Frugal Friday – Victorian Parlour Games

This Friday night, instead of shelling out your hard-earned dollars for a movie all of you can agree on but none of you will love, gather the family in your version of the Parlour and try out some good old Victorian Parlour Games.

Kids will love them, you’ll spend time together, and everyone will be encouraged to get a little silly, which does wonders for your relationships.

Don’t remember any Victorian Parlour Games? Not to worry, I have a selection below:

Everyone, except the chosen “clown”, assumes a pose, somewhere in the room — the sillier the better. You can stand on one leg, draw an imaginary bow like Cupid, strike a heroic pose. (You may stand with your arms crossed,scowling if you must). When everyone has chosen their pose, they stand still as statues. Now the clown begins his/her work.

The clown passes from person to person trying to make them laugh or smile by pulling funny faces, telling jokes etc. If the statue cracks, they’re out. The statue who stays serious and still the longest wins, and becomes the new clown.

source: Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood


One person chooses an object in the room and shows it to everyone. Everyone else leaves the room while the object is hidden. When they come back in, everyone must look for the item. When they see it they should go and sit down. The last person to find it loses, and is the hider next time.
You don’t want to make it obvious where you saw the object, so that you don’t help the other players too much. The misdirection can be as much fun as the search. I imagine this would work better in a Victorian-style knick-knack-cluttered living room, rather than a modern, minimalist home!

source: Seeds of Knowledge


One person is blindfolded while everyone else moves around them, quietly. The blindman blunders around trying to catch people. If he does, he then gets to paw them (those saucy Victorians!) and try to guess who he has caught. If he is correct, the captured becomes the next blindman, otherwise the first blindman keeps trying.

source: every children’s birthday party I ever attended (and in those days you still wore floor length ‘party dresses’ to proper parties!).


A game for families with children old enough to write.

Take long strips of paper, one for each person. Each person writes something on the paper, folds it over and passes it to the next person, over and over again until each of these things have been written:

1, A woman’s name
2, A man’s name
3, Place name
4, He said…
5, She said…
6, A consequence.

Everyone opens up the paper they end up with and read the ‘story’ like this.

“Florence Nightingale met Frank Sinatra at Chuckie Cheese’s. He said …. then she said… and the consequence was…”

Sometimes it’s downright surreal, sometimes silly, and sometimes it really works out…with hilarious results.
source: rainy Sunday afternoons in my childhood.


For the less literary, there are picture consequences, which work the same way. Instead of story lines, you draw a head and neck, then fold down the paper. The next person draws a body and arms, the next legs, and the last one feet. You can also add a name at the bottom. Unravel to create fabulous creatures.
source: rainy Sunday afternoons in my earlier childhood.


Everyone writes down the name of a famous person on a slip of paper, folds it and puts it in a bowl. Pass the bowl to the first person, who becomes the first clue-giver. They must try to get the person next to them to guess the name, without saying anything too obvious (for example you couldn’t say, “His first name is Frank and he’s a singer” or even “His initials are FS”. You have 30 seconds to try to get someone to guess. If they do, you both get a point. If not, the name goes back in the bowl and it is the next person’s turn.
source: Seeds of Knowledge


All of which should be enough to keep you going.

And I didn’t even mention “Charades”.


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