Monday, December 24, 2012

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Party: Games

We needed games that were old-fashioned, simple, and suitable for large groups of various ages. I thought 3-legged races sounded fun and remembered wheelbarrow races from childhood.   Puzzles, tag, and dice have been around forever.  The card puzzles were made using Christmas cards we've saved through the years, and Pass the Present is similar to the classic game of musical chairs.

Christmas Card Puzzles ~ Ideal for Young Children
Cut Christmas cards into 4 pieces each. Mix them up face down, and give one piece to each player. On go, players must find the other pieces to their card. First group to put their card together wins.  Add or remove sets each round according to the number of players.  The backs were numbered such that a final winner could be chosen by randomly calling out a number between 1 and 4.

Three-Legged and Wheelbarrow Races
Players pair up for 3-legged and wheelbarrow races. For 3-legged races, tie ankles together using a bandana. One puts his arm around the other's shoulders to help maintain stability. For wheelbarrow races, one player holds the other's ankles while he runs on his hands.

Sock Tag
Each players tucks a sock into the back of his pants with part of it hanging down like a tail. Everyone runs around and tries to pull each other's sock. Last one with a sock wins. This game has a problem with children wanting to stand against the walls to protect their socks or team up to go after individual players. A firm leader is needed to keep it fair.

Pass the Present ~ Ideal for All Ages
Similar to musical chairs. A wrapped gift is passed while music is playing.  Player caught holding the present when the music stops is out. Last player left wins. It's important that the person operating the music have his back to the players so that he can stay completely impartial.

A Bit Dicey ~ Ideal for Older Kids
Each player places a single popsicle stick in his mouth. When the timer starts, players pick up dice and vertically stack them, one at a time, on the end of the stick. The dice cannot rest against the nose or touch any part of the face. If a die is dropped, player may take a replacement from his pile to use in its place. First player to stack all his dice or to stack the most after 60 seconds wins.

I didn't have a chance to visit the gym where most of the games took place, but Greg said they went well with the exception of the dice game.  Whenever the dice fell - which happens a lot - they would go bouncing and scattering everywhere.  In fact, 5 didn't make it back!  Lol!  I had imagined the students would be sitting but found out later they were standing, which probably exacerbated the bouncing and scattering problem.  This game has great potential, but I'd recommend playing it sitting down on carpet.

A major highlight of the party was to be the prize table. I wanted items that were worth winning and representational of the past, which I was hoping would make the experience a little more educational.  Manning the table involved taking tickets, giving demos, answering questions, and best of all: sitting down!  A perfect job for me!  Game volunteers were given 10 tickets/game that they could hand out to winners. Most items were one ticket, but a few pricier ones were two.   Winners had the option of picking out 6 marbles or chocolate coins, one of which could be large. I had cinch pouches for carrying them.  The miniature wagon was just for displaying marbles, although I got lots of inquiries on it!  Karla might recognize the Coke. I cruelly stole it from a boy at her Christmas party during the white elephant gift exchange.   Yes, I had my greedy mind fixed on that Coke for 15 long turns until mine finally came.  (Don't feel too bad, since I think he was able to steal something else he liked.)  It came with a box of ribbon candy, and those were a couple of the first prizes to go!

Prize ideas: books by Jane Austin or other period writers, Little Golden books, yo-yos, marbles, Jacob's ladder, pick-up sticks, wooden toys, Tiddly Winks, Tickle Bee, barrel of monkeys, jacks, paper dolls, Slinkys, Coca-Cola memorabilia, Fisher Price toys, etch-a-sketch, Gumby, ribbon candy and similar edible items, hand-crank music boxes, chocolate coins, old-fashioned magnets and signs, kazoos, aprons, paddle balls, balancing birds, Rubik's cubes, sock monkeys, alphabet blocks, tin lunchboxes, mini tea sets, vintage style stationary, puzzles, calendars, glass ornaments, and mittens.  I didn't have all of these, but I had a good variety!  We considered the cost of the prizes to be a donation from us, so anything that didn't get picked we got to keep.  There were some pretty neat items left!  :)

Overall, I think the games and prizes portion went pretty well.  Next up: crafts.