Walk This Way

Walk This Way

For after-school fun, here’s a fast-walking, baseball-inspired game with a silly twist.

What you’ll need

  • 4 bases
  • 4 or more players

How to play

  1. Setup: Place the bases in a baseball diamond configuration.
  2. Choose two teams and have both line up at home. Before play starts, decide which team will walk clockwise and which will go counterclockwise.
  3. On the count of three, one player from each team sets off around the bases, walking heel-toe — one foot placed directly in front of the other — as quickly as that strange gait allows.
  4. When the two walking players meet on the diamond, they stop and play a quick game of rock, paper, scissors. The winner continues around the bases, while the other player turns around and runs home.
  5. The next player in his team then starts walking heel-toe around the bases to head off the advancing opponent and try to stop him with rock, paper, scissors. When a walker makes it home, her team wins a point and two new players come up to “bat.”
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Captain’s Calling

Captain's Calling

Simon Says meets the seven seas in this sea-themed game.

What you’ll need

  • Nothing
  • 3 or more players

How to play

  1. Setup: Creating a list of seafaring commands might help the first captain, but it isn’t necessary. Some examples: Pull up the lifeboats, Take down the sails, Walk the plank, Mop the decks, Scan the horizon, Cast a fishing rod, Dance a jig.
  2. First choose a captain. Each round begins with the players standing at attention, giving crisp salutes. When the captain calls out “At ease,” the players can drop their hands to their sides.
  3. The captain begins to call out sailing-themed commands, and the players pretend to do them — but only if the captain has first called out “Attention!” and they have saluted. If a player follows a command when he was supposed to be at ease, it’s man overboard for him. The last crew member left standing wins and becomes the new captain.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Newspaper Sumo

Newspaper Sumo

Here’s a fun, safe and easy way to get into the sumo ring.

What you’ll need

  • A sheet of newspaper

How to play

  1. Players: 2, plus a moderator
  2. Where to play: Pretty much anywhere
  3. Setup: Place an open sheet of newspaper on the floor.
  4. Object: To push your opponent off the paper with your rear end.
  5. How to play: Players stand on opposite edges of the newspaper with their backs to each other. The moderator asks a question (“What year were you born?” “What’s the capital of Oklahoma?”). The first player to answer correctly takes a half step back. The moderator continues to ask questions until the players’ heels are touching. When the moderator says “Go,” the players use their rear ends to try to push their opponent off the newspaper — without turning around or using their hands. The first player off the paper loses.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Pass the Parcel

Pass the Parcel

Meika W., who played this game at Camp Laurel in Maine, has fond memories of it. “I love Pass the Parcel. I remember having to do some hysterical things — serenading my counselor, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a Porky Pig voice while standing on my head and chewing gum. I never won the candy bar, I don’t think. But who cares?”

A cross between hot potato and musical chairs, Pass the Parcel is the quintessential icebreaker that gives everyone the opportunity to be silly. This homespun version is great for birthday parties, family reunions, or just some after-dinner fun.

What you’ll need

  • Large chocolate bar or another prize that everyone can share
  • Black marker
  • Brown grocery bags, at least two per player
  • Radio or CD player

How to play

  1. To prepare, put the prize in a bag and write the following on the bag’s front: “Share with everyone after you make someone in the circle laugh without talking or tickling.”
  2. Stuff the bag inside another and write a different silly task on the front of the second bag, such as “Sing ‘Row Your Boat’ while doing jumping jacks” or “Pretend to make and eat a 3-foot-tall peanut butter sandwich.” (We have more suggestions here.)
  3. Repeat this stuffing and labeling until you have at least two tasks per player, then pack the finished parcel in an unlabeled grocery bag.
  4. To play, have everyone sit in a circle, then play music while the group passes the parcel.
  5. Stop the music, and whoever is holding the parcel pulls off one bag, reads aloud the task that’s revealed, then stands in the middle of the circle and performs that task.
  6. Repeat this process until the final bag has been revealed.
  7. After the final task is performed, everyone can share the prize from the parcel’s center.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Psychic Scavenger Hunt

Psychic Scavenger Hunt

This variation of the classic party game has a mind-blowing twist: competitors have to guess which items they’re supposed to find.

What you’ll need

  • 5-10 objects that can easily be found in a room (bowl, brush, bottle, etc.)

How to play

  1. One player writes out a secret list of 5 to 10 objects that can easily be found in a room, such as a bowl, a brush, and a bottle.
  2. He then announces the number of objects he’s looking for, and the other family members have one minute to gather that same number of items.
  3. If anyone brings an object that’s on the list, she gets a point. And, of course, players have to put their items away before the next round. Our testers especially liked varying the game by limiting the objects to things that begin with the same letter or are a certain shape.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Sardines

Sardines
Ages preschooler

This game reverses the rules of hide and seek—one person hides and the rest look for him.

What you’ll need

  • Nothing

How to play

  1. Players count to one hundred while one child hides. The search party then breaks up to looking.
  2. As each player finds “It,” they squeeze into the hiding place until the spot is jammed with kids.
  3. When the last person finds the hiding place, that kid gets to start a new game by hiding first.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Unfreeze a Friend

Unfreeze a Friend
Ages school-age

Help kids hone their sense of balance and coordination with a game from Playworks (playworks.org), a national nonprofit that promotes play and physical activity by providing coaches and training for schools and families.
Number of players: 3+
Equipment: 1 beanbag per player

 

How to play

  1. Pick a leader, then have each player balance a beanbag on his or her head.
  2. When the leader calls out an action — walk, hop, skip, and the like — every player must move as directed while keeping the beanbag on her head (no hands please!). If a beanbag falls, that player must “freeze” until another person picks it up for him (players can hold their beanbag in place while they’re helping others).
  3. If all players are frozen at once, pick a new leader and start again. Periodically change leaders until everyone gets a turn.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

On Target

On Target
Ages school-age

Game fans of a certain age might recall playing lawn darts with heavy, metal-tipped projectiles, which were banned (thank goodness) back in 1988. Our homemade version, made of sand-filled plastic bags, takes away the danger but retains the fun.
The game is played like horseshoes. Place the rope targets on the ground about 35 feet apart (shorten the distance for younger players). Two teams of one or two players stand next to one target and take turns lobbing their darts toward the other target. Players throw a dart by holding it by the fringe and tossing it underhand. A team gets 3 points for each dart that lands at least halfway inside the target, 1 point if their dart is nearest to, but outside the target. The first team to get 21 points wins.

What you’ll need

  • 4 plastic shopping bags
  • Duct tape in 2 colors
  • 2 cups sand
  • 4 cable ties at least 6 inches long
  • Scissors
  • 2 5-foot lengths of rope (we used 5/8-inch plastic rope)

How to play

  1. 1
    For each of the four darts, lay one shopping bag flat on a table. Fold one bottom corner up to meet one side of the bag and secure it with a strip of duct tape, folding the tape around the seam, as shown (A).
  2. 2
    Cover the front and back of the triangular section of the bag with additional duct tape (B).
  3. 3
    Fill the taped section with 1/2 cup of sand. Gather up the bag, twist it, and secure the twist tightly with a cable tie (C). Trim the tie’s end.
  4. Trim the bag’s top to 4 or 5 inches above the tie. Snip the bag’s top into thick fringe, making sure your cuts stop at least a half inch from the tie.
  5. 4
    For the two targets, form the rope pieces into circles and join their ends with duct tape.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Play Tic-Tac-Stone

Play Tic-Tac-Stone
Ages preschooler

Turn a spot in your yard into a giant version of the classic paper-and-pencil game tic-tac-toe. Stone pavers laid into the lawn in a checkered pattern create the playing board. Youngsters can help by turning smooth rocks into playing pieces with paint.

What you’ll need

  • 5 square stone pavers (we found our 7-inch-square variety at Lowe’s)
  • Trowel or shovel
  • Paint
  • 10 smooth, clean stones

How to play

  1. To make the board, arrange the pavers where you’d like them on the lawn. Then, using them as templates, cut through the sod with a trowel or shovel. Remove the pavers, dig up the sod, and replace the pavers.
  2. For playing pieces, paint Xs and Os on 10 smooth, clean stones.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Tacos & Bridges

Tacos & Bridges
Ages all-ages

A whole lot of silliness ensues in this crazy musical chairs-style game.
Number of players: At least 7, but not a number divisible by 3.

Variations:Make spaghetti — two players are noodles, sitting with legs outstretched, feet touching; the third sits in the middle as the meatball.

How to play

  1. Choose one person to be the caller. At “Go,” the whole group mills about the play area, until the caller yells out “Tacos” or “Bridges.” All players, including the caller, must then scramble to get into a three-person taco or bridge formation (see illustrations). Whichever player is not in a trio becomes the new caller.
    Taco: Two players hold hands to be the taco shell, and a third player stands between them as the filling.
    Bridge: Two players make an arch for the bridge, and a third player crouches beneath them as the water.
Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine