Community Building Dinner Games

Community Building Dinner Games

Community building is about communicating and what better place is there to do this than at the dinner table? The television series Blue Bloods provides a beautiful illustration of the interactions between family members at a dinner table. During each episode, there is a scene where four generations enjoy a meal together.  This article says, “Those family dinners, a hallmark of each episode, are a big reason for Blue Bloods’ ongoing popularity…” Why is that?

It is because we love the way they connect with one another. Their love and support are heart-warming. During the meal, they share their concerns, their thoughts, their fears, their troubles and their triumphs. We enjoy community vicariously through them.

The dinner scenes on Blue Bloods are scripted but we don’t need scripts. However, playing a community building game that is crafted to guide the conversation in a more personal and inclusive way can help to knit a family together into a community.

Here are games that can be played at the dinner table during special occasions or on any occasion where people gather to share a meal.

New Year’s Eve  Each person to brings a small item to add to the centerpiece that represents something that held significance for them in the year just ending. For a variation of this game, ask everyone to bring something that represents an intention for the coming year. During the meal, one by one, each person will pick up their object and share the story behind it.

Birthday party  Everyone brings an object that represents something about the birthday person that makes them smile. They quietly place their items in a gift box without the Birthday person seeing them. When the Birthday person opens the box, as each item is revealed, the person who placed it there tells the story.

Christmas Dinner  Bring an object that represents the best Christmas gift you ever received and share the story behind it. For instance, if I wanted to relate to the story I shared here, I might bring a representation of a musical note or I would craft a cardboard cube.

Summer barbecue  Bring an object that reminds you of your favourite childhood summer memory. Share the memory with the group.

Halloween dinner  Bring a photo of you in costume from the childhood Halloween that you remember best or an object that represents the costume. Tell the story of that Halloween.

Thanksgiving dinner  Bring an item that represents something you’re grateful for and share the story.

Any day of the week we can encourage everyone to share a good and not-so-good event from their day. This is a great daily practice for families.

Another fun community building exercise is the Bring a Joke Game. Each person can bring a wholesome joke to share during the meal.

Community, at its very best, is like family. This video of Blue Bloods, which starts and ends at the dinner table, captures the feeling of community, the spirit of belonging, togetherness, support and camaraderie.

What community building dinner game would you add?

Photo Credit: Craig Piersma

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About The Author


I have always loved writing and community building. I’ve written a book about healing and happiness, The Happy Place, as well as a Community Building book, Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age,both available at any Amazon store. I’ve been through life changes that I thought were the end of my world, but I’m still here. You never know what will happen next. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?