Gameplay Ideas

20 Gameplay Ideas for Family Players of Sims 4

A breakdown of some of my favorite activities that keep my sim families happy, connected and having fun!

It’s no secret that I love family gameplay. It’s what I do. I create a sim, get their life going, have them fall in love, get married, have babies — not always in this particular order — but you get the picture. So one question I get asked all the time from other simmers who also enjoy the legacy lifestyle but can’t quite figure out how to keep their sims’ lives, well, lively is what my sims actually do when I’m in game.

Sims 4, compared to its predecessors, requires a lot of imagination from the player. This makes it kinda hard to keep the motivation going especially on weekends when the whole family is home from work/school and waiting for you to give them something to do. Fortunately, I have some ideas! 20 to be exact! So keep reading for a list of fun activities to incorporate into your sims’ lives.

Some of the activities listed here requires or recommends the use of mods and/or CC, so if you’re new to installing custom content, check out this step-by-step guide.

Also be aware that I own all of the packs (with the exception of Journey to Batuu) so many of them will be mentioned here.

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1. Backyard Camping

Instead of traveling all the way to Granite Falls for the yearly family camping trip, pitch a tent (or two) in the backyard and have a little camping adventure right at your sims’ house! Grab some snacks, a radio, maybe even a few books and make it a memorable night with the family. If your sims happen to own a fire pit (or you hop in buy mode to get one for them real quick) they can roast hot dogs or marshmallows and tell a few ghost stories to get everyone in the campfire spirit.

Packs needed: Base Game, Outdoor Retreat

2. Lemonade Sale

So it’s Summer time and the kids are bored at home with nothing to do. On top of that, they’ve been begging for an allowance but their parents are not trying to hear it. Well fortunately for them, they have the opportunity to make their own money by running a lemonade stand! With this Lemonade mod by icy-spicy-scalpel, kids (or any other sim, teen-elder) can set up and run a lemonade stand just like they do on TV!

*If you really want the ability to give your sim kiddies allowance, check out the Allowance Mod by ScarletsMods. I personally use this one for my gameplay and I love it.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living

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3. Picnic in the Park

Pack up your family, some BLTs or veggie burgers and head to the park for a family picnic! After a full afternoon of play, have your family settle in for lunch using this picnic set by imadako. With cushions and shirts that function as chairs, your sims can enjoy the rest of their outing relaxing in the grass together. This set also comes with a custom drink tray which has options like: hot coffee, hot tea, cold water, cold juice and other various mixtures. For pre-lunch activities, your sims can participate in things like: playing on the playground equipment for kids and toddlers, basketball and chess for everyone!

Packs needed: Base Game, Backyard Stuff (for drink tray functionality)

4. Sunday Dinner with the Grandparents

Once my sims’ develop a schedule and have their routines down pat, I’m super guilty of neglecting the rest of the family. Days and days (which are like years in sim time) can go by before I even realize that its been a good minute since we’ve seen Grandma or Grandpa. If you’re guilty of this too, scheduling Sunday Dinners with extended family is a perfect way for everyone to keep in touch and get that much needed family time together. If you have Seasons installed, you can even place the dinner on the calendar as a non-goaled dinner party so that you and your sims don’t forget. Unless your sims have the ‘Always Welcome’ reward trait or you’re using a mod like, More Welcome (scroll down to ‘morewelcome’) by bienchen83, that prevents normal activities like cooking and sleeping from being perceived as inappropriate, I suggest having your sims prepare the dinner at their house and take it with them to Grandma’s. However, if you truly want the ‘made by grandma experience’, you can download Ask to Cook for Me by LittleMsSam which allows your sim to ask any other sim to cook a meal for them. This is very useful when you want to serve a meal that’s higher than your sim’s skill level.

Packs needed: Base Game, Seasons (for calendar functionality)

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5. Sleepover

Sleepovers are a great way to keep the party going way into the night! Now, the sleepover mechanics in the game are a little wonky with sims almost never actually going to sleep or sneaking out before the night is over but with the Memorable Events Mod (one of my personal favorites) by kawaiistacie, sleepover guests will actually stay the full night and even participate in a few sleepover style activities. Have your child sim invite a few friends over to watch movies, dance, pull pranks, gossip, pillow fight (yes, that’s an actual interaction that comes with the mod) all night! Also perfect for adult sims who want to spend the night partying with friends or woohooing cuddling with their significant other.

Packs needed: Base Game

6. Class Field Trip

A perfect opportunity for a full day of education! Have your child or teen sim and at least one parent, take the day off of school/work and spend the day at an educational facility. This could be a museum, art gallery, library, park, basically anywhere learning can take place! This is another activity where the Memorable Events mod comes in handy but can also be pulled off without it. If you choose to use the mod, teachers and other students will automatically spawn at the location of the field trip for the parent and student sim to socialize with. If you don’t use the mod, just be sure to invite out other sims to the field trip location to simulate an actual field trip. And don’t forget to pack a lunch!

Packs needed: Base Game, Parenthood (for sack lunch capability)

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7. D.I.Y. After School Club

Child and teen sims that aren’t into drama and wouldn’t be caught dead in a scouts uniform — still need something to do after school — but those, unfortunately, are the only two after school activities we have, meaning you’re out of options, right? Wrong! You can create your own using the club feature from Get Together! With your child’s interests in mind, create a club with or without requirements (like age, trait, skill, etc…), add a few friends or other sims within their age group, set a location, some club activities and you’re good to go! In my personal gameplay, (using this method) my teen, who has the genius and geek traits, is apart of the school’s S.T.E.M. program where they meet three times a week at the neighborhood library aka the ‘S.T.E.M. Academy’ and focus on building logic, rocket science and programming skills. For extra customization, I recommend using the More Club and Holiday Icons mod by Zerbu which adds additional icons (all extracted from the game) to the club icon chooser menu.

Packs needed: Base Game, Get Together

8. Bowling + Pizza Night

Bowling makes for a fun night — especially for sims a little on the competitive side. At the bowling alley, sims (kids-elder) can challenge each other to a few rounds of bowling with the winner announced at the end of the the game. Like most other skills in Sims 4, your sims will get better overtime and even learn some cool trick shots to show off in front of their friends. Once the game is over, treat the family to pizza! A whole pizza isn’t actually served at any of the community lots in the game so the easiest way to make this happen would be to 1) have a sim order a pizza before leaving the house and bring it with them in their inventory or 2) have a sim bake a pizza using one of the custom pizza recipes, which currently includes, Buffalo Pizza and Three Cheese Pizza, from the Grannie’s Recipe Book by LittlBowBub and bring it with them in their inventory.

To make this outing more enjoyable, I also recommend, the More Fun Stuff mod by LittleMsSam that allows sims to gain social and fun while bowling with each other.

Packs needed: Base Game, Bowling Stuff

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9. Farmer’s Market

This one’s perfect for your country or off-the-grid living sims. Just plop a sales table down at the park and fill it up with your sim’s fresh baked goods. Things like bread loaves, cakes, muffins even roasted turkey dinners can be sold for a profit. You can also sell produce from the garden. Couple this with Idea #2 (Lemonade Sale) to get the whole family involved.

To start a sale, drag the items you would like to sell from your sim’s inventory to the sales table then click ‘Stock Table’. The items will then spawn on the table. Click the table to set the markup price amount (if you want to increase your earning possibility) followed by ‘Tend Table’ then ‘Start Street Sale’. For best results, place the table in areas that are crowded. It takes a while but customers will show up eventually.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living (for the sale’s table)

10. Day at the Beach

A day at the beach is a great way to unwind and have some fun during the summer season! Toddler sims can play in the water, build sand castles and play in the sand while the older family members can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, riding on jet skis, combing for beach shells and all the other activities the beach has to offer. Idea #3 (Picnic in the Park) also works great on beaches and are a perfect way to end the day.

Packs needed: Base Game, Island Living

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11. School Trip Abroad

Vacations are a perfect way for sims to explore and learn about other cultures and a school trip abroad is a great way to facilitate that. Send a few teen sims (with or without an adult) or a few child sims accompanied by an adult to the destination of your choice. Have them rent a housing unit suitable for the number of sims in the group then send them out exploring. Let them experience the local cuisine and participate in cultural events. Have them take photos and write in their journals to document their experience. When they return home, they can tell their parents all about the trip!

Packs needed: Base Game, Outdoor Retreat, Jungle Adventure, Island Living or Snowy Escape — Depending on the destination

12. Seasonal Festivals

One thing I reeeeaaaaallllly miss from Sims 3 are the festivals that came around every season. Sims 4, unfortunately, does not have seasonal festivals but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own! These Seasonal Festival lots by Moonlightowl-es have everything you need to throw your own festival each season. To have these festivals become a permanent part of your sim’s lives, add them as holidays to the household calendar. On the day of the festival have your family and a group of friends travel to the festival lot for a day (or night) of fun activities. This is another activity where the Memorable Events mod comes in handy as it allows you to throw ‘Seasonal Parties’ which are perfect for this kind of event.

Packs needed: Base Game, Seasons

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13. Movie Night

Pop some popcorn, dim the lights and gather around the TV for a movie night! If the weather permits (and your sims can afford it, *coughs* motherlode) place a projector screen in the backyard for a change of scenery that I’m sure your sims will appreciate. Teen sims might also enjoy snuggling up with their crush while watching the premier of College Cram, during movie night at the park. To make this event even more special and unlock some cute interactions, plan a ‘Movie Night’ using the Memorable Events mod.

Packs needed: Base Game, Movie Hangout

14. Painting/Arts + Crafts Class

The Arts Center provides the perfect atmosphere for families to let go and fully embrace their creative talents! Kids can use the activity table to draw original works of art or make seasonal crafts and adults can try their hand at painting. Sims of all ages can work on their musical skills using any of the instruments available at the facility. To finish off the outing, sims can enjoy lunch together at one of the marketstalls located right in the Arts Quarter, if playing in San Myshuno. If playing in any other world, a marketstall of your choice can be placed right on the property. I recommend the Free Staff mod by LittleMsSam to make hiring a vendor free (also works for baristas, chefs and bartenders) or the Auto Employees mod also by LittleMsSam that automatically spawns employees on the property as soon as you arrive.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living

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15. Karaoke Competition

Sims with high singing skills deserve the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world! And this is exactly what the karaoke competition is for! Have your family head out to the karaoke bar on Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday nights to support the family star as they sing their heart out for the title and cash prize! Just be sure to make it there by 8pm to enter the competition.

FYI. Karaoke competitions aren’t locked to San Myshuno and are automatically held at any karaoke bar in any world on the above mentioned nights.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living

16. Family Yoga Class

This one is more for adult sims with teen children since kids can’t use the yoga mats but a yoga class is a great way for families to bond while increasing their wellness and fitness skills. Have the family head down to the gym or spa (ones that include yoga mats) to participate in this event. If the weather is nice and your sims would prefer outdoor classes instead, place an instructor’s yoga mat along with a few regular yoga mats at any park and a yoga instructor will spawn automatically and host classes every 30 sim minutes.

Packs needed: Base Game, Spa Day

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17. Ultimate Gaming Competition

The arcade is the perfect place for this kind of event! Geek sims (or non-geek sims) and their friends can gather at the local arcade and put their gaming skills to the test. Order a few snacks from the bar and play a few rounds to see who’s the real ultimate gaming champ!

Packs needed: Base Game

18. Family Reunion Celebration

One of my favorite things about playing a legacy is getting to see sims across different generations meet up and interact with each other. When caught up in the day to day though, with jobs and school and aspiration stuff, it’s easy to forget to take time out to have the entire family spend time together. To make this a regular thing that all sims can look forward to, add this special event to the calendar. Each season, have all members of your sim family spend time together doing something different. Whether it be an egg hunt in the Spring, vacation to Sulani in the Summer, family bonfire in the Fall or snowboarding in Mr. Komorebi in the Winter, your sims will appreciate bonding with each other throughout every season.

Packs needed: Base Game, Seasons (for calendar functionality)

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19. Family Adventure in the Jungle

When you think of an adventure in the jungle, I’m pretty sure the first thing that comes to mind are adults, right? Well, did you know that kids can go on adventures too and are actually pretty useful? Finding hidden treasures in dig and other excavation sites is where they really shine and can help take some of the pressure off the parents who are hard at work clearing paths or solving puzzles. At the end of the trip, with personal and household inventories full of riches, your family of archaeologists will be proud of all that they accomplished together, as a family.

Packs needed: Base Game, Jungle Adventures

20. Backyard BBQ

Backyard BBQs are one of my favorite and one of the easiest summer activities for my sims! There’s barely any set up and it’s a perfect opportunity for bonding with family and friends. Just throw some burgers on the grill, play some music on the outdoor radio and place a few water activities such as: a water balloon bucket (for water balloon fights), water slide, pool or sprinklers and invite over friends and/or extended family. To make this a permanent event in your sim’s lives, make this day a holiday and add it to the household calendar. For even more fun (if space allows) place a dance floor and have sims challenge each other to a dance competition. Sims will enjoy watching and cheering on their favorite.

Packs needed: Base Game, Backyard Stuff, Seasons

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And that’s it for now! What are some of your favorite family activities for your game? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Simming,
-India

credits: icy-spicy-scalpel, bienchen83, imadako, kawaiistacie, zerbu, littlemssam, bienchen83, littlbowbub, moonlightowl-es, scarletsmods


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For more mod recommendations to go along with those suggested in this article, check out the link below:

Mod Recommendations


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