Skip to main content

Friendly Family Competitions Inspired by Your Favorite TV Shows

From baking to building to sewing and more!

Published on: January 17, 2024

Kids jumping family competition based on a tv show

Beyond cartoons and feel-good movies, some of our favorite shows to watch with the kids are competition reality shows. These kinds of shows model creative thinking and problem-solving, making them a great template to come up with some games of your own.

Whether you want to participate together as a family, are looking for a clever idea for a birthday party or you want to create a larger-scale neighborhood activity, we’ve used our own creative skills to come up with some ways you can adapt seven popular shows into real-life fun.

Friendly, family competitions to try today

1) The Great Family (or Neighborhood) Bake-Off

TV show inspiration:The Great British Baking Show” (contestants compete for the best baked good)

"Three young girls baking in a family competition based off a tv show"

Inspired by our favorite bake-off show, this delicious Great Neighborhood Bake Off competition can be played with just one family or involve others in the production. On the TV show, contestants face three rounds of baking including signature, technical and showstopper. Choose all or one of these categories for your home version:

  • Signature is a “bake your best thing” and can be the baker's choice.
  • Technical has each baker making the same dish with the same ingredients and an intentionally vague recipe.
  • Showstopper is a themed, elaborate production designed to wow the lucky judges. Identify the theme ahead of time so bakers can prepare.

There are endless ways to adapt this. You can put time limits on each bake and have everyone participate at the same time, which can up the challenge for older kids or teens. If you’re going large-scale, multi-family, let each family know the parameters ahead of time, such as, “you will be making a signature bake, bring it to this location on this date for judging.” You can even stretch the competition out by holding one round per month to accommodate busy schedules. On your mark, get set, bake!

2) Build It, Draw It, Sing It!

TV show inspiration:Taskmaster” (contestants must complete a specific task assigned by the taskmaster)

"Little girl singing at home in a family competition based on a tv show"

This British show has participants responding to a task in incredibly creative ways. There is even a book packed with ideas for all kinds of tasks and scenarios.

Assign a taskmaster to hand out the task and act as judge, and have each competitor bring an interesting item to add to the grand prize. The taskmaster distributes the same task to each player, written down and placed in a sealed envelope. Designate an amount of time to achieve this task. The task can be very simple: Find an item the taskmaster has never seen before. Or make it complex: Write a pop song that repeats the words “pickle, boat and Jonathan” at least twice. Each player must then take a turn showing or performing their item. The taskmaster awards points on a scale of one-to-five for each task.

If you don’t want a single person to be the taskmaster, you can organize a voting system for scoring each task, and take turns coming up with tasks. If you want to involve cross-country friends and family, the tasks can be filmed and videos submitted to the taskmaster. Then arrange a viewing party via video call. Whoever ends up with the most points at the end wins the grand prize.

3) Stitch and Style: Home Couture Edition

TV show inspiration:Project Runway” (contestants must design and sew clothing)

"Boy and girl sewing in a family competition based on a tv show"

This can be a great way to repurpose old clothing, buttons, beads and even that large stack of felt squares you ordered during the pandemic. Give your participants a specific challenge and timeframe to create their garment (“You have two hours to make an outfit for your favorite stuffed animal. Go!”), and watch their creativity soar. With younger kids, you may need to act as a project assistant to help with things like hot glue, needle and thread, or the sewing machine.

On each episode, the show challenges designers to use a specific type of material or adhere to a theme. Try the same at home. Use some of those old broken toys you’ve been meaning to throw out and have an “unconventional materials” challenge.

After a walk down the “runway,” award a grand prize winner, or come up with different awards they can compete for, such as best use of recycled materials, funniest, most practical or really anything you want. Just remember to make it work!

4) Brick Builders Showdown

TV show inspiration:Lego Masters” (contestants must build specific items out of Lego)

"Dad and kids building with Legos family competition based on a tv show"

This is one of our favorites because adults and kids can get in on it. Plus, we’re betting you have plenty of materials on hand. You’ll need a host/judge and at least two competitors. If grandparents are in town you can dub them the celebrity judges. You can even do the judging over video chat.

First, decide as a group if there will be one or multiple rounds — you may want to start with just one round and see how long it takes. The host/judge picks a category that the builders will have to create out of Legos (such as a pirate ship, castle, restaurant, etc.). You can put a time limit on it or let competitors build for days.

Next, the host/judge gets to decide on a twist that should be introduced about halfway through the competition. The twist can be a bizarre Lego piece that the builders have to incorporate prominently or you can make something up such as, “Your build has to spin.” You’ll be amazed at your family’s creativity and everyone will have a blast showing off their builds.

5) Home Ninja Champion

TV show inspiration:American Ninja Warrior” (contestants try to complete a challenging obstacle course)

"Young child hoping on a hopscotch course in a family competition based on a tv show"

If you’re looking for an active challenge, you’ve found it! Create an obstacle course in your own backyard and time each participant for the fastest time. If your outdoor space isn’t big enough, head to a local playground and come up with challenges. Too dreary outside? Use masking tape to create a hop-scotch-like course and balance-beam lines, and turn your house into a warrior’s paradise (without destroying any furniture).

6) Craft Closet Cleanout

TV show inspiration:Making It” (contestants much build something specific using on-hand items)

"Two boys building a cardboard robot in a family competition based on a tv show"

In the same vein as “Project Runway,” this is a great opportunity to use materials you have on hand, including broken toys and games. On “Making It,” starring Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler, participants are challenged with creating an object or item using what they have on hand. They can design a piece of wall art, a centerpiece, a terrarium ... just about anything you can think of. You can keep it simple or get more elaborate with parameters. For example, ask your participants to make a vehicle that a monster would drive, or artwork that depicts a sport. The sky is the limit!

7) Blooming Homestead Challenge

TV show inspiration:The Big Flower Fight” (contestants make elaborate floral designs)

"Child making art with a pile of leaves in a family competition based on a tv show"

This Netflix show features floral designers competing to make objects, creatures and scenes out of flowers and living plants. While this one might be best suited to summer when the garden is blooming abundantly, it’s essentially a challenge to make something from natural materials: think leaves, acorns, sticks and flowers. Give kids free rein to create anything they want, or assign a topic or theme. For example, you might suggest they make a vehicle, a house or a ship from the materials they’ve gathered.

No matter which competition you select, remember to have fun, keep the judging light and kind, and encourage creativity. Now go turn your screen time into family-fun time!

More family fun

Get the best of ParentMap delivered right to your inbox.

Related Topics

Share this resource with your friends!