Would I wear that?

would-i-wear-thatWhat it is: A people-watching game. If you’re thinking from the title that it’s a mean game, don’t worry. It’s not supposed to be at all.

Best for: One, two, or three people.

What you need: A place to people-watch. So a mall or airport or a big event like a sports game where there are lots of people to observe.

How to play: When you’re somewhere crowded where you want to pass the time, people watching is a great activity. It can be fun with friends, too. In this game, you look at the clothes other people are wearing and ask yourself, “Would I wear that?”

The goal isn’t to be mean or to judge others. It’s to think about yourself and what styles you like to wear, what you’d be willing to try, what you could or couldn’t pull off, what you think looks good on you and what doesn’t. So I guess it’s not so much of a people-watching game as an…outfit-watching game.

It might be informative, too. Maybe you might get some ideas about clothes you’ve always liked but haven’t ever tried. Maybe you just realize things about your taste that you’ve never noticed before. (For example, I realized that the harder it is to identify a color, the more I like it. Bright, obvious, bold royal blue – ew. But a shirt that’s kind of grayish-purpleish-brownish or maybe orangeish-pinkish-tanish? Love it.)

Variations: There are lots of variations to people-watching – basically sitting somewhere and watching strangers walk past. You could try to guess where they’re from or where they’re going (perfect for in an airport). You could try to invent a crazy exciting backstory for them. You could make it more of a scavenger hunt with a list of things to find. I’ve made some printables for a people-watching scavenger hunt you could play in an airport and one you could play on a date night.

Chubby bunnies

chubby-bunniesWhat it is: A challenge game involving players stuffing as many marshmallows into their mouths as they can. (So it can get kind of gross.)

Best for: A group of teenagers around a campfire.

What you need: A bag of marshmallows (not the mini kind) and some people who are talked into doing somewhat foolish things like stuffing as many marshmallows into their mouths as they can.

How to play: Basically, players just take turns trying to complete the challenge of saying the phrase “chubby bunny” with as many marshmallows in their mouth as possible. So, if Valerie is starting, she would take one marshmallow, put it in her mouth, and say “chubby bunny.” If she successfully says it, she adds another marshmallow and says “chubby bunny” again, and on and on until she either can’t pronounce the phrase intelligibly anymore, she can’t stop laughing, or she gags and spits all the marshmallows out. (I told you, can get gross.) Players keep count of how many marshmallows she fit, and the player that night with the most marshmallows wins.

An alternate way to play is to have all players add a marshmallow at the same time, then go around the circle and say “chubby bunny,” one at a time. Anyone who can’t say the phrase is eliminated from the game, and the next round starts with everyone else putting in another marshmallow. The last player in the game wins. This way would be harder because you would have to wait for a longer time with a ton of marshmallows in your mouth.

To be honest, I was never a huge fan, but if you’ve got a bunch of teenagers on a camping trip who are in a silly sort of mood, I guess this game could get pretty funny.

But please take caution: any time you stuff a lot of food in your mouth, there’s danger of choking. So don’t do this unsupervised, use your common sense, and play safe.

Variations: If you like semi-gross games involving cramming as many sweets into your mouth as you can, you can try the Skittles game too.

Monkey in the middle

monkey-in-the-middleWhat it is: A throwing and catching game for a small group. Players try to keep the ball away from one player (the “monkey”).

Best for: A small group, maybe 3 to 5.

What you need: You’ll need a ball to throw and catch. It could be a kickball or an inflated ball. You could even play with a soccer ball that you kick and receive, or a frisbee or some other object.

How to play: Monkey in the middle is one of those simple games that’s easily variable. Players toss or kick a ball back and forth between them, but one extra player (the “monkey”) is left standing in the middle. The other players try to keep the ball away from the monkey. The monkey tries to grab the ball, earning him or her a place on the outside of the circle. :)

When the monkey grabs the ball, the last player to have touched it is now the monkey. You can decide on more specific rules, too. Does the monkey have to grab the ball, or will simply touching it count? You can adjust the rules and playing size to the ages of your players.

This is often one of those games that happens naturally to pass the time or (unfortunately) to bully someone else by keeping something they want away from them.

Don’t play like that. We all know it’s not nice.

But when played with people who agree by common consent to play, it can be a fun game that lasts for a while. :)

Bigger or better scavenger hunt

What it is: An activity ideal for a youth night or big group date. It’s a scavenger hunt all about finding things bigger or better…giving it an open-ended and funny twist.

Best for: A big group of teens. You need two or three minimum on a team, but what you really want is multiple teams of three or more players. Then the teams can all compete against each other.

What you need: To start, each team just needs one thing: a penny. This scavenger hunt also involves going door-to-door, so you either need to be in a neighborhood where the teams can walk the whole way, or you might want cars with drivers. If you’re playing with teens, you probably want an adult chaperone with each team, too.

How to play: To start, give each team a penny.

bigger or better scavenger hunt

Then explain the game. Each team will take their penny and start going door-to-door. When they knock on a door and someone answers, they ask one simple question:

We’re doing a scavenger hunt activity. Can you give us anything bigger or better?

And they show the penny. Their goal is to exchange the penny for anything bigger or better that the homeowner wants to give them. Since this is so open-ended, it often leads to some funny results. You usually just end up with junk people want to give away, but that can make it funny, too. It might be an old stuffed animal, or a can of soup, or an empty cardboard box, or an ugly wooden chair.

chair2

Hopefully the people whose doors you knock on find it kind of entertaining, as well. You can leave them with the old item, or, if they don’t want it, you can take it with you. If someone doesn’t want to give you anything, just move on. Be courteous, kind, and grateful to everyone.

At the end of the predetermined game time, everyone meets back where you started to decide who has the biggest or best item of them all. You can award prizes if you want, maybe one for the biggest and one for the best, maybe one for the quirkiest and one for the most valuable. The end is the best part, with everyone telling funny stories and talking about all the crazy or random stuff they picked up that night. It’s a great time for refreshments or dessert, too! (And…you might need to end the whole night with someone making a donation trip to Goodwill.)

One option I wanted to mention: If you don’t want your teams going to strangers’ houses, you can always pre-arrange for them to go to homes of people you know. If you’re doing this with a youth group at a church, for example, you can let members of the congregation know beforehand that the youth will be doing this activity. Then you can assign each team their own houses to visit, or leave it up to the teams to visit whomever in the congregation they want.

I have some fun memories from playing this in my own youth group. Hopefully it can be a fun experience for you, too!

Variations: If you’re into scavenger hunts, I also have a post on photo scavenger hunts, and a series of posts for a two-person date night scavenger hunt.

Hot lava

hot-lavaWhat it is: The wonderful game every child thinks he or she invented.

Best for: A small group, or a group to fit however big your playing area is.

What you need: You’ll need a place to play. For me and my siblings and cousins, this was always an indoor game, played in a large living room or bedroom (much to our parents’ chagrin). You could easily play outside as well. A playground would be ideal.

How to play: There’s one rule. THE FLOOR IS LAVA! Don’t touch it!

Ah, this is such a fun game. Kids just love to climb and jump, and pretending the floor is hot lava gives you an excellent excuse to do so. So jump from couch to couch, throw down couch pillows to use as stepping stones, step on the coffee table, just don’t touch the floor!

If you play outside, you can make the grass lava, or the concrete, or whatever you want. You can have some spots of ground be safe spots.

Too bad this game, when played indoors, always makes grown-ups so mad. It’s so fun! I remember playing with my siblings and cousins at my grandparents’ house all the time. We played in the upstairs kids’ room, a room with four sets of bunk beds and couches and a chair: a truly perfect setup for hot lava. But if we were too loud as we leapt from furniture to furniture, our parents would hear the banging downstairs and tell us to stop. Once I remember playing in college (you’re never too old for the classics) in our dorm common room, where we took off couch cushions and made paths across the floor, until a resident assistant told us to stop. So much fun!

Variations: Lava monsters are a great variation to have. Either start with one or two at the beginning of the game, or make any player who accidentally touches the lava become a lava monster. The goal of a lava monster is simple: drag other players into the lava, mua ha ha! (This can be literally dragging, or a simple one-hand tag will do.) When players are captured by the lava monster, they become lava monsters, too!

I know you played this as a child, so do you have any variations to share? Or favorite experiences playing? I’d love to hear; leave a comment!