Ideas for the Party Human

Posts Tagged ‘families

Cat and Rat (YC, C)–The players stand in a circle, holding hands.  One player inside the circle is the “Rat,” and another player outside the circle is the “Cat.”  The Cat tries to catch the Rat.  Players help the Rat and hinder the Cat by raising or lowering their arms and not allowing the Cat to break through the circle.  If the Cat catches the Rat, he may then choose a new Cat and Rat.

Circle Touch Ball (C, T)–The players form a circle around one player, who is “It.”  Players in the circle stand two or three feet apart and pass a playing ball–such as a basketball, volleyball or beach ball–around the circle randomly, while It tries to touch the ball.  If It succeeds, the player who had the ball, or last had the ball, will now be It.  The players, of course, try to keep the ball away from It and may use all sorts of methods to confuse It.

A variation is Circle Catch Ball, where the players use a smaller ball, and It must catch the ball, rather than merely touch it.

Cooling the Cotton (E)–You will need a large package of cotton balls; a folded paper “fan” for each player; and something to mark a central circle with, such as a rope, chalk or tape.  Divide players into two teams, placing one team at each end of the room, facing the center.  Mark a circle in the center of the floor, about three feet in diameter or larger if the party is large.  Scatter the cotton balls around in the circle.  At a signal, the players run to the center and try to fan the cotton balls across the opponents’ field to the goal line.  They must also try to keep their opponents from fanning balls to their goal line.  The cotton balls should not be touched by fan or any part of the body.  If a player does so, he fouls out of the game.  Allow about five minutes for the game.  Each cotton ball fanned across the goal is worth five points.

Cotton Ball Race (C, T, A)–Place a number of small cotton balls in a large bowl in the center of a table.  The contestants are seated around the table, blindfolded, each with a small bowl and a soup spoon.  Each player is to try to get an many of those cotton balls as he can into his own bowl.  He must hold onto his bowl with one hand and his spoon with the other hand at all times.  No one may “check” to see if he actually has a cotton ball on his spoon.  At the end of a specified amount of time, the contestant with the most cotton balls in his bowl is the winner.

Cowboys and Indians (YC, C)–Divide the children into two even teams.  The “Cowboys” go into the “woods” and “fall asleep,” leaving one Cowboy to stand watch.  The “Indians” hide in the bushes, behind trees, etc. and furtively approach the Cowboys.  If they can tag a cowboy before he gets up, he is captured.  But, if the cowboy guard sees them, he calls out, “The Indians are coming!”  The cowboys then get up and run after the Indians, trying to tag them before they get back to their “wigwams.”  Every Indian captured becomes a cowboy.  Then reverse the game, letting the Indians go to sleep while the cowboys sneak up on them.

The group names can be changed to fit almost any party theme.


Back-to-Back Race (T, A)–Set a goal line at 25, 50 or 75 yards.  Choose partners, then have each couple stand back to back.  Have them hook their arms together.  Line them up, and at the signal they must make their ways to the goal line, one running forward while his partner runs backward.  After crossing the goal line, they must return, positions reversed.  The first pair across the starting line wins.

Balloon Bust (C, T)–Tie an inflated balloon to the ankle of each participant.  Then the participants try to break the balloons of the other guests by stepping on them, while protecting their own.  The last one left with a balloon is the winner.

balloonsBalloon Race (E)–Give each contestant a ping-pong paddle and an inflated balloon.  On a signal to go, they must bat the balloons through the air to a designated goal and back to the starting line.  If a balloon falls to the ground the player must pick it up and bat it into the air again.

There are several variations to this game.  1.  You could use fans instead of paddles.  2.  You could use brooms and sweep the balloons along the floor.  3.  You could play it as a relay, with teams instead of individual contestants.

Bear Hunting (YC, C, T)–Blindfold two players and place one at either end of a long table.  At the signal to go, they begin to move around the table, each trying to catch the other.  Each player must stay within touching distance of the table.  Absolute silence on the part of audience and hunters is necessary.

Beast and Guard (C)–Choose one player to be some sort of beast (use an animal name that will go with your theme) and another to be his guard.  The beast sits on a chair in the middle of a circle of players.  The guard stands near him, holding on to his chair.  Players in the circle try to tap the beast on the knee, hands, shoulder, etc., without being touched by the guard.  The guard must keep one hand on the chair, but he can move all around it.  When a player is touched by the guard, he must take the beast’s place.  When all have had a chance at being the beast, the last one becomes the guard and chooses a new beast.

Bicycle Polo (C, T, A)–A team consists of four players, each riding a bicycle.  Similar to regular polo, the players try to drive a solid rubber ball into a goal using croquet mallets.  You may call fouls for acts of deliberate charging or ramming, etc.  The players may not touch the ball with their hands.

Blind Leapfrog (C, T, YA)–Divide the contestants into teams of an equal number and blindfold each player.  Every “frog” must leap over everyone in front of him, and the first team through wins.

Blindtown (C)–Set limits and blindfold all players except one.  Scatter the players about the playing area.  The player who is not blindfolded carries a bell which he must ring continuously, while the blindfolded players try to find and catch him.  The player who catches the “bellman” gets the bell for the next round.

Bogeyman (YC)–Choose one child to be the Bogeyman.  He stands at one end of the playing area.  The other children line up at the opposite end.  The Bogeyman steps out and calls, “Are you afraid of the Bogeyman?”  At this point, the other children run toward the Bogeyman’s side, and he tries to tag them.  The players tagged must go with the Bogeyman to the opposite side and help him catch the rest of the runners on their return trip.  The last player caught becomes the new Bogeyman.

Bucket Jousting (C, A)–You will need two buckets of equal size and two mops.  Opponents stand on the upside down buckets and try to cause the other contestant to lose balance and fall off the bucket.  Use the same method of thrusting as in canoe tilting, i.e. the jouster cannot take a swing; hitting any part of the body other than the torso or arms is a foul.

Bull in the Ring (YC, C)–Players hold hands and form a ring around one who is chosen to be the “bull.”  The bull tries to break through by rushing, lunging or pulling.  The bull may not duck under the players’ arms.  If he escapes, the players chase him; whoever catches him becomes the bull next.  (Supervision may be necessary to make sure the bull doesn’t get too rough and cause injury.)

A close variation is called “Bear in the Net.”  The formation is the same, and the object of the game is the same, except that the bear is allowed to duck under or plunge over the extended arms of the players in the ring.

Buried Treasure (C, T, YA)–Divide the group into two teams.  Designate an area for each team to operate in, each totally out of sight from the other.  Then send the teams on their way, giving each a treasure chest to bury or hide within the given area.  They are not allowed to bury the treasure deeper than six inches.  After each team has had a chance to hide its treasure, have them exchange locales and see which team can find the other’s buried treasure first.

THEME:  Golden Wedding Anniversary Ball, for a large group

INVITATIONS:  These should look formal, printed on parchment paper in gold lettering, if possible.  Be sure to tell the guests what type of dress and whether dinner will be served.  (A fun idea might be to make it a costume ball and have everyone try to dress in formal attire of 50 years ago.)

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  You will need a ballroom or cultural hall, of course, and some type of music, preferably a band.  You will also need seating and tables for gifts and food.  If you are serving dinner, you should have tables for the guests as well.  Be sure to have a small table with a guest register.  You might have a specially decorated place for the guests of honor to sit, and you may need some props or instruments for the floor show.

FOOD:  If you are serving a dinner, it should either be the honored couple’s favorite food or food typical of the year they were married.  Use the same guidelines when serving simply refreshments, but also consider using gold color wherever you can, such as in a punch made with cider or ginger ale.  Whatever you do, be sure to have an elaborate wedding-style cake in gold and white.

DECORATIONS:  Keep them elegant and keep them gold.  Of course there are balloons and streamers, but perhaps you could also make flowers with gold tissue paper, or cut hearts and bells out of gold paper.  A mirror ball with golden lighting on it would be effective for the dancing.  If you have tables for the guests to sit at, cover them with simple white cloths, but let your centerpiece be gold.  Perhaps a gold rose or carnation in a clear glass vase, or a medium-sized box gift-wrapped in gold, sitting on a mirror tile and littered with gold curly or wired ribbon and gold confetti.  Or, if there is a particular subject or hobby that the couple is known for, try to use that in your centerpiece.  You may want an archway for the couple to walk through as they lead the Grand Promenade.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:   As the guests arrive, ask them to sign the guest register and add any comments they would like to make.  If you are serving dinner, start out with that, and when it’s time for the dancing, begin with a Grand Promenade around the ballroom, led by the honored husband and wife, followed by their children, grandchildren and other guests.  Then the honored couple leads off the first waltz (or whatever dance they prefer, perhaps “their song”).  During the dancing, refreshments are available, and when the band takes a break, the couple’s family members could give an entertaining floor show or present a special award to their esteemed progenitors.

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THEME:  Similar to the old TV show, a review of the couple’s married life–great for 50th Anniversary

INVITATIONS:  Make photocopies of the couple’s wedding picture and send it in a cardstock frame made to look like a television set.  Give particulars on back of frame.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  You will need adequate seating for your guests, facing a stage or performance area.  You might want comfortable chairs on the stage for the honored couple and any special mystery guests.  You may also need stereo equipment or instruments, depending on what you want to do.  Also, make sure to video-record the event.

FOOD:  Most practical is simply to serve refreshments, but make sure they are favorites of the honored couple.  You might try making a two-tiered cake, with bride-and-groom figures on the bottom layer and golden-anniversary figures on the top.  Decorate with gold or the couple’s favorite colors.

DECORATIONS:  Try to give the atmosphere of a television studio. Signs indicating stars’ dressing rooms, Quiet Please, etc.; spotlights, and a director’s chair might help.  But you can also decorate in gold (if it’s a 50th anniversary) with streamers, balloons, flowers, etc.  Gold or silver confetti on the floor might be a nice touch. You might obtain various photographs of the couple taken throughout their marriage, have them enlarged to poster size and hang them on walls around the room.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  This celebration will take a lot of work for someone (probably one of the couple’s children), but it will be well worth it as a cherished memory is made.  As the guests arrive, seat them in the audience area.  The honored couple take their places in special seats on the stage, and the show begins.  The emcee is probably their oldest child, and he takes his cue from the old television show of the same name, introducing voices and then persons from his parents’ memories.  If the actual people themselves cannot attend, their voices may be recorded over the phone.  The voices do not have to be those of people whom the couple haven’t seen in a long time; children and grandchildren can be involved, too, in helping their parents or grandparents relive some pleasant memories.  After the “show,” give a round of applause for the couple and serve the refreshments.

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THEME:  It seems that someone long ago has already picked out themes for wedding anniversaries.  Here’s the list:

1 year              Paper

5 years            Wood

10 years           Tin

15 years          Crystal

20 years          China

25 years           Silver

50 years           Gold

75 years           Diamond

INVITATIONS:  Take your cue from the theme, and if you can’t make the invitations out of the medium suggested, then use pictures of crystal, china, etc.  Silver or gold paper could be used for those anniversaries, and invitations to a Diamond Wedding could be diamond-shaped.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  The point of an anniversary party is to honor the couple who have kept their marriage alive for a number of years.  The most common anniversary celebrations given are those referred to as the Golden Weddings.  Previous to the 50th anniversary, it is perfectly acceptable to give a party for the couple, but it is usually not as large an affair as the Golden Wedding.

For those smaller celebrations, it may be best to invite a small group of family members and perhaps some very close friends.  Try to choose games that might go with the theme, such as word games for Paper, a nature walk and tree identification game for Wood, a hobo party with appropriate games for Tin, fortunetelling in a crystal ball for Crystal, a Chinese party with authentic games from China for the China anniversary, and games involving silverware such as Potato Relay and Spoons for the Silver Wedding.

For the more common Golden Wedding anniversary, there are usually quite a large number of people in attendance.  For this reason, games like those suggested above are generally impractical.  The traditional anniversary celebration is something like a Mock Wedding Reception.  For this type of celebration, you don’t need very many materials for activities.  You’ll need a decorated area for the reception line, a table for gifts, chairs and tables for food and guests, and equipment needed for musical numbers and/or speeches.

FOOD:  For the smaller gatherings, try to serve some favorite food of the honored couple, especially if you are having a dinner.  Often, a specially decorated cake is served for dessert, and these can be made to fit the theme.  For paper, bake the cake in the open-book pan available at craft and cake-decorating stores; it can be the book of their life together.  For Wood, try decorating a sheet cake with a family tree.  Tin could mean small, individual cakes baked in tin cans.  For Crystal, try decorating a wedding-type cake with little crystals from chandeliers.  For China, bake a round layer cake and decorate the top to look like their first china pattern.  For Silver, decorate with silver paper leaves and the little silver balls used on wedding cakes.  For Diamond, cut cake into a diamond shape before frosting.

For the Mock Wedding Reception at a golden wedding celebration, have a large cake much like a wedding cake, accented with gold decor.  You might have a golden punch made with apple juice and ginger ale, and, instead of colored mints, you could have lemon drops in the candy dish.

DECORATIONS:  For the smaller, earlier celebrations, take your decorating cue from the theme.  For Paper, use lots of paper streamers, etc.  For Wood, gather and display as many wooden objects as possible.  Set potted trees around.  For Tin, decorate with tin cans, shorn of their labels.  For Crystal, be sure to display wedding crystal and decorate with crystal prisms.  For China, display different patterns of china–or, for a play on words, decorate in Chinese style.  For Silver, display silver items and use silver-colored decorations.  For Diamond, you can again use lots of prisms, such as those hanging from chandeliers.

For the Mock Wedding Reception, decorate in gold and white, with plenty of flowers, paper wedding bells, or whatever suits you.  Be sure to have a backdrop, such as a lattice garden archway, for the reception line.  Perhaps you could have the couple’s favorite love songs playing softly in the background during the reception line.  Set up an elegant table for refreshments and another for gifts, if gifts are expected.  Also, set the appropriate number of round tables and chairs around the room.  Centerpieces could be single white roses in bud vases tied with gold ribbons.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:       If you wish to play games at your anniversary celebration, choose any that suit you. (Later posts will detail a number of games.) However, if your party is an intimate, “family only” affair, we can suggest one activity that will assure a heartwarming, memorable time with loved ones.

We call this activity “Reverie,” for that is just the type of mood it is meant to create.  It is basically a time of sharing old memories, but if you need some help jump-starting the trip down memory lane, you can write some words or phrases of people, places, things, animals, and actions on 3″x5″ cards and have participants draw cards and think of a memory about the word(s) on their cards.   You can get these from dictionaries, other games, books or your own imaginative memories.

A Mock Wedding Reception is very much what it sounds like:  The honored couple stands (or sits) in a reception line, with children and grandchildren if possible, and welcomes the guests as they come through the line.  Gifts are piled on a gift table.  After going through the line, guests get something to eat and mingle.  Musical numbers may be presented as solos or duets.  When the reception line has ended, the honored husband and wife cut a cake, and they may open their presents as well.  Sometimes a dance is held.

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Wedding Anniversary Celebrations are not as common as other types of parties, but often the family will wish to mark the Silver or Golden Wedding anniversaries.  The following parties are focused toward those types of celebrations, but any of them could be adapted to use for smaller anniversary parties.

THEME: Neighborliness, South-of-the-Border Christmas Customs

INVITATIONS: Cut construction paper in the shape of a sombrero (or other Mexican symbol) and color appropriately. Write the message on the back, using a sprinkling of Spanish words, something like:

“Holá, Amigos! Come to our casa on (date) at (time) for una fiesta buena, Southwestern-style. We’ll have a supper buffet, then a piñata for the children, so bring the whole familia and celebrate for a Feliz Navidad!”

This is designed as sort of a block party, but you could invite relatives, co-workers and their families or friends from church as well. The idea is basically that it be for families.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES: A piñata filled with candies and small toys; ceiling hook and string; blindfold; plastic baseball or whiffleball bat; small paper sacks; parting gifts of food or crafts, wrapped or in decorative tins, jars or baskets.

FOOD: Some ideas for the Southwestern buffet might be salsa with flour tortilla and blue corn chips, chicken enchiladas,  Black Beans, and tamales. The best beverage might just be ice water or seltzer, to help combat the spiciness, or perhaps some sparkling apple cider or grape juice. For dessert, try cinnamon crispas, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Three Kings Ring, or oranges with peppermints stuck in them.  Serve this help-yourself buffet in rustic pottery with colorful Southwestern fabric as a backdrop.

DECORATIONS: Line the walk to your door with luminarias. These can be purchased or made out of paper sacks 1/3 filled with sand. Cut out a design in the sacks, if desired. Place votive candles in the sand and light.

Inside, have everything very colorful and festive. Be sure to have poinsettias about, but out of reach of small children. You could use a decorating motif like the Three Kings, creches or poinsettias. Hang colorful streamers and balloons in the large clear area where the piñata will be broken. The piñata itself may be purchased or made using strips of newspaper and wheat paste to cover a large, inflated balloon or other shape framed with wire, newspaper and masking tape. When the paper maché is dry, cut a hole on the top just large enough for putting the candy and toys in. Fill, then tape the cover back over the hole. Decorate with paint and/or crepe paper.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  When the neighbors arrive, you (the hostess) take their coats and hand them plates to fill up at the buffet. After dinner, give each of the children small paper sacks to take into the piñata room. The piñata is hung on a string, run through the ceiling hook. Stand back, holding the other end of the string so you may raise and lower the piñata at will. Blindfold the youngest child first and give her the bat. Everyone stands well out of the way as the child gets five chances to break the piñata. If she doesn’t break it, then the next youngest tries and so forth until the oldest gets unlimited chances. When the piñata breaks, everyone cries ” Olé!” and the children scramble to fill their sacks. As the guests leave, give each family a homemade parting gift, such as a jar of jam or a crafted decoration.

Variations and Comments: We remember our parents giving a party similar to this for the neighborhood when we were small. For the piñata, we covered a large balloon with papier maché, then painted a Santa Claus face on it when it dried. We added a cotton ball beard and a red paper hat, and the result was charming and original.

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