This jar of questions


This jar of questions has brought a lot of smiles to our dinner table. It is filled with a good 100 or so questions or fill-in- the-blank statements. Without a doubt, it serves the purpose of initiating silly, creative, and interesting family conversations. Our six year old loves to show off her reading skills and will gladly take on the job of reading the cards out loud. When this jar is empty, I will absolutely create new questions, but I have learned a few tips along the way.

I looked to Pinterest to come up with the questions. Searching “dinner questions” will bring up a thorough selection. I thought that it would be important that the print outs were visually attractive…but the reality is that the kids don’t even notice (mistake #1). My mistake #2 was not reading the questions before I printed them (seems obvious now) to ensure they were age appropriate. Some are definitely targeted for a different age group. If you choose to create your own list of questions, my third tip would be to create your list in straight lined columns using “columns” feature in Word or Pages or use a spreadsheet or even use a business card template. That way your paper cutter can handle the job of quickly cutting the page into individual cards, or ask your preschool or school-aged child to cut the questions into cards. When my kids are involved in the making of a project, they are even more eager to participate.

The favorites in our household have been:

If you could be an animal, what would you be?

What do you want to be for Halloween?

Give the person to your left a compliment.

Tell us about your dream vacation.

What activity would you like our family to do more of?

Over and over, we are reminded as caregivers of the importance of family conversation. But if you are like me, I am terrible at coming up with a variety of questions spontaneously, especially the questions that bring out engaging conversation and do not prompt a simple “yes” or “no” answer. This is a big benefit to the pre-planned jar of questions! Fill a pretty blue mason jar or a Mosaic Tea Tin or a Tunis Storage Canister like these with the questions and then you have table decorations that do not need to be hidden in the cupboard.

Last night, the question was “If you could travel to any place in the world right now, where would you go?” and I was reminded about my husband’s dreams: golfing in Scotland, Oktoberfest in Germany…. So, this little jar has not only been a good source of conversation from the little ones in the family, but it also draws out the thoughts, dreams and beliefs of the big ones in the house.