Experts praise the power of consistent family mealtimes, but it's not always easy to come up with meaningful, funny, or thought-provoking family questions to keep the conversations flowing.
So when you're at the dinner table and the conversation hits a lull or game night and getting to know one another, check out some of these fun conversation starters you can ask at your next family gathering.
With these questions, don't get too hung up on moving on to the next one (unless a heated family debate begins to turn into a battle). Let them be your guide to starting a conversation! Also, these questions aren't limited to family dinner! You can also use them at a couples dinner, small party, or road trip! Make sure you ask follow-up questions like "why did you choose that?" Or "what if things were this way instead?"
Sometimes it's fun to explore family dynamics and talk about deeper things that you don't have time to discuss in the everyday shuffle. Turn off your electronic devices, sit back, and get ready to learn all about your family on a much deeper level.
1. What's your favorite family tradition? Whether it's decorating the tree together at Christmas or taking a walk after Thanksgiving dinner, these are the things that will stick in your memory forever.
2. What's your favorite place to go together as a family? Whether it's Paris or just the little park in your neighborhood, it's all about who you're with.
3. If our family was going to start a new weekly or monthly tradition, what do you think we should do? Fair warning, this answer will probably involve something outrageous like going to Disneyworld once a month. Reign it back into something more practical.
4. If you could choose any way to spend a family night at home, what would you do? If it's something reasonable, take this suggestion and put it into action one weekend evening!
5. What is one way you think you're most alike your sibling(s)? What is one way you think you're most different? They may be complete opposites, or they may be cut from the exact same cloth. Either way, it's fun to compare and contrast.
6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Keep in mind: versatility, texture, and flavor. With something like waffles, there are only so many ways you can cook a waffle. If you pick eggs, think of all the different ways you can cook eggs!
7. If you made the laws, what's the first law you would make? Mine would definitely involve not leaving shopping carts in parking spaces. How hard is it?
8. If you could only have Christmas or your birthday each year, which one would you pick? Some of us dream of a world where people don't gather in a circle, dim the lights, and sing at you while you frantically wonder where to look.
9. If you had to make a whole house out of food, what food would you choose? You have two ways you could go with this: the kid who chooses a food because it's delicious, or a kid who chooses a food because it's sturdy.
10. If you could travel back in time, when and where would you go? I just watched Back to the Future Part III the other day. And it reminded me of two things: 1. Not all franchises need a third installment, 2. I would NOT want to travel back to the Wild West. But it's fun to hear where and when you're family WOULD want to go.
11. What is something you want to learn how to do and why? This not only is fun to learn, but it encourages your family to keep establishing and pursuing goals. My personal goal is to learn how to make a fancy cup of coffee using a Chemex. But first I have to buy a Chemex.
12. What would you wish for if a genie granted you 3 wishes? Always remind them that more wishes are practical, but it's an unacceptable answer.
13. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Plane tickets are painfully expensive, but we can still dream, right?
14. If you could keep any animal as a pet, what would it be? Hopefully, they won't choose any predators, but you never know.
15. What would you choose if you could have one superpower? Flying? Invisibility? Superspeed? Time Travel? Superstrength? The Incredibles gave us a lot to think about, and I'm still not sure
16. If you could invent one thing to make life easier, what would it be? Parents know that their answer would be clear: temporarily cloning themselves. But I've always been partial to the idea of teleportation.
17. If you could eat dinner with any famous person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why? We all tend to glamourize our favorite celebrities. It's always interesting to see who we would actually want to share a meal with, though.
18. Which animated character would you choose to hang out with and why? Listen, all I'm saying is Remy from Ratatouille would make some pretty incredible food while we're hanging out.
19. If you could have a vacation home in any city, where would it be? Would you be George Clooney's neighbor in Lake Como, Bono's in the Riviera, Oprah's in Telluride . . . you've got lots of options!
20. What would you want to be famous for? You'd like to think it'd be something like solving world hunger, but if we're being realistic, the answer will probably involve their favorite sports team or movie stardom.
21. If you had the attention of the whole world for 10 seconds, what would you say or do? Hopefully, the answer won't be the "flossing" dance, but you never know.
22. If you could be IN any movie, which one would you choose, and which character would you be? This one is up for interpretation on whether they would like to be the actor or the character.
23. What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Make sure this isn't what people necessarily have told them, but words THEY believe about themselves.
24. What's one of your best qualities? Again, this is a good way to encourage internal reflection and self-confidence.
25. What makes a great friend? This is helpful for little kids to think about as they're learning how to navigate meaningful, healthy relationships.
26. What's the weirdest dream you've ever had? There's always one that forever stays in your memory...for better or worse.
27. What are two things you consider yourself very good at? It's important for kids and parents alike to see their own positive qualities. If a family member really struggles to come up with one, gently remind them of something you consider them to be very good at.
28. What's the best gift you've ever given and why? Mom literally birthed you, and dad lets you live in the house rent-free, so they're off the hook for this one.
29. What is your favorite childhood memory? Even if your kids are still pretty young, they should have something unforgettable to share.
30. What's something you look forward to all day? We all know what mom and dad will say, and it starts with "bed" and ends with "time."
31. What's the craziest thing you've ever eaten? As a kid, your palate isn't always the most expansive. But this may lead to the story of the day you found your toddler eating the cotton balls.
32. What's the last thing that made you laugh? Laughter releases endorphins in the brain, which make you feel good!
While you may not want to get too graphic at the dinner table, these fun questions can often be a great way to get silly and outrageous. Kids love the silly premises of Would You Rather Questions, and you'll get a lot of giggles out of them if you really get into it. Don't just let them answer one or the other; make sure they give a reason why they chose it! If you're eating, you get a free pass to skip the ones that make your stomach a little queasy. Remember--there's no correct answer....right?
Would you rather...
33. Have a car that could fly or go underwater? I'm sure Elon Musk has one or both of these in production right now.
34. Go skydiving or scuba diving? If you have a kid who says "both!" then I wish you all the luck in the world raising your daredevil.
35. Live at the beach or in the mountains? Both are beautiful, but most people feel more drawn to one over the other.
36. Live in the sky or under the sea? This is assuming they have wings or gills. While under the sea may seem like a world of wonders, think of all the predators. In the sky, think of all the natural weather disasters you'd have to avoid.
37. Have a pet dinosaur or a pet dragon? This all depends on whether your child is more of a dinosaur or dragon fan. Hopefully, they'd want a plant-eating dinosaur. Any other option would feel a bit risky.
Would you rather...
38. Be able to fly or be invisible? This will probably separate your introverts from your extroverts.
39. Speak every language or play every instrument? I have a theory that the more extroverted, outgoing types would rather speak all languages, and the more introverted, creative types would rather play every instrument.
40 Talk to animals or know how to speak every language? We've all wondered what's going through the head of the cat who's just rolled in catnip or a dog who chases his own tail. But speaking every language would be a HUGE asset for the avid traveler, and you'd be in high demand by employers.
41. Be really fast or really strong? You're both of these if you're a toddler holding something you shouldn't have.
42. Have 3 legs or 3 arms? I guarantee anyone who's a parent wants a third arm. So they can do more things at once. So they can get a nap.
43. Be the worst player on a team that always wins or the best player on a team that always loses? I'm sure this reveals something intense about our connection to the whole vs. the individual, but I don't have the brainpower to sort that one out.
44. Be the fastest person in the world or be able to freeze time? I know parents would want to freeze time so they could get those coveted "more hours in a day," but some extra speed would surely help when it came to chores.
Would you rather...
45. Fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? I don't know why everyone was asking me this question three years ago, but I do know that it sparked a hot debate. While many think the 100 duck-sized horses are the clear answer (because the bill of a horse-sized can do some serious damage), I personally think they could learn a lesson from that scene in the second Jurrasic Park movie with all the duck-sized dinosaurs attacked the bad guy. 100 duck-sized horses could do some serious stampeding damage if they knocked you over—just something to consider.
46. Have bad breath or body odor for the rest of your life? Either way, making new friends will be tough.
47. Eat a whole jar of mayonnaise or a whole bottle of hot sauce? Make sure this doesn't inspire any sibling dares.
48. Have hooks for hands or wheels for feet? Both are convenient...or are they inconvenient? I can't quite figure it out.
49. Feel hot all the time or cold all the time? Beware--this may re-ignite the Battle of the Thermostat.
50. Go a week without brushing your teeth or taking a shower (or bath)? You may wonder if your child's week at camp actually involved one or both of these.
In the world of social media, screens, and distraction, dinner table conversations have almost become a lost art. Knowing how to ask engaging questions, asking follow-up questions, and showing interest in others' answers is a life skill that everyone needs. And, you get to learn all about your family! What are some of your favorite questions? Ask them in the group chat on FamilyApp!