some fun insights into the stories their relatives have to share.

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