How to Host the #UltimateFamilyPlayDate

We received three free RoosterFin games in exchange for an unbiased review.  All opinions are our own. IMG_3287

I remember my eldest son’s first play date.  We invited his preschool friend J.D. over to play.  I had met his parents several times and the boys were close, so we invited J.D. over to play.  Both parents came to drop him off…except they didn’t drop off, they stayed. Being my first child, I didn’t realize that this is the way people do it now.  I mean, I ran around the cul de sac I grew up in until dark and someone yelled for us to come in and go to bed.  In 2016 (well, 2010 at the time), you have to be organized, proactive and intentional for kids to get in some good play time. I ended up becoming good friends with J.D.’s parents, and we still laugh about it.  Our boys were our first kids, and none of us knew what we were doing.  I just didn’t realize this would become a trend.

As Millennials get older and start growing their families, research shows us that families are looking for ways to genuinely connect.  Parents often tag along on playdates.  Families want to “do life” with their kids, and we are seeing the reemergence of what we grew up with which was, go knock on the door and see if so-and-so can come out and play!

Today we live in a walkable community where we have a little old school and new school play dates.  We schedule play dates, but as our kids are getting older, we also feel more secure letting them roam freely in the backyards and neighbors’, knowing that several parents are stationed in various corners keeping an eye out.

Over the last year or two, our neighbors just kept setting out tables, toys and bringing dinner outside.  The weekends have become a fun time of community dinners.  I knew this would be the perfect crowd for an #UltimateFamilyPlayDate Game Night, thanks to RoosterFin Games sending us three new games to check out. I’ve never heard of or played these games before, but our kids and their friends and families will have the ultimate family playdate thanks to RoosterFin!


We received three games and a party pack to host any kind of game night we wanted with our friends and neighbors.  We decided a neighborhood family play date and dinner was the easiest and most convenient way to get families involved and give feedback to RoosterFin Games about their newest releases!

How to Host Your Own #UltimateFamilyPlayDate

1)  Make it Easy If you want people to show up, with all of the scheduled obligations competing for your time, like soccer practice, swim lessons, appointments, carpool and everything else, you want to make it simple, easy and convenient for your child’s friends and their families.

TIME:  Mornings are bad.  It’s prime soccer time.  Don’t plan too close to bed time, and pick a Friday or Saturday evening, or late afternoon on a Sunday (after nap time…think 5pm early dinner)

PLACE:  We invited the neighborhood and some friends from our small group.  What is easier than walking out of your door with a potluck item (#Semi_Handmade or purchased), for a giant community feast and game night?

2)  Make It Personal

Invite people personally.  Evites are great for getting the details out, but people don’t respond to mass emails as much as they do a personal email, text, or walking next door to invite them.


3) Make it Inclusive

Include everyone.  I generally expect about 10-25% of people who commit to coming to have something come up and they no show.  Work emergency, sick child, or other things simply come up.  Also, if you are trying to build community, you want everyone to feel like they are part of the party.  Worried about space? Host it outdoors and tell everyone to BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair)!

We knew the games would be targeted at kids 4 and older based on our practice runs, so we made sure to copy plenty of coloring sheets for the younger kids to still be involved!

Get yours here and tweet your completed work @RoosterFin to win some RoosterFin swag!

We had kid sized tables, chairs and mats available to accommodate neighbors of all ages and sizes!

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3)  Plan, Prepare and Plug In We cut up and plated kielbasa and hand formed burgers beforehand, so we could get the food out, cooked quickly, and have fun with our guests!  We definitely chose quick-cooking items that were easy to prepare and eat.


Burgers and kielbasa for 30 people cooked in under 20 minutes.

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Hand formed burgers have a tendency to puff up in the center so we create ridges on the outside by making the center slightly thinner, which results in a nice, crispy edged, juicy centered burger.

Tip:  Don’t salt + pepper your burgers until just before they hit the grill.  Salt pulls the juices out of the meat and can make for a dry burger.

Setting food against a plain, white platter just brings out the color and texture of your food!  It’s a simple touch and I’ve had these platters since our first party in 2011 and they are practically indestructible

Because we knew we would be introducing new games, we did a test run with a small group before the #UltimateFamilyPlayDate and I am SO glad we did!


Not only was it fun to play, but it made the actual event run much more smoothly because we weren’t focused on trying to read instructions and could teach as we played!

Ask about food allergies or restrictions, and have everyone bring a dish!  It’s typically easier for the host to take care of the paper products + drinks, and we chose to grill hand formed burgers and kielbasa.  Everyone else brought side dishes or a dessert.


Start with the plates and utensils, the sides, then buns and mains.  Make sure your table makes sense for easy flow.  We always put drinks and desserts on a table in another location to avoid bottleneck!


I like to keep labels and a sharpie nearby to label food (nut free, vegan, fairy free) and to label your cup. I’ve never had a potluck go wrong this way!  Simple black table cloth lets the food on white platters really stand out!

4)  Make it Matter By planning and preparing, you can spend time just enjoying the company of family and friends and genuinely connecting.

I always follow up after a party or playdate with friends and neighbors to genuinely thank them for coming.

What We Think

Turtle Flip


Turtle Flip is recommended for ages 6+ but my daughter just turned four and could easily play this.  This game is easy to learn and quick to start.  The object of the game is to have the highest numbered card when someone choses to “flip” everyone’s cards over with the flip token.  The other tokens move the cards to the left or to the right, and you have to remember where the highest card is and choose to “flip” just in time!

This is a quick moving, family game requiring strategy and a good memory.  Make sure everyone is paying attention to keep the cards moving!

Our Tips:

  1.  This game seems best with 3-6 players.  You can play with more, but it moves more quickly with 6, no more than 7.
  2. Make sure everyone is paying attention or the game will slow down.

Our Take:

We recommend this game for ages 4-13, but it is fun for adults to play with kids too.  This would make a great birthday gift or host(ess) gift for kids ages 5-10, or a group that likes drinking games 🙂

We love the design of the box, front and back, and the turtles are cute and appealing.  The box is high quality and sturdy.  The cards are not coated, so I am not sure how they would hold up over time, but the tokens are tough and it’s a fun game.

The box is larger than necessary for the cards and tokens, and I bet if RoosterFin changed the packaging to accommodate just the cards and tokens, they might reduce the cost (and space occupied in your game closet). We are recommending RoosterFin put the price point between $9.99-$19.99.

Turtle Flip From Roosterfin:  All players are part of the action in this fast-paced card game of left, right, flippin’ fun! The game is a classic memory game with the twist. Is easy to set up and will have your family laughing in minutes. The object of the game is to win FLIP tokens by playing high numbered cards. It is like a game of hot potato or musical chairs. The player left with the best card when they stop moving wins!

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$24.99 on RoosterFin, $19.99 on Amazon.

Use Coupon Code: ROOSTERF16 by June 30, 2016 for 30% off on RoosterFin



This game was ridiculously addicting.  The goal is to win all of the tokens. You start the game by dividing the 12 tokens among the players.  Each player tries to throw or bounce the ball into the volcano.  If you miss, you put in a token.  If you make it, you get to take the tokens in the volcano.  I am the champion of PongCano in our house, but at the #UltimateFamilyPlayDate I lost four games in a row to a 10 year old.  Sigh.

Our Tips: 

  1. Keep and extra ping pong ball (or three) close by (we’ll recommend to Joe RoosterFin to put at least one extra in the packaging)
  2. Play on the floor.  Table top works fine, but you will seriously be chasing bounce-away balls
  3. Put pillows, the game box, a leg or other barriers around you because you will be chasing bounce-away balls

Our Take:

Although its recommended for ages 8+, this game can easily be played with ages 3+.  This game is literally good for anyone ages 3 and older, as long as you are willing to chase down ping pong balls.

We love the game design and the instructions are clear, but the box needs a redesign.  We like the window into the box and how it showcases the pong ball and tokens, but it is really difficult to store and the box is not very sturdy.  Over time I would imagine this game would end up in a gallon-sized zip top bag.

It would be a fun game for any age group or demographic, and we definitely recommend this as a birthday gift for ages 3 to adults.  I think teens, college kids, and adults would equally get a kick out of this game!

We think this game is reasonably priced at $15.99.

PongoCano From Roosterfin:  The villagers are competing in the great games. Join them in their quest to bounce the ball into the PongCano™ volcano. But be careful, when you miss, you must sacrifice your precious gold coins into the volcano. Bounce best to win coins and ultimately be crowned PongCano™ champion! PongCano™ is the fast paced skill game that keeps players erupting with laughter!


$15.99 on RoosterFin and Amazon.

Use Coupon Code: ROOSTERF16 by June 30, 2016 for 30% off on RoosterFin

Monkeys Up


This was definitely our favorite game.  It is super easy to set up and play, and it’s a game that involves strategy, memory and math.  The object is to have the three highest numbered monkeys at the end of the game.

Each player chooses three monkeys from the middle and rolls the included die after taking a peek at your monkeys to see what you have. Based on your roll, you can flip (any monkey), switch, steal or reverse.  Once a monkey is flipped, it stays flipped.  Once any player has three monkeys flipped, revealing their numbers, all players turn over their three highest numbered monkeys.  Add them up, and the player with the highest number wins!

Our Tips:

  1. Play with 2-6 players.  Any more than that, and have players team up.  At six players, everyone gets three monkeys and there is no pot.
  2. Mix it up by playing winner has the LOWEST numbered monkeys!

Our Take

The game is fun, appealing and you can play several rounds quickly without getting bored.  The box is sturdy and high quality, although we would prefer they print the instructions on the inside lid of the box (as we do for most games).

We recommend this game for ages 5+, although if you have a 4 year old who knows numbers, play away!  You’ll just have to help with the math at the end.

Although we like the packaging, this game could be repackaged into a smaller, thin tube with the monkeys and die, and maybe a ribbon or shoelace handle, which might reduce packaging cost and would definitely take up less space in the game closet.

We recommend this game for a birthday gift for ages 5-13, but college students and adults would also enjoy this game.  We think you will be surprised by the squeals of delight and groans of sorrow as monkeys are stolen, switched and flipped.  We recommend the price point to be $15.99-$19.99.

Monkeys Up From Roosterfin:  Monkeys Up™ is the game that will have you going bananas! Players compete to get the best score by flipping, switching, and stealing monkeys. Each monkey has a value hidden under its feet that is only revealed when flipped. Victory will come to the player who switches, steals, and flips the best. You will find yourself laughing head over heels until all of your monkeys are up!

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$24.99 on RoosterFin, $19.99 on Amazon.

Use Coupon Code: ROOSTERF16 by June 30, 2016 for 30% off on RoosterFin


Want to host your own free #Sponsored Game Night?  It’s so easy! Ask me how!

Disclosure:  Per FTC, we received three RoosterFin games at no cost.  Our opinions are our own and as always, unbiased to a T.  



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