What it is: An indoor game for groups, best for teens, because it can be kind of flirty. šŸ™‚

Best for: About 15 to 20 players.

What you need: You’ll need an odd number of players (probably at least nine) and as many chairs as your number of playersĀ plus one, divided by two (so, if you were playing with nine people, you would need five chairs).

How to play: Set up the game by arranging the chairs in a circle, with enough room behind each chair for someone to stand. Then divide up the players into pairs. A good way to play this game is on group dates with an even number of boys and girls, so each pair would consist of a boy and a girl. (But if you do have an even number of boys and girls, players will have to take turns sitting out because you need an odd number to play.) But you don’t have to play with an even number of boys and girls if you don’t want to.

Each pair then takes a chair, and one of the players sits down while the other player stands behind the chair, with their hands behind their back. So if Roxanne and Kenny are a pair, they would sit/stand like this:

All the other players do the same. (If you’re playing with boys and girls, have all the girls sit while the boys stand, or vice versa.) One player will be left without a partner, say it’s Chad:

Poor Chad. The object of the game is for Chad to invite another player to fill the chair in front of him. The girls sitting in the chairs try to move to Chad’s chair (if he invites them), and the boys standing behind the girls try to keep the girls from moving.

Here’s how it works: Chad invites a girl to move to the empty chair in front of him by winking at her. Say he winks at Roxanne. When she sees Chad wink, Roxanne stands up as fast as she can and moves to sit in Chad’s chair. But Kenny, standing behind Roxanne, tries to stop Roxanne from leaving by tapping her on the shoulder. If Roxanne can get out of Kenny’s reach before he taps her, she’s free to sit in Chad’s chair. But if Kenny taps her, she has to sit back down and Chad has to wink at someone else. And here’s the catch for Kenny (and all the other boys standing behind girls): He must keep his hands behind his back at all times, and he must look down at Roxanne’s head (not up at Chad’s face).

Say Roxanne does escape to sit in front of Chad ā€“ then it’s Kenny’s turn to wink at someone else, and the game keeps going on. The boys standing behind the chairs must keep their eyes down, and the girls carefully watch the winker, so they can move quickly when he winks.

After you’ve played a while, switch up the pairs and have the standers sit and the sitters stand behind the chairs (and rotate players in who might be sitting out).

Variations: If you want to shake up the standers and the sitters even more often (and you don’t care about mixing up boys and girls), have a pair switch every time someone occupies a chair. For example, remember when Chad winked Roxanne over? Once she got away from Kenny, she and Chad would switch places, so Chad would be in the chair and Roxanne would stand behind it. You could also switch up players every time someone fails to get away (if Kenny stopped Roxanne from moving to Chad’s chair, she and Kenny would switch spots), or both.

This is also similar to another game my friends and I played often, but the other version is much rougher and involves a lot more physical contact.

Mystery gift pass

What it is: A fun party activity, perfect for younger kids in big groups. My mom (who was room mom for at least one of her kids every year) used this for class holiday parties all the time.

Best for: Big group of about 20 players.

What you need: You’ll need several things for this activity. First, you’ll need some small, cheap gifts or party favors or candy (the kind of little cheap stuff from the Oriental Trading Company, for example, or maybe some gifts from your local dollar store). You’ll want one gift for each person expected to play. You’ll also need wrapping paper, and, depending on how many people you’re preparing for, maybe several rolls of it. Finally, some appropriately-themed music (like Christmas music, if it’s a Christmas party) to play isn’t required, but it’s nice to have.

How to play: First, you’ll have to prepare a little by wrapping the mystery gift. Before the party starts, take you first gift and wrap it in wrapping paper. It’s okay if it doesn’t look good, because by the end, nothing will look good.

After you’ve wrapped your first gift, take another, put it on top of the wrapped gift, and wrap the whole thing with another layer of wrapping paper. Repeat this for as many gifts as you have. It might be fun to use different patterns of wrapping paper for each layer. When you’re done, you should have a lumpy, squishy wrapped gift ball that looks something like this:

Then, when it comes time for the party, have everyone sit in a circle on the floor. Give the gift ball to one child and explain how the game works: You’re going to play some music, and while the music is playing, the children pass the gift around the circle. When the music stops, whoever is holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer of wrapping paper and keep whatever surprise falls out. Then that child leaves the circle and the game continues, until every child has received a gift. (My mom also always gave a little spiel with the theme “take what you get and don’t throw a fit.”)

Then let the game start! Kids love the anticipation of waiting for the music to stop, opening a layer of wrapping paper, and getting a prize. Just be sure that everyone gets one!

Considerations: Some things to keep in mind ā€“Ā if you’re playing with boys and girls, it’s probably best to have only non-gender-specific gifts, or to allow trading at the end so any boys stuck with something pink can trade it away. Also, you might want to explain beforehand whether trading at the end is allowed or not. Finally, depending on how mature your players are, you might want to consider having every prize very similar (maybe just different colors) so that children don’t get upset if they don’t get what they want. Have fun!