File Under Stuff I Learned: Holiday Family Games

Family traditions are always interesting to me – I like to see what other families have been doing for years, and conversely, what’s new to their repertoire.

I’ve been part of two holiday gatherings centered on the kids of one family this year, and last week it dawned on me that I should share the revelry – not only does the resident grandma (Mimi) have this down to a science, but she’s managed to create an afternoon of games that can be tailored to any holiday, pair children and adults in the challenge, and keep a wide span of ages occupied.

The first of these game days was around Easter, and was played outside; but the Halloween event had a lot of similar games as the Easter relay, adjusted for the season and to be played indoors.

First: The teams are chosen and the rules are read. The game consists of several stations that are home to challenges both parent and child must complete:  finding a half-dozen hidden Easter eggs and placing them in a basket, completing a puzzle, and a spirited game of Pin the Spider on the Web are a few examples.

Each team ‘checks in’ with the rule-reader after each task is done. (The Rule Reader position is great for someone who wants to sit out the crazier action or hold the baby.)

…Pin the Spider on the Web is one of the best examples of a game that can be easily rearranged for any holiday: Pin the Shamrock on the Hat, Pin the Ornament on the Tree… the possibilities are endless.

Tip: I noticed that this game required the pinning of 12 spiders, and each packet of web and spiders (easy black and white photocopies) prepared for each team included 13 spiders, for that one errant spider that was liable to fall into the baseboard heat.

Genius.

My favorite game of the Halloween version was the Mummy Game – parents and other adults on each team were charged with making their youngest team member into a mummy with crepe paper and Scotch tape. The mummy costume had to remain neat throughout the rest of the game – any loose bandages had to be repaired before moving on to the next level. (I didn’t ask if this was the main reason, but it seemed to me a great way to incorporate safety into the game).

What this particular game could be during another holiday, I’m not sure  – Jacob Marley? Truss the Ham?

At any rate, there are plenty of game ideas with legs. The Egg Run at Easter, for example, (a colored, hard-boiled egg is held in a spoon by a leader while other team members hold hands as they make a few laps) became the Pitchfork Run – a glow-in-the-dark pitchfork was hidden in the living room and, once ‘the mummy’ found it, was the baton in a mini-relay. (<– hidden fitness!)
What are your holiday games or traditions? I’d like to learn about more!

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