family playing zoom games on laptop

Play Online: Virtual Christmas Games

Playing games with the family or friends can be a big tradition at Christmas for many. With the various restrictions in place, this Christmas may look and feel a little different for many – but that does not mean that this joyful tradition has to be binned this year.

Get together online this Christmas


The pandemic has seen a huge rise in the use of video technology, allowing people and families to get together virtually. We don’t think Christmas has to be any different – in fact it is the perfect opportunity to get together and play games over the internet with more people than maybe you usually would.

couple holding an ipad playing games


We have come up with a collection of great games which work perfectly over zoom, teams, rooms or whatever software you decide to use! If you are big board game fans, then look out for the post all about how to pkay some of the most popular board games online.


Bingo

people talking on the phone

There are a number of ways to play bingo. You can play traditional bingo with game boards of numbers and a bingo caller. You will need to select one of your players as the bingo caller, then create or download bingo cards. There are even some sites for playing virtual bingo such as my free bingo cards or online bingo virtual bing night here.

Movie Bingo

We created bingo sheets for a number of tv shows here. Including a blank one for you to use. So why not create your own for a Christmas movie that you can all watch at the same time? Keep your video call on throughout and shout out when you hear the phrase on your card!

You can download a blank bingo template here.


Heads Up

young annoyed female freelancer using laptop at home

This involves the popular app where you place the phone on your forehead and the other players describe to you the word or thing/person on the phone. You know the one – it records your teammates as they shout and act frantically at you as you try to decipher their random actions!

There is no special way to play this via a computer or game app so people will need two devices to play – e.g. a tablet or laptop to connect to the other players via video call AND a phone with the heads up app installed on it.

Top tips: Make sure everyone can see your phone on your forehead whilst you are playing. And most importantly make sure you can’t see yourself on the video call (or you will see all the answers!) 


Charades

family playing charades at bonfire in garden

This game is a simple, traditional game that I’m sure many of you end up playing at Christmas on a regular basis. 

Make sure you are on a gallery view on your video calling app so you can easily see and hear everyone guessing. If you have a slightly bigger group in your house you may want to go into a different room so you can act out your charades directly to camera (it wouldn’t be all that much fun if you are acting out your charades to the rest of the people in your house as this on zoom won’t be able to see you very well!)

The best way to play would be to act out 5 charades at a time. If you guess once correctly you get the points, you can always appoint a score keeper to make it easier on keeping the score. 


20 Questions

analysis blackboard board bubble

Think of a person, or thing and get other players to take it in turns to ask a yes/no question. To make it more fun, create large “Yes” and “No” cards to hold up to the camera. It also stops you from being tempted to use more words to elaborate on your answers!


Pictionary

arts and crafts child close up color

Drawing pictures for other teammates or players is always very popular.

You can even change it up a bit and use plasticine or play doh to model your go rather than draw (just make sure your online player scan see what you are drawing or making well).

To create your words use this website which will allow you to randomly generate words to use;

https://randomwordgenerator.com/pictionary.php


The Bucket/Pan Game

bucket of multi colored chalk

This game may take a little more organising to play online, but it’s well worth it! This one is similar to the popular game “Articulate” with a twist.

Each player comes up with two things/people/items – whatever you want it to be. Playing on zoom you will need to have the list of these things available beforehand so each household has each item on individual bits of paper in a bucket or pan (hence the game name).

Worth emailing or messaging round to compile a list a couple of days before (just so you have forgotten some of them by the time you play!) 

Once you have your items on individual bits of paper in a pan or bucket you need to pick teams. The game is easiest with just two or three teams – you can play with more but it may take a while longer to play.

Each team picks a player to start, they have to act or describe each item in the bucket to their team until every one has been guessed correctly. Once each time has completed this “round” you then do it all again but this time you can only use 3 words to describe the item on the card.

For the last round you can use just one word. If you are feeling brave you can add in a final round using no words and just actions!


Scategories

mother helping her daughter with homework

This one is super easy to play. All you need is pen and paper each and a timer.If you want, one player could screen share an online timer – here’s an article on how to do this.

Once you have your paper and pens, and timer sorted all you need to do is pick a category each and write it on the left hand side of your paper as a list. 

At the top make columns, and for the first round pick a letter, start the timer (we would suggest 3-5minutes depending on number of categories) and try and fill out an option for each category.

When the timer ends everyone goes through their answers – scoring points for each option you got that nobody else did! You also get extra points for alliteration- eg “pink panda” where there’s more than one word starting with the same letter.


Code Names

scared young ethnic man looking through hands on blue background in studio

A game of cunning and skill – this is free to play using the website below.

All you have to do it set up your “room” and share the unique URL. The game is all about working out who your agents are before the other team does. You will be given clues by the “spymasters” to try and work it all out. It does go by very quickly so perfect for a short game.

https://codenames.game/


Card Games

king jack and queen of spades playing cards

You can play so many different card games via video link and there are many online tools to do so.This one is one of our favourites as it is free and very simple to use:

https://playingcards.io/

You sign up, create a “room” for your game and share this with your friends and family!


Psych

women holding an ipad

You need to download the app for this one – and you can play with other via your phone although we would suggest having a video link up on at the same time!You as the players have to make up fake answers amongst the real ones to try and outwit your friends. Will they choose your fake answer over the crazy real ones?

iOS link: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/psych-outwit-your-friends/id1005765746

For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wb.goog.ellen.psych&hl=en_GB&gl=GB

If you enjoyed playing this Christmas game don’t forget to tell us all about it! Tag us @theplayexperts or use #littleplayexpert or #bigplayexpert to share with everyone what you have been up to – we look forward to seeing how you get on!