30 Fun Games to Play with Friends
Posted by Kelsey Caldwell
Whether you’re at a party, hosting a casual get-together, or inviting friends for an intimate dinner, playing games adds even more fun to the occasion. It’s the perfect time to break out yard games like bocce ball or cornhole, or some indoor games if showers keep your event indoors. Below, you’ll find some interesting game ideas that you can play with friend groups of any size, plus icebreakers for new acquaintances. And even some games that are family-friendly if you’re playing with a mix of adults and children! Hopefully, you’ll find some new ways to connect and make memories with friends.
There’s nothing better than enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. No matter if you’re at home in your backyard, or out at a park with a group - these outdoor games are sure to be fun for the whole crew.
- Bocce Ball - You can play this game one-on-one with a friend or pick teams to play with a group. Buy a bocce ball set for a reasonable price that contains two sets of four colored bocce balls and one white ball, called the jack. Teams take turns trying to throw the bocce balls as close as possible to the jack.
- Croquet – This game is a classic for a reason! Croquet is the perfect game to play in a nice grassy area. You can purchase a croquet set with mallets and wickets and play by trying to hit the ball through the series of wickets.
- Cornhole – A favorite game to play with a drink in hand, you can play cornhole one-on-one or in teams. Set up cornhole boards across from each other and toss bean bags as close as you can to the hole in the boards.
- Frisbee – Tossing a frisbee is always a relaxing way to hang out with friends, and your favorite pet can join in the action. One person can throw the frisbee up high in the air while calling out a number. Whoever catches it gets that many points, and players play until one person reaches a set number.
- Backyard Olympics - You can make your own outdoor activities without purchasing a game set. Create your own Olympic events and have teams compete against one another in things like carrying an egg on a spoon or tossing a water balloon back and forth from further and further apart.
- King Frog - This is a great game to play if you don’t feel like lugging around any equipment at all. Just stand or sit in a circle and ask everyone to think of an animal and a gesture or noise to go along with it. Go around the circle to share everyone’s gesture. The first person does their gesture and then signals to another player by using their gesture or noise. That player shares their own gesture and then imitates the gesture of a different player. The sillier the gestures the better, and if a player hesitates or makes an error, they’re out. The last person standing wins.
- Outdoor Twister - This is always great for laughs but requires a little forethought. You can spray paint a twister board directly onto your yard, and have a player call out directions for which spot for players to place their hands and feet. Or you can purchase a Twister mat if you don’t feel like painting your yard!
- Giant Jenga - There are plenty of “jumbo” sized games like Jenga made specifically for outdoor events. For example, giant chess sets, Connect Four, or even tic-tac-toe. You can play one-on-one or form teams.
- Spike Ball - Spike ball can be an awesome game, but you’ll need some equipment and at least four people. This game is played by throwing a ball onto a trampoline-like net and then taking turns hitting it to one another.
- Kan Jam - Another game that requires some equipment and space, Kan Jam can be great fun for a group in teams. You’ll need the “kans” which are free-standing barrels, as well as frisbees. Players take turns trying to throw their frisbee into a slit cut into the middle of the opposing team’s barrel.
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If the weather is looking a little dreary, or if you’re getting a surprise cold snap, you can still enjoy the company of friends with these indoor games.
- Card Games - What could be more fun than a friendly game of poker between friends? Or you could try your hand at any other card game like Crazy Eights, Blackjack or Gin Rummy. If you have children playing, consider something like Go Fish. You can play for money, or something less valuable like candies.
- Board Games - Of course, board games are a popular indoor choice for a group of friends wanting to spend some time together. You could try strategy games where you play as a group, like Pandemic, or games where you play against one another, like Code Names. Or playing a timeless game like Monopoly, Sorry or Battleship is always a blast.
- Charades - Charades has been popular for decades for a reason; it’s always intense and only requires imagination! Players submit ideas of things to act out into a hat, and then take turns drawing their clue. Then, take turns acting out the clue for the rest of the players without speaking.
- Silly Olympics - If board games aren’t your thing, consider setting up your own indoor Olympic Games. The options are endless to create silly activities like scooping cotton balls into a bowl while blind-folded or trying to knock over a stack of plastic cups with a ping pong ball. The beauty of this is that you can make as many teams as you need to.
- Murder Mystery - For a truly unique and entertaining night, consider a murder mystery dinner. You can purchase kits online or create your own. Each person will receive a secret identity and information to help solve a murder. Have friends dress in costume and get into the spirit of the whodunit.
- Spoons - Another easy game that you can play with a group is Spoons. You’ll need a deck of cards and enough spoons for everybody but one person. Sit in a circle or at a table with the spoons in a circle in the middle. Take turns passing cards from player to player. When one player collects four of a kind, they will grab a spoon. But with one less spoon than player for each round, friends will quickly get eliminated if they don’t pay attention and grab their spoon quickly enough.
Games with a Larger GroupTry some of these icebreaker games that are perfect for a larger crowd at events like a birthday party or family reunion.
- Two Truths and a Lie - This is a great icebreaker game for a large group. Players take turns coming up with two true statements about themselves, and one lie. Then, each person shares which statements they think are false. This is a great game that often inspires some interesting discussion and allows players to get to know one another. Use some of these ideas for inspiration.
- Would You Rather - Another engaging icebreaker game is to go around a circle and ask “would you rather” questions. For example, “Would you rather somebody read your diary or read your text messages?” Or “Would you rather be able to travel into space or to the deepest part of the ocean?” Try some of these questions to start some thought-provoking discussion.
- Sticker Game - The sticker game works best at an event where you are mingling with many people. Hand each person a sticker sheet with five or ten stickers. Then, throughout the night, guests try to secretly place their stickers on other players. If you get caught placing a sticker, you take a sticker yourself. The first player to get rid of all their stickers wins.
- Trivia - Trivia is an exciting game to play with a group of people. You could create your own trivia questions for a work event. Or you could go as a group to a trivia session at a restaurant or bar nearby. You could also opt for games like Trivial Pursuit with teams.
- Kahoot! – Kahoot! is a mobile app that allows you to create quizzes on any topic, from pop culture to family history. Create a quiz on a topic that will entertain your group and ask everyone to download the Kahoot! app on the mobile phones. Share the ID code for your quiz and compete to see who’s knowledge reigns supreme!
- Paper Plane Contest - Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, a paper plane contest can be a great time for everybody. Players can come up with creative designs and then cheer one another on as they compete to see who can build the most aerodynamic plane.
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Games for all ages
If you have children in your group, you can still enjoy games with your friends. Check out these games that are family-friendly and fun for the whole group to enjoy, no matter the ages.
- Tag - An all-time-favorite, you never age out of playing tag. Players can chase one another to become “it.” You can opt to have safe areas or tricky rules, like freeze tag where players crawl through each other’s legs to unfreeze.
- Capture the Flag – This classic gym class and playground game is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. Split your group into teams and divide your field in half, marking each team’s territory. Each team also needs to designate a “jail”, such as a tree. Each team hides a flag (a handkerchief or towel) on their side of the field and tries to find and steal the other team’s flag. Players can tag players from the other team if they cross onto their side of the field and take them to their jail. The first team to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to their side wins!
- Twenty Questions - If you’re traveling, games like Twenty Questions or I Spy can be entertaining for players of all ages. Have one player think of a person, place, or thing, and then let the other players try to guess it by asking twenty yes or no questions or less. Or you can pick something within view and give players clues about its color and let them guess what you’re looking at.
- Campfire Games – Gather around the campfire for an evening with your crew! Play some of these campfire games for all ages and don’t forget the smores.
- Simon Says – This game seems simple but usually has everyone cracking up within a few minutes. One person plays the role of Simon and stands in front of the group and gives people instructions to imitate like “jump up and down” only if they say “Simon Says” first. If players repeat what Simon does and they didn’t say “Simon Says”, the player is out. Keep playing until there’s only one person left standing!
- Monkey in the Middle - If you have at least three people and a ball, you can play a fun round of Monkey in the Middle. One player is in the center, while the other players surround them and try to toss the ball back and forth to one another without the center player intercepting it.
- Keepie-Uppie - If you have a balloon, you can play Keepie-Uppie! Just take turns hitting the balloon back up into the air, and never let it fall to the ground.
- Scavenger Hunt - You can create a thrillingscavenger hunt for players of all ages either indoors or outdoors. Have players team up or play individually and put out clues ahead of time to lead them on an exciting adventure. Use some of these ideas for inspiration!
Whether you’re planning an outdoor gathering with close friends, a work event with a large group of new acquaintances, or a get-together at the park with a group of adults and children, you can use these ideas to create some lasting memories together.
Kelsey Caldwell is a realtor and freelance writer from Charlotte, NC. She and her husband are parents to two amazing kids, a puppy, and rabbit.