Introducing…a brand new mobile app!

Hello Game Gal readers!

I’ve got something really really exciting to share with all of you.

It’s an app! Yes, my wonderful husband has been working hard for many months (in between graduating, starting a new job, and moving, I might add) to make an awesome app of the word generator. Just like the word generator, the app gives you lists of words in all sorts of categories to play pictionary, charades, catchphrase, or any other game you want. The holiday word lists are even included!

The app is called “The Game Gal’s Word Generator,” and for now it’s available in the App Store for iPhones and iPads, but watch for other versions (Android) coming soon! And the best part is…they’re all free! So if you like using the word generator but wished you could use it on the go, look no further! Just visit the app store, download the app, and start playing games with your family and friends. I just hope that I can encourage some good quality fun with all of this. 🙂 So enjoy, and if you have any suggestions or comments, I’d love to hear them!

Download the Word Generator App here!

And really, a huge huge thank you to my husband for all of this. If you like the app, thank him! He did it all and was incredible to do so.

Draw your dream house

What it is: More of an activity than a game, but one that kept my sisters and I occupied many a time in our childhood. Just like the title says, you draw your dream house.

Best for: One person or a smaller group, maybe during a time when you need to be quiet.

What you need: Everyone needs paper and a pen or pencil. Optional: colored pencils, crayons, markers, or other supplies for making your dream house pretty.

How to play: Really, it’s a simple activity. You just draw your dream house! And when you’re a kid (or an adult), you can let your imagination run wild, which is where the fun comes in. I thought the best way to show this activity would be an example, so imagine how happy I was when, during the move my family recently completed, I was going through a box of old memories and found this:

I wish I had dated it! My best guess is that I drew it when I was 7 or 8? But this is exactly what I’m talking about! Usually my sisters and I drew kind of a floor plan layout like this, and of course our houses were always ginormous and held all sorts of cool extras. Which seemed to mostly be themed rooms: a party room, a toy room, a ferris wheel room, a rock climbing room, a pet room, a maze room, a museum room, a candy room, of course…oh, and a manatee room. (My sisters and I were in love with manatees. We thought they were the coolest things ever.) There also has to be a mini airport, of course, and indoor swimming pool. Anyway, I’m so glad I found this priceless drawing. Maybe I can convince my husband to build this floor plan for us one day. 😉

And as a bonus, here’s another, more recent example. I think I drew this shortly after my husband and I were married; I was babysitting some younger cousins and wanted to show them one of my favorite drawing activities. So, since I was older this one is of course more realistic…(uh, kind of…)

Notice I kept the indoor swimming pool (this time with a dolphin) and now have a private helicopter pad instead of a mini airport. And complete with home theater, exercise room, large kitchen, hot tob, play room, and star-gazing deck, this dream home is perfect. Oh, and slides to reach the lower levels. Who hasn’t wanted a house with slides at one point?

Anyway, this second drawing shows another way you can draw your dream home: as a cut-away side view instead of a bird’s-eye view. And you can use words to label rooms (like in the first drawing), or you can just draw (like in the second). Either way, whatever you want to draw, go for it! Draw your dream home. Adding as many details as possible is always fun.

Variations: We often played this with sidewalk chalk, too, except it was more of a “draw your dream room.” Each of us would take one large square of the driveway (the squares formed by the seams in the concrete) and pretend it was our room, drawing in beds, dressers, rugs, and usually bean bag chairs and lava lamps (things we always wanted but never had), all from a bird’s-eye view. Then you can play house in your new room. 🙂 My husband also played a similar game in talking version called build a cabin in your mind.

Winks 2

What it is: A very similar game to winks, just more physically active, with more physical contact.

Best for: A big group of 9 to 21 players (ish).

What you need: You’ll need an odd number of players, and kind of a bigger group. Also somewhere to play. You’ll basically be wrestling on the floor, so keep that in mind. I most often played in a carpeted building with a big room (lots of space, not many breakables). I also played in a bouncy castle once. That was fun.

How to play: Divide your number of players in two (except, since you’re playing with an odd number of players, one half will have one extra person). The bigger half all sits cross-legged in a big circle. Then all the rest of the players sit cross-legged in front of someone already sitting, creating an inner circle. But one poor person, like Jeremy, will be left sitting cross-legged with no one in front of him. He’ll start the game.

When everyone is ready to play and attentively watching Jeremy, he chooses the names of two people sitting in the inner circle and calls them out loud, like “Stephanie and Charlie!” Then Stephanie and Charlie both try to race across the circle and tag Jeremy’s outstretched hand. Whoever does so first moves spots and sits in front of Jeremy, and someone else will be left without a parter. Then it’s his or her turn.

But here’s what makes it hard: The people sitting behind Stephanie and Charlie (we’ll call them Parker and Julie, respectively) do everything they can to keep their partners from making it to Jeremy. That’s where the wrestling part comes in. It’s basically anything goes, except mean behavior: hitting, scratching, biting, you know. Oh, and tickling counts as bad behavior. Play nice. 🙂

So let’s say Parker and Julie are both trying their hardest to keep their partners in place, and Parker puts up a good fight, but Stephanie is just too tenacious and wiggles away to tag Jeremy’s hand. Then she gets to sit in front of Jeremy and it’s Parker’s turn to call two names.

There are some other rules you could add to adjust your game to the skills and desires of your players. First, it’s fun if the people in the inner circle and outer circle get to switch places; then they don’t get too tired of always being called or always being alone. So you could say that each time someone gets a new partner, they switch places, and each time someone in the inner circle fails to get away from someone in the outer circle, they switch places, too. (So, in the above example, once Stephanie got to Jeremy, they’d switch places so now Stephanie is in the outer circle, and once Julie successfully kept Charlie as her partner, they’d switch places, too.)

Then, if two pairs are wrestling for a long time and it looks like no one’s getting anywhere fast, you could call it a draw and make the two inner-circle players switch with the outer-circle players. Then Jeremy calls two new people.

I played this game regularly with some friends in high school, and it was a lot of fun. Definitely lots of physical contact. But it could be fun to play with just family, too, if you’re family is bigger.

Cautions: Because you’re wrestling on the ground, make sure that everyone plays nice and doesn’t hurt each other. But be warned that a few small injuries (especially rug burns) might be unavoidable.

Variations: Winks is a similar game, just not as active or full contact. 🙂


What it is: A little-kid game, best when played with a big brother, sister, or adult. One of those simple games you love so much as a kid.

Best for: 4 to 6 little kids and at least one bigger kid or adult.

What you need: A room indoors with a relatively big, open area. And preferably a big person to play with, like a dad or an uncle.

How to play: The game is very simple. One or two players (the adults) lay down on the floor, hold themselves long and straight, and roll around. These players are the steamrollers. Then the other players jump and run around the playing area, trying not to be steamrolled (i.e., grabbed, tripped, hugged, and /or tickled by the steamrollers). It works best the steamrollers are bigger (but gentle) players, and everyone else is young and small (so as not to hurt the steamrollers).

My sisters and I played this with my dad and with each other all the time when we were young. It’s one of those great simple wrestling games kids like to play.

Monkey on the ground

What it is: A game played outside on a playground, perfect for recess at school. (For me, it brings back all sorts of great memories of fourth grade.)

Best for: 6 to 8 players.

What you need: A good playground. The more things to climb on, the better. Even best if there are isolated toys at the playground that you can’t reach without touching the ground.

How to play: First, choose one player to be It (we’ll call her Monica). Monica stands on the playground with her eyes closed and counts to ten. While she’s counting, all of the other players run quietly to the playground equipment and climb on something so they’re no longer touching the ground.

After Monica reaches ten, she keeps her eyes closed but moves towards the playground equipment. The object of the game is for Monica to tag another player so Monica is no longer It. The other players try to avoid being tagged. Rules: Monica can’t open her eyes, and she can’t leave the ground. (So since Monica is walking around a playground with her eyes closed, make sure you play safely: no running for Monica, she should walk with her arms outstretched to avoid crashing into anything, and make sure you’re playing in a safe area.)

So it might seem like a kind of hard game for Monica, but there are some tricks she can use, and some other ways to get someone else to be It.

First, the other players aren’t prohibited from touching the ground, but if Monica catches someone else standing on the ground or even touching the ground, that person is It. If Monica suspects someone of touching the ground, she calls out “Monkey on the ground!” Say Timmy was touching the ground, trying to run from one piece of playground equipment to another. Timmy would be the new It, and Monica would open her eyes and join the other players.

If Monica calls out “Monkey on the ground!” but no one is touching the ground, all of the other players in unison have to call out, “Out of town!” to let Monica know that she’s still It – and to give Monica a hint as to the players’ whereabouts. (Monica can even call out “Monkey on the ground!” even if she doesn’t suspect anyone’s on the ground, just to hear everyone’s voices for a hint.)

So Monica shouldn’t be at too much of a disadvantage, and should be able to tag someone else so they become it.

Though more rare, it’s possible that Monica could call “Monkey on the ground!” and more than one person is on the ground. In this case, either all of the people on the ground become It together, or they play rock-paper-scissors to decide who’s It.

Ways to cheat: When you play, you’ll want to watch out for these ways to cheat and make sure everyone’s playing honestly. First of all, Monica (or the person who’s It) can’t call out “Monkey on the ground!” too often, like every five seconds. That’s cheating.

Also, the players can’t be too good – that is, they can’t all just climb up to the very top of the equipment and just stay there silently. They need to move around some, even touch the ground every once in a while. They can also call out and make noise to tease the person who’s It (and make it slightly easier).

Finally, there was always that one kid I played with who would wear dark sunglasses every time he was It. As if we didn’t know he was peeking…seriously. So no dark sunglasses for the person who’s It. 😉

Variations: This game is kind of like the pool game Marco Polo (watch for a post coming soon), but on a playground instead of in the pool. I like monkey on the ground better, though.