n. A diversion in the form of chance, skill, endurance, or a combination of these,
pursued according to certain rules.
Mister Spiffy Says: "Wait,
wait, dont start. I dont get it. So, I put both feet in the
sack? Okay, and then what? Hop? What kind of game is this?"
Games are surely the most common activity for family
reunions. Not only are they fun, but they force (note Mister Spiffys word
choice) family members to interact with one another. The only thing more fun than
watching the kids play games together is watching the adults try to join in as well.
Print up certificates and awards to pass out to the winners. You can also
pass out inexpensive treats to all the runners-up so that everybody "wins"
something. Mister Spiffy knows thats the best way to go. Also included
with the instructions for some games are variants on the games. Mister Spiffy hasn't categorized these games, but has added
a warning if old out of shape adults might want to be careful.
One sack per participant.
How to Play The old standard
get in a sack and hop to the finish line.
Variation Put weights in the bottom of the sacks. Even more fun, put lots of
weights in there without the people knowing. Ha, ha, ha
Mister Spiffy, youre so
Some short pieces of rope.
How to Play Divide up into teams of two. Tie the right leg of one
teammate to the left leg of the other teammate. Now try to run the race.
Hopefully theyll gradually get in sync and it wont be quite as hard to make it
Variation Tie five people together and see what happens. Keep moving
the numbers up until you have all the kids on two teams, all tied together.
One raw egg for each team.
How to Play Divide up into teams of two. Have them stand, facing each other,
two or three feet apart. Pass out the eggs, one to each team. Have the player with the egg
throw it to his teammate. After the toss, every team with an unbroken egg is still in the
game. Have each team member take one giant step backwards (away from his teammate) and
toss the egg again. Repeat this until only one team has an unbroken egg.
Variation You can also use water balloons, though it isnt as funny
when it breaks.
|Tug of War
|Equipment Needed Strong, thick
rope (not nylon, which can stretch and break).
How to Play Divide the group into two teams (try to make them even by total
size, not necessarily by numbers). On the mark, each team tries to pull the other across a
line a small creek, mud hole, or the stream of water created by a hose.
Variation One branch of the family against the other, male against female,
|Red Light, Green Light
|How to Play Choose one person to
be the stoplight. Everyone else is a car. The stoplight stands at the finish line with his
or her back towards the starting line. Everyone else lines up. The stoplight calls,
"Green light!" At this signal, everyone races towards the stoplight. The
stoplight can shout "Red light" at any time, and then turn around quickly to see
if he or she can catch any of the cars still moving. If the stoplight sees someone still
moving, that person must go back to the starting line and start over. Whoever gets to and
tags the stoplight first gets to be the stoplight for the next round.
Variation Have two stoplights standing up there. Then the cars have to watch
|How to Play Divide everyone into
two large groups. Each group lines up, joining hands and facing the other group. One
groups shouts in unison, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Johnny right over."
Whoevers name is called (in the place of Johnny) has to run towards the
group and try to break through the line between two people by breaking their hand grips
(or perhaps their arms). If he successfully breaks through, he can take one of the other
teams players back to his group. If he fails to break through, he must join the
||Ah, Capture the Flag. The old
favorite, chock-full of wheezing, gasping old men and giggling flag-guards who have done
Equipment Needed A very large area in which to play, two rags that serve as
flags, and a middle boundary.
How to Play A classic. Mister Spiffys second favorite running-around
game when he was younger, just under Kick the Can. You break into two teams and set the
sides. Both teams hide their flag. Then you break and go across the center, trying to
steal the other teams flag and make it back to your home area without getting
tagged. If you get tagged, youre caught and go to the other teams prison. The
only way to get out of prison is for someone on your team (who isn't also in prison) to
touch you in jail. Then you can run free (be careful, you can get recaptured if you
get tagged on the opponent's side of the field again). First team to get the
others flag and bring it across the boundry line wins. Mister Spiffys friendly
warning this game can be hazardous to your health. Dont run around any more
than you can handle. If necessary, slump down in the dirt and play dead until you can
||Kick the Can, Mister
Spiffys favorite. The basis of a Twilight Zone episode, in which old people become
young again through the playing of this very game. Memories
Equipment Needed A can.
How to Play Kick the can. Ha, ha, no, really, heres the instructions.
One person is It. It tries to catch people, while protecting the precious
can at the same time. If the can gets kicked over, all the captured people run free, and It
has to put the can back in place before they can go and try to catch people again.
Game continues until It catches everyone, or collapses from
Absatively posolutely nothing.
How to Play Oh, please. Dont tell me theres anyone out there who
doesnt know how to play hide and seek. What is the world coming to? You pick
an It, and everybody hides, and It goes to find em. How hard can it
Variation The game is called Sardines. Kind of a twisting
backwards of hide and seek. You choose an It, as usual, but this time, It
goes and hides. Everyone else goes to look. When someone finds It, they have to
squeeze into the hiding place with them. Yknow, like sardines. The game ends when
everyone is all squished in with It.
||Equipment Needed As
many soft rubber balls as you can possibly get your paws on.
How to Play To say it in the words of a young Mister Spiffy fan, "You
take a bunch of balls, and you huck em, and you hit people. Then theyre out
and that means youre good." Basically, you divide into two teams, face
each other, and play dodge ball against each other. When someone gets hit, they go
to prison in the back of the opponents. Then they catch balls that come back there
and try to hit the people of the other side. If they do, theyre free again. By the
way, the balls cant bounce before hitting someone if they do, theyre
dead and dont do any damage. And if a person catches the ball, the one who threw it
Variation Another version of this game is Medic. When you get hit, you sit
where you were hit. Before the game you choose a Medic, who can walk around and touch the
sitting people so they can get back up. Dont let the other team know who your Medic
is if they do, theyll kill him off real quick. The objective of the entire
game kill off the Medic!
||Equipment Needed People
intelligent enough to sit in a circle.
How to Play Sit everyone in a circle and choose someone to be It. It
walks around the circle, patting everyone on the head, saying "Duck, duck, duck,
" et cetera. Finally they choose someone and say "Goose!"
and promptly begin running. The chosen Goose stands up and chases after them. It
has to run clear around the circle, then sit down in the Gooses previous spot. If
the Goose catches It, then It has to go through this pattern again. If not,
the Goose becomes It, and they have to go through it. A prime example of a
||Equipment Needed One less chair
than the number of people.
How to Play "Here at Spiffy World Airlines, we have designated
seats not musical chairs." Ah, yes, musical chairs. Walk in a circle
while music is playing in the background. When the music stops at a random time,
everyone sits. Unfortunately, there are not enough chairs, and one person is left
standing. That one lonely person is forced to leave, for they are out. And
then, although there are now enough chairs for everyone, take one away. Go through
this pattern until one person is left. As is understandable, that person is the
||Equipment Needed People
intelligent enough to stand in a circle.
How to Play Make a tight circle no gaps. Each person chooses a fruit
(a little help strawberry, banana, watermelon, tomato [yes, it is a fruit], cherry,
grape). Then It is in the middle. It calls out a fruit. Everyone who has
chosen that fruit has to run to another area an empty space left by a member of the
same fruit group. It tries to get into one of those places, therefore leaving one
different person in the middle to be It. One cannot move to the space directly
beside them, nor can they stay in the same spot if It doesnt make it
to an empty space, It has to do the whole thing over again, with another fruit.
Oh, the ghastly horrors!
||Equipment Needed One roll of
toilet paper for every 2 people
How to Play A fun game. Split into teams of two and give each team a roll of
toilet paper. Games with toilet paper are always good. Then one person tries to turn the
other into a mummy. Everything has to be covered except the eyes. First team done
is for Horses
||Equipment Needed A bale of hay
How to Play Cut the twine and heap the bale into a random pile.
Sprinkle coins and small prizes all over in the straw (er, I mean, hay) and let the kids
have at it. Theyll tear it apart by the time its done, and all you have to do
is clean up some hay. Mister Spiffy advises against playing this game indoors.
||Equipment Needed Homemade
fishing poles with clothes pins for hooks, a wall or divider to fish over, and a bunch of
cheap little toys.
How to Play Give kids a fishing rod and throw the string over the barrier.
Have some of the older kids behind the barrier clipping the cheap little toys onto
the end of the fishing line. It's thrilling for the little kids, amuses the older
kids, and is cheap for you. Mister Spiffy says you can't ask for more.
||Equipment Needed None
How to Play Find out odd facts about Grandpa Joe and Aunt Rose, then tell
everyone and have them guess who it is. The weirder the facts, the more far-out the
trivia, the better the game! "Did you know Grandma Gertrude can put her ankles
behind her head? Yeah, shes a contortionist!"
||Equipment Needed Any board game.
How to Play Read the instructions that come with the game. There are
board games for almost any age, and many which can be played by folks of all ages.
Here are a bunch of board games for all ages.
||Equipment Needed A list of
things to hunt for (one copy per person or team)
How to Play Give people or groups a list of things to hunt for, and the
first one done wins. The common version is to have everyone find strange things
(tennis ball, piece of string, coconut...) and bring them back.
Variations There are a million variations to this. Here are just a
- Cleanup hunt - This version is especially
good near the end of the reunion. Give everyone a list of different types of trash
(Dr. Pepper can, napkin, plastic fork, watermelon rind, etc), or just see who can pick up
the most pieces of trash. No digging in the trash can allowed. They have to
find them on the ground.
- Service scavenger hunt - Give them a list
of things to do: vacuum one room, read a book to a small child, wash a window, etc.
You can even have them do each of these things at a different neighbor's home, and the
neighbor has to initial the item as proof.
- Family hunt - Give them a list of personal
characteristics, and have them find family members who match (for example, green eyes, no
hair, same color eyes, born the same year). Mister Spiffy suggests tossing in a
couple of easy ones like same number of arms, born after 1850, etc.