Thursday, December 27, 2012

5 simple games to spice up your holiday get togethers

Last Christmas, I was in the southern-Spanish countryside of a tiny village, volunteering in exchange for food and accommodation via HelpX on the property of Cuesta Viñas.

Myself roaming the gorgeous hills in the countryside of Válor, Granada, Spain
Myself roaming the gorgeous hills in the countryside of Válor, Granada, Spain

My Christmas day began with a jump into the pool to retrieve a balloon with my name on it: our first "Christmas game" that day.   Here are the other games we played at various times throughout the rest of the holiday, most requiring minimal household materials:

#1 Knife Drop

All you'll need for endless laughter and fun is some string, two knives, and two empty wine bottles.

Tie a piece of string to one of the knives, then tie the other end of that string around the waist of a player so that the knife hangs down their back side - over their rear.  Tie it so that the knife doesn't hang so low, since longer hanging strings are too easy.

Do the same with the other knife and string, and tie it to player #2: the opponent.  Both players race against each other to try to get their knife in the bottle first.  This requires some squatting, and is really fun to watch.

Here's a clip so you can see how Knife Drop works:

#2 Wine Bottle Walk

Using those same two wine bottles, you can play another game, which I have named "Wine bottle walk".  Mark a starting line on the floor.  We used the edge of a rug as our starting line.  Your feet must stay behind this line.  Put your hands on the bottles and walk forwards as far as you can.  Someone else should throw a coin or some sort of marker to whatever point you reach (if it's farther than the others), but it only counts if you can get back to the start line without falling.  The person to go the farthest wins.

I think after the first round of people, we all got a second chance to beat the record.  It's a lot harder than it looks!

Here's a video of Wine Bottle Walk in action:

#3 Box Bite

For this next game, all you'll need is a cardboard box.  Thinner cardboard that's easier to rip is preferable.

In the first round, everyone must bend down - without touching hands or knees to the floor - and pick up an edge of the box with their teeth.  After everyone does so, someone cuts off (or rips off) an inch from the top of the box, and thus begins round two.  As the box gets shorter and shorter, it gets harder to pick it up with your mouth.

Here's a clip of Box Bite being played on Christmas 2011:

#4 Abs Neck of Steel

Warning: Play at your own risk!  This game may cause injury (or pain) to your neck.  Most of us who tried it later wished that we hadn't! 

You'll need: two chairs and a small stool (or light piece of short furniture).

Rest your head (neck up) on one chair, put your feet on the other, and rest your rear on the short stool or end table.  When you're ready to begin, remove the stool/small furniture from underneath your tush and pass it around your waist, counting the number of times you pass it around.  

Whoever gets the highest number wins!  Many people were only getting a few before they stopped.  I think I made it to 13 or something and people were impressed.  But then this guy blew us all out of the competition:

#5 Wheelbarrow Race

This wasn't exactly the safest game to play, but our hosts had set up a wheelbarrow race after breakfast that morning.  We were put into teams of two, and two teams raced against each other at a time.

Wheelbarrow race starting line
Wheelbarrow race starting line

There was a short ramp each team had to wheel over, and then a brick at the halfway point that each team had to push around before changing directions and running back to the finish line (aka start line).

Wheelbarrow races
Wheelbarrow races
Wheelbarrow races
Wheelbarrow races

To make this safer, you could always do a wheelbarrow race without the physical wheelbarrow.  You know, where one person grabs the ankles of the other person, who walks on the ground with his or her hands.  Here's come clip art to illustrate:

Human wheelbarrow race
Human wheelbarrow race
Image Source

All of these games that I played last Christmas provided hours of entertainment!  They're so simple and require such few materials; I was surprised that I had never played most of them before.

Have you played any of these games before?  Are you going to try some at your next big get-together?  What games are always a hit at your parties?

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