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family holiday competitions: how sports can bring everyone together

We’ve got just the competitions you need to get through the holidays with your sanity intact, and maybe even make some meaningful memories.

I think we can all agree that holiday get-togethers with family have the potential to be awkward, or even boring. However, they also have the potential to be joyful and entertaining — you just need the right activity to engage the whole family. 

If you’re in dire need of group activities to stop Uncle Dave from mansplaining Bitcoin and mom from ruminating on your precocious toddler years, eseo is your lifeline. We’ve got just the competitions you need to get through the holidays with your sanity intact, and maybe even make some meaningful memories. Keep reading to learn about our favorite holiday competitions. 

Looking for family sports to play in Philadelphia? Eseo can be your source for Philly sports resources and fitness activities. From hiking to flag football to figure-skating, eseo can provide the sports opportunities that interest you. 

Ping-Pong Tournament

You know what really helps Aunt Carol blow off some steam? Overhand slamming ping-pong serves in between checking the casseroles. Even if you don’t have a ping-pong table, you can easily make a family ping-pong tournament happen. Here’s what you need: 

  • An open room with enough space to move around (garage and basement may work)
  • A large, rectangular table that can take a few hits
  • Ping-balls and two paddles
  • A net to separate the table’s two sides (you can make this out of anything)

That’s it! If you don’t have a table or space to play ping-pong at home, take the family on an adventure to one of Philadelphia’s many ping-pong venues, like SPIN Philadelphia

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Touch Football

Even for people who don’t enjoy watching football and have never played, touch football can be a really fun and easy way to bond with the family. All you need is a yard or public field, a football and a few players. Draw straws to divide teams and start planning your path to the end zone! You’d be surprised at how much bonding you can do over a shared goal. 

Don’t have a yard or field nearby? That’s not a problem. Philadelphia has more than 300 neighborhood parks, rec centers and playgrounds. If it’s too cold to enjoy an outdoor game, book a field at one of Philadelphia’s indoor sports complexes, like Phield House

Bowling in Philadelphia

Welcome to the quintessential “I need a family activity STAT” venue. If evening rolls around and your family is bored, bowling is a great option because many alleys open in early evening and don’t close until late. One of the best things about this activity is that it takes a while to complete a game (especially with large groups), so you’ll have plenty of time to chat in between bowls. Check out these Philly bowling alleys: 

  • PEP Bowl: a retro-style bowling alley with six lanes that’s conveniently located in Center City. PEP Bowl is wheelchair accessible, family-friendly and has a special lane for kids who need bumpers. 
  • V & S Elmwood Lanes: a 26-lane bowling alley with a shop and snack bar. This historic venue has been around for 50 years and has undergone many upgrades to ensure its customers have the best bowling experience possible. 
  • Wynnewood Lanes Bowling & Lounge: a family-friendly bowling alley and lounge. Book a lane or two in advance and surprise the family with a fun evening activity. 
  • MacDade Bowl: a family owned bowling center in the Holmes Section of Ridley Township that features 24 Synthetic Lanes.
  • North Bowl: a retro-chic bowling alley with 17 lanes in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. Lanes are first come first served. Cocktails, local beers, corn dogs & tater tots are available.
  • Lucky Strike Philadelphia: 2 floors with bowling lanes, ping pong, and billiards in the heart of center city. Lucky Strike Philadelphia also serves up late night kitchen slingin’ bites and delicious cocktails.

Ice-Skating Games

Although you can visit one of Philadelphia’s indoor ice-skating rinks year-round, winter brings some magical outdoor skating opportunities to Philadelphia. Take your family to Blue Cross River Rink for its annual WinterFest and enjoy ice-skating games under thousands of sparkling holiday lights. You can also visit Rothman Orthopaedics Rink at Dilworth Park to enjoy a festive skating experience, dining, a winter lights show and the Philadelphia holiday market. More of a hockey family? Take advantage of Rizzo Rink’s weekly open-hockey hours. 

Snow Tubing

Ready for your new favorite winter competition? Challenge your family to snow tube racing at one of Philadelphia’s many slopes. For those unfamiliar with the concept, snow tubing is basically sledding with an inner tube. Like a sled, inner tubes allow riders to pick up a lot of speed, but they make for a much softer landing in the event of a crash. Plus, inner tubes are a lot cheaper than sleds, so you can buy several tubes instead of having to take turns on one sled. 

Where you choose to snow tube is entirely up to you — any clear, snowy slope on public land is perfect. However, Philadelphians have a few favorite hills, including Belmont Plateau, Deadman’s Hill at Fisher Park and Burholme Park. Just use your own discretion, be safe and have a blast! 

Winter Sports for the Family

Spending the holidays with family can be wonderful, boring, complicated or all of the above! Just remember that you can affect the outcome. If you’re looking for activities to bring the whole family together, try introducing some good-natured competition with your favorite winter games and sports. Team sports can encourage cooperation, strategy and FUN — three ingredients to a magical holiday experience. Need more family competition ideas? Visit eseo for additional sports resources or reach out to us with questions. 

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We’ve got just the competitions you need to get through the holidays with your sanity intact, and maybe even make some meaningful memories.