Rock-paper-scissors

Rock-paper-scissors-instructionsWhat it is: An easy, fast game that everyone probably already knows. But I like to be comprehensive, so here we go with some rock-paper-scissors instructions. Rock-paper-scissors is a quick win-loose game that is often used to determine who will go first or who will win some other small privilege.

Best for: Two players. But you could have a giant rock-paper-scissors tournament with tons of people!

What you need: Nothing! Well, technically speaking, each player needs to use their two hands.

How to play: In rock-paper-scissors, two players will each randomly choose one of three hand signs: rock (made by making a fist), paper (made by laying your hand flat), or scissors (made by holding out two fingers to look like scissors). Both players show their signs at the same time to see who will win. Here are the rules that determine which sign beats another:

  • Rock wins over scissors (because rock smashes scissors)
  • Scissors wins over paper (because scissors cut paper)
  • Paper wins over rock (because paper covers rock)

(If that last one doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you…you’re not alone.)

If both players show the same sign, it’s a tie. And that’s basically the whole game! It’s often played in a best-two-out-of-three format as a quick contest to decide who gets to go first or something like that.

To make sure things are clear, here’s a short video on the game:

It’s essentially just a game of chance. But if you’re young, rock-paper-scissors is a legitimately exciting game that can provide hours of fun…or, if not hours, at least minutes.

I did find this video that gives some interesting insight and tips at winning rock-paper-scissors. Who knew there could be that much strategy involved in a game of chance?

Variations: I’ve never played it, but there’s a variation invented by Sam Kass and Karen Bryla that includes five options instead of three: Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard. And I guess you could include the rock-scissors-dynamite variation. 😉

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.

Build a cabin in your mind

cabinWhat it is: An imagining game where players talk out loud, describing a dream cabin or house.

Best for: A small group of players. It’s ideal for playing on long car rides.

What you need: Nothing. It’s just a talking game.

How to play: My husband introduced me to this game. He said he and his family played in on car rides often. (He’s the oldest of six boys, and they took a lot of road trips.) The game starts with everyone agreeing to build an imaginary cabin. Then each player takes a turn and adds a feature to the cabin. My husband said these usually included things like these:

  • Rooms full of bunk beds
  • Soda machines around the house
  • A movie theater in the basement with an all-you-can-eat popcorn machine
  • Observatories
  • Underground pools
  • Slides or firemen poles leading to lower levels
  • A big beautiful bay window right outside the dining area (This was the type of addition my mother-in-law would make, as opposed to the brothers, if you can’t guess.)

Kind of along the same lines as the dream homes my sisters and I would draw as kids. The features can include things inside the cabin, the structure of the cabin, and the surrounding landscape.

My husband did say that sometimes the game tended to break down, as arguments might erupt about placement or functionality of features (e.g., “You can’t put a giant trampoline that catapults into the lake! I already added the boat dock there!”). My husband said this often led to an alternate version of the game where, instead of everyone building onto one collective cabin, each person has their own. Players then still take turns adding on features, but this time to their own personal cabin. Maybe everyone can still be neighbors, at least. 😉

Variations: My sisters and I did a similar activity growing up where we would draw our dream houses. I think it’s kind of neat that when my husband was ten years old growing up in Colorado, describing the indoor slides his dream cabin would have, I was ten years old in Texas, decorating my dream house with indoor slides, too. :)

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. :)