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Oh what fun! Games to play with family this holiday season

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Too much family time got you feeling like the Grinch? Try one (or all) of these fun STEAM games to bring some holiday cheer!

1. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

Sleigh bells ringing? Carolers singing? Gift wrap crinkling? In this holiday version of Match It, see if you can match a sound with its graph. Take turns recording and guessing different holidays sounds using your smartphone and data-sleuth skills.

2. Pass the present

In this version of High Tech Hot Potato you'll see how smoothly you can pass the present. You'll track the motion of your package as it's delivered around the circle. Use the Arduino Smartphone app to see if you can smoothly deliver the fruitcake. Or maybe you'd prefer to destroy it?

3. Up your tiptoe-ing game

Need to sneak into the kitchen for more dessert without getting caught? Build your own Ninja Walk Training Course! Use the Arduino Science Journal app to analyze how smoothly and silently you can make it across the course. While learning is a reward in itself, make sure to grab a cookie or special treat to celebrate your silent journey.

4. Embody Elf on the Shelf

What's faster than the speed of light? An elf on the shelf. Ever wonder how they got so good at not getting caught moving from one place to the next? The secret: this game of Energy Red Light Green Light. Move between potential and kinetic energy in this twist on red-light green light.

5. Winter Biomimicry Mash-Up

To play this holiday version of our favorite nature inspired game you just need a few slips of paper. Have everyone write down a few animals and their features. For example polar bears have warm fur, big claws. Penguins have thick feathers to stay warm and very stream-lined bodies so they can swim fast. A woodpecker had a spongy skull so its brain is protected while making all those holes (and noise!). Some bacteria glow in the dark.

Then design a device that takes inspiration from the natural world to improve on a holiday experience.

  • What features of a woodpecker would help you safely deliver presents down a hill?

  • How can you quickly deliver someone hot cocoa before it gets cold?

  • Could you build a snowperson you can see at night, maybe taking inspiration from photobacterium?

  • How can you build a device that helps pick things up off the floor after a holiday party?

6. Dance off those holiday blues

Turn your reunion into a dance party with the Gyroscope Dancing data challenge. Attach a smartphone to your arm (or use an armband phone holder) with the Arduino Science Journal app so the accelerometers on your phone can record the motion as you groove. Jingle jangle without detecting motion in one direction.

7. Even more games!

And if you’re still looking for more fun and games, be sure to check out our mazes, word searches and more on The Tech at Home!

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