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. :)

Speed Scrabble

What it is: A variant of the game Scrabble that’s much faster because it’s all about…

speed-scrabble

There is a commercial game called Bananagrams that’s essentially the same thing. I learned this game as Speed Scrabble first, and I’ve also heard it called Take Two.

Best for: A small group of people, maybe 4 to 6 players.

What you need: You’ll need letter tiles from a Scrabble game (but you won’t need the game board).

How to play: To set up your game, have everyone sit around a table or in a circle on the floor. Turn all of your Scrabble tiles face-down in the center of the circle and mix them all up. Then have each player pull out two tiles, keeping them face-down.

Someone starts the game by saying “go.” Then everyone turns over his or her pieces.

Each player will be building their own mini Scrabble grid in front of them. So when you turn over your pieces, start spelling with them as fast as you can. Once someone successfully uses all their tiles (and for this first round, that’s just two tiles), they shout “go.” Then everyone reaches forward and grabs another tile from the pile. Now you have three tiles, and you use all of them to build another Scrabble grid. Then, just like in the last round, whoever uses all three pieces together in one unbroken grid first calls “go,” and everyone takes another tile.

Each round you’ll get one more piece, making the grid larger and more complex. You can add the tiles you draw onto your existing grid, or, at any time, you can rearrange the whole thing. To call “go” you just need to use all of your tiles, and they all need to be connected in one unbroken grid.

This short video demonstrates part of a game and should make it a little clearer:

The goal is to use all your pieces, not leaving any out. The person who completes their whole Scrabble grid first when no more pieces are left wins. So it doesn’t matter if you’re ahead or behind for most of the game – all you need to do is be the first to finish and you win.

As for rules, blank tiles are wilds; you can use them for any letter. But it has to be the same letter for the whole Scrabble board, just like in real Scrabble. (But if you do decide to start over and change everything, you can switch the letter the wild stands for.) Players can challenge others’ words if they don’t think they’re real, and at the end the winner has to go through each of their words, proving that they didn’t cheat. It’s also often fun for everyone to say all their words out loud at the end, too.

Variations: Although I haven’t played with most of them, the Wikipedia page on Scrabble variants lists some other variations of Speed Scrabble that sound like they could be fun.

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Actor/movie loop

actor-movie-loopWhat it is: A version of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game – you’re basically trying to find links between actors via the movies they star in.

Best for: A small group, maybe up to six players. Two players work fine, too. You could even play by yourself.

What you need: Just your brains! If you want/need to cheat, IMDB on your smartphone would be a good resource.

How to play: My siblings and I would play this game on car trips or to kill time. We would start with someone naming an actor or actress. For example, Kate might name Anne Hathaway.

The next player, Michelle, would name another actor that Anne Hathaway appeared in a movie with. For example, Anne Hathaway appeared in Ella Enchanted with Cary Elwes. The next player might say that Cary Elwes appeared in The Princess Bride with Billy Crystal. It can be entertaining to simply name actors and movies and come up with a big long chain. This is also how you could play competitively. If someone on their turn can’t think of an actor and/or movie that hasn’t already been said, they’re eliminated from the game. The last player left wins.

In our version of the game, though, we played cooperatively. Our goal as a group was to get back to where we started (so in this game, Anne Hathaway). The whole loop might look like this:

  • Anne Hathaway appeared in Ella Enchanted with Cary Elwes.
  • Cary Elwes appeared in The Princess Bride with Billy Crystal.
  • Billy Crystal appeared in Monsters, Inc. with John Goodman.
  • John Goodman appeared in The Borrowers with…with that boy who helped the Borrowers…what was his name? [Quick IMDB check] Bradley Pierce.
  • Bradley Pierce appeared in Jumangi with Robin Williams.
  • Robin Williams appeared in Night at the Museum with Dick Van Dyke.
  • Dick Van Dyke appeared in Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews.
  • Julie Andrews appeared in The Princess Diaries with…Anne Hathaway!

It can take a while, but that’s all part of the fun. We really didn’t play that seriously. Half the time we didn’t even know the actors’ names: it was “that guy from ___, the villain, you know?” And our loops probably could have been done more efficiently, but we didn’t care if it took a while. (Also, side note, it can take a while/be harder if you’re keeping your blog family-friendly by trying to name only PG or G movies.)

There are some rules you might want to consider. Can you mention a movie or actor if they’ve been said before? (We said no.) Does voice talent in animated movies count? (We said yes.) Does it count if you don’t know the name of the actor? (We said yes, because we weren’t huge movie buffs.) Do multiple movies in a series (for example, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) count as the same movie? Do cameos count? Do TV shows count? If so, do guest stars count? Things like that.

Hope it can be an entertaining game for your and your family or friends!