Fruit basket

What it is: A simple game for big groups, easy enough for young kids, and also entertaining for older kids and adults.

Best for: A big group of at least 8 players.

What you need: Enough chairs for all of your players (minus one) and an open room big enough to hold all of the chairs in a circle.

How to play: First you’ll want to assign each player a fruit. Depending on the number and age of the players, you can do this several different ways. If you have young players or a smaller group, you might want to assign the fruits yourself, labeling players as strawberry, orange, apple, etc. Instruct players to remember their fruit. It’s okay (in fact, preferable) if multiple people have the same fruit, so you might use only two or three fruits.

If you’re playing with a large group of older players, you might let everyone choose his or her own fruit. Again, it’s okay (even preferable) if more than one person has the same fruit, but you might get someone who’s the only one with his or her fruit, and that’s okay, too. (It’ll probably be the creative quirky guy who chooses kumquat or something like that.)

Next set up the game by arranging all the chairs in a big circle and having everyone sit in a chair. One player will be left standing – say it’s Geoffrey. He’s It. Geoffrey starts the game by calling out the name of a fruit, like “strawberries!” As soon as he calls out a fruit name, any player sitting in the circle assigned to that fruit would jump up and try to find a new seat. Geoffrey would also try as fast as he could to sit in one of the open seats. In the end, a player (hopefully not Geoffrey) would be left without a seat. That player would then call out another fruit and the game continues.

If you have some players that are the only ones assigned to their fruit (like the kumquat guy), it would be a good idea to have Geoffrey call out more than one fruit. That way if Geoffrey called out “kumquat!,” the kumquat guy wouldn’t feel all alone and hurt because he wouldn’t have anyone else’s chair to take and would be forced to be It. In a case like this, you can make a rule that the person in the middle always calls out two fruits, or you could leave it up to the person to call out however many fruits he or she wanted.

Either way you play, at any time, the player in the middle also has the option of calling out “Fruit basket!” When that happens, all players get up from their chairs and find a new one. Mass pandemonium and good fun ensues as everyone tries not to be left without a seat. The game continues until you want to stop. :)

Rules: You can set a rule that a player getting up from a chair must find a new one at least two seats away (to encourage players to get up and run around). Also, if you’re halfway through your game and realize that there’s one or two fruits that no one’s calling because everyone’s forgotten about them (like that kumquat guy), you might want to remind everyone of everyone’s fruit.

Variations: There’s a get-to-know-you version of this game played with traits instead of fruits. The fruit basket game is also similar to another game, castles and beavers, in a lot of ways, except you’re inside instead of running around outside. Both are a lot of fun.

Clothespins

What it is: A good game to be played at a party, sleepover, or shower, throughout the event, kind of in the background.

Best for: 6 to 12 players (or even more).

What you need: Clothespins (see picture). Enough for each guest to have about five. It’s also fun to have one or two prizes for the winner or winners at the end of the game. Choose a prize that fits the theme of your event or your guests’ age level. Optional: a long string necklace for each guest.

How to play: This game is best played at an event, like a baby shower, birthday party, or family reunion. The game can last as long as your event does, whether it’s a couple of hours or a couple of days.

Before the event, come up with one to three Forbidden Words – words that players of the game won’t be allowed to say. Choose words that fit the theme of your event. For example, if it’s your daughter Christy’s birthday, you might choose the words “birthday” and “Christy” (as long as it wouldn’t make Christy feel bad that no one was calling her by her name). If it’s a baby shower, you could choose the word “baby.” You’ll want words that will be a challenge for guests not to say.

To start, gather all your guests at the beginning of the event to explain the rules and distribute the clothespins. Give each guest an equal number of clothespins (around five is a good number) and tell them to clip them somewhere on their person (or on the string necklace you provided). The point of the game is for players to “steal” as many clothespins as they can from other guests, and the one (or two or three) left with the most clothespins at the end of the event wins.

Players “steal” clothespins by catching another player saying a Forbidden Word. So if at Christy’s birthday party Jane heard Marianne say “birthday,” Jane would call Marianne out on it and ask for one of her clothespins. Marianne would have to give one of her clothespins to Jane.

If Marianne were to run out of clothespins, she could say the Forbidden Words as much she wanted because she wouldn’t have any clothespins to give away. She could reenter the game at any time by catching someone else saying a Forbidden Word.

At the end of the event, call everyone together and count up clothespins. Award prizes to the the winner(s).