Easter Parlour Games – retro-inspired family fun

In the days before TV, families would often play parlour games after dinner.  If you have different generations coming to your house this Easter, why not try some of these games for a change?

1.Funny Bunny

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This was originally ‘Bunny or Funny?’, but got renamed by my youngest.  It’s an Easter-version of a game we played at Halloween which fused the idea of ‘spin the bottle’ with ‘trick or treat’.

This time we had a broken-up chocolate Lindt bunny in one bowl (the ‘bunnies’) and folded up forfeits (the ‘funnies’) in the other bowl.  We then sat in a circle and took turns to spin the arrow (which was just a covered kitchen roll with two arrows stuck to it).  After each spin, whoever was closest to ‘bunny’ would get a piece of chocolate, whilst the person closest to the other end would pick a ‘funny’ (forfeit).

As with Halloween, rather surprisingly, our kids ended up being keener to do the forfeits than getting the choc – probably because the forfeits were pretty silly and therefore right up their street.

I had some forfeits from Halloween that I re-used and found some more on the internet which gave us the following in total:

  • Say five/ten times rapidly: “Red lorry, yellow lorry”
  • Say five/ten times rapidly: “Three big blobs of a black bug’s blood”
  • Walk across the room on your knees
  • Line three upright chairs side by side. Lie on them with arms folded. Someone removes the middle chair and you must hold yourself stiff in position while everyone counts to ten
  • Say five/ten times rapidly: “Truly rural”
  • Sing a song
  • Dance a jig
  • Give a one minute talk about pigs
  • Give a one minute talk about cows
  • Give a one minute talk about elephants
  • Try to stand on your head
  • Hold one foot with your hand while hopping around the room.
  • Crawl on all fours and bark like a dog
  • Hop across the room on your right leg and return on left leg
  • Put an object on the floor in such a way that no one in the room can jump over it (answer is: put it against the wall)
  • Do 5 star jumps
  • Tell a joke
  • Sing a song
  • Tell us something that we don’t know about yourself
  • Make us laugh
  • Be tickled for a count of 10
  • Do a forward roll
  • Stand on one leg for a minute
  • Make the sound of 3 farmyard animals
  • Pat your head with one hand, while you rub your tummy with the other for 30 seconds
  • You are shipwrecked on an island inhabited by cannibals – explain to the chief why you shouldn’t be eaten
  • Bark like a dog whilst walking around in a circle on tip toes like a fairy
  • Pretend you are an Italian waiter – run through all the varieties of pizza available on your menu – you have to have an accent
  • Give everyone with blue eyes in the room a high five

2.Egg Drop

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I did this game as an ice-breaker when I started my first job.  Now my kids are older, I thought they might like to give it a go.  We split into teams (i.e. me and my husband with one of our boys each) in different rooms, gave ourselves 10 minutes and the same materials to come up with something that would mean the egg would survive intact after being dropped from a height.

Whilst I had in mind standing on a chair, or a ladder in the garden to create the height, my husband decided to lob them out of a first-floor window, when they survived, he did the same out of a second floor window.  The kids loved the idea that he was chucking an un-boiled egg out of the windows (of course they eventually cracked, so added ‘yuk’ appeal).  I waited at the bottom of the windows outside with my sons to watch them come down and inspect the results – the boys loved it.

Materials given to both teams: paper, scissors, sellotape, string, two elastic bands, pedal bin liner, dustbin bag

3.Marshmallow-Spaghetti Tower

This doesn’t have an Easter theme, but is like the Egg Drop in that it lends itself to doing in teams.  Each team had a plate of marshmallows and spaghetti and we had to attempt to build the tallest tower in 10-15 minutes.  It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Other fun ideas for Easter:

Easter Party & Alternative Egg Hunt

Indoor Easter egg hunt with clues

The highs and lows of egg decorating (Minion-style)

DIY Superhero Party

We decided to hold the ‘Superhero Games’, where would-be superheroes were invited to come, (fancy-dressed, ready for action) to test their skill, strength, speed and stealth.  All the activities were a superhero-spin on traditional party games.  Whilst we didn’t get round to doing them all, I thought I’d share the ideas we had:

Individual Games:

  • Superhero style – Black Lace’s ‘Superman’ is a corker as a soundtrack for asking the children to show their best superhero moves
  • Musical islands, superhero-style. I just printed superhero pictures out and stuck them onto brightly coloured A5 cards, then removed cards when the music stopped and children were ‘out’

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  • Kryptonite hot potato – I put green finger lights in white balloons and blew them up to create small, glowing balls. The game then worked like a reverse-version of pass the parcel.  Superheroes who were holding the balls when the music stopped were ‘out’ until we whittled it down to the winner!

Team Games:

I made the following bollards by covering cardboard boxes in paper, with pictures to keep with the theme:

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  • Villain attack – a game of skill, where superheroes have to throw bean bags over the bollards of the baddies into buckets

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  • Bean bag attack – we then removed the buckets and lined the bollards up to ask the superheroes to see if they could knock them over with their mini bean bags

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  • Strongman challenge – superheroes test their strength whilst weaving around bollards of the baddies. This was done in teams, where each team was given a number of empty cardboard boxes which had pictures of heavy weights on them.  They then needed to weave in and out of the bollards, to the end of the line and then pass the weights on to the next member of their team without dropping them.  The process continued as a relay, until the first team completed the whole challenge.

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  • Speed – What’s the time bat man? A superhero-take on ‘what’s the time Mr. wolf?’
  • Speed – Superman Tag. Basically British Bulldogs.  Children have to run from one side of the room to the other and try not to get caught by the ‘catcher’ in the middle.  When they are caught, then they join the ‘catching team’ and have to try and catch others as they run across the room and back.
  • Limbo – All kids seem to love this, they don’t stick to the rules mind you, as you can see, they just crawl or roll-under, but it’s all fun for them.

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I hope you like some of these ideas and that you have a fun time if you are hosting a similar party.  Things never go according to plan, but the more noise, chaos and laughs the better, as long as the kids have fun!

‘What’s in the Box?’ game…

For suspense and squeals look no further!

This is an oldie, bur a goodie.  Six shoe boxes, painted black, a dark room, some green light, spooky music.  Ask them “what’s in the box?”:

  • Witches toenails?  – Pumpkin seeds; Pistachio shells
  • Eye balls in frog spawn?  – Pickled onions; Mushy peas
  • Witches hearts?  – Tinned tomatoes
  • Worms?  – Spaghetti and oil
  • Dead hand?  – Glove filled with flour
  • Elf ears?  – Dried apricots

… definitely mind over matter!   Just make sure you guard the boxes to ensure no peeking before the game begins!

No one fell for the ‘worms’… too obvious I’m afraid.  I’d suggest putting the yukky ones at the end, so that they can build up to them….

We wrote down what everyone guessed so that we could keep track of what people said. Then we did the ‘great reveal’ at the end when we opened the boxes for them to see what was really in there!

More ideas:

Ideas from The Balance.com

The ‘Spin the Arrow’ game

Did you ever play spin the bottle?  Well this is a tame version, replacing ‘truth or dare’ with ‘trick or treat’ – a bit more suitable for younger children!  I decided it might not go down so well if the kids went home saying they played ‘spin the bottle’ so I renamed it ‘spin the arrow’…

I first made a version of this when I realised I had some of my friend’s children coming round for a glorified playdate at Christmas time and because we do parties at other times of the year, she happened to say how much her girls were looking forward to the mini-Christmas party.  Oh.  Well.  Er… a few minutes later and I’d concocted some party games for the expectant visitors….

The basis for this is just a kitchen roll stuck to a piece of card (to stop it rolling over).  Whilst the first version of this had just one arrow, this double-ended version for this year is more fun, in that there are two ‘winners’ on each spin.  Just one of them will get the sweet though and the other gets the forfeit!

I then have two pumpkin buckets, one with folded up forfeits and the other with sweets (for ‘treats’) in.  The ‘tricks’ that I’ve come up with for 4-7 year olds include:

  • 5 star jumps
  • Tell a joke
  • Sing a song
  • Tell us something about yourself we don’t know
  • Make us laugh
  • Be tickled for a count of 10
  • Do a forward roll
  • Stand on one leg for a minute
  • Make the sound of 3 farmyard animals
  • Pat your head with one hand, while you rub your tummy with the other for 30 seconds
  • You are shipwrecked on an island inhabited by cannibals – explain to the chief why you shouldn’t be eaten
  • Walk across the room on your knees
  • Give a 1-minute talk about elephants
  • Bark like a dog whilst walking around in a circle on tip toes like a fairy
  • You are truly, madly, passionately in love with the person on your right – go down on one knee and  ask them to marry you
  • Pretend you are an Italian waiter – run through all the varieties of pizza available on your menu – there has to be an accent
  • Give everyone with blue eyes in the room a high five

The ‘Making Mummies’ game

Got toilet roll?  You are good to go!

The set-up:

Just ensure you have two toilet rolls for each team! You might also want a timer to signal when time’s-up.

At the party:

Split the kids up into groups of three.  As them to nominate a ‘mummy’ to be wrapped in toilet roll, then it is the job of the other two team members to wrap the person as quickly as they can For younger kids, they could wrap their actual mummies.  Ask the children to vote on the best one to be the winner, or another parent if there are parents also at the party.

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The ‘Spider Racing’ game

A super-simple and easy to set up game that is a lot of fun for kids of all ages…

The set-up:

A friend bought me these black plastic spiders and straws.  The idea with this game is for the children to blow air through their straws to speed their spiders along the floor.  The first one to the finish line wins!

It is super-cheap, super-easy and something very young kids can play.  If you can’t find spiders that would be light enough to blow easily along the floor, then it would be easy enough to cut your own spiders from black card & just use any straws – then you don’t even need to get to a shop!

At the party:

Depending on how much space and how many spiders you have, you could have a number of children in a row, blowing their spiders from the start to the finish line.  You might want to put some masking tape on the floor to mark both.

Ready…steady…blow!

The ‘Pick-Up’ game

This is a very quick and easy game.  My guys loved it so much, they continued playing it even after the party had ended!

The set-up:  

Put some Halloween-themed confetti and put it on a plate between each pair of players (you could have more kids sharing a plate, but they can start knocking-heads if it is too much of a squeeze!).

At the party:

Give the players a plate or bowl each and tell them their mission is to ‘suck up’ as many skeletons, pumpkins, bats (and whatever shapes you have in your confetti) with their straws as they can and transfer them onto their plate/bowl as possible in a given time – no hands aloud!  I have used a 2 minute egg timer for this, but depending on the age of your children, you can decide how long.

To raise the stakes, you could ask for a particular number of the different types of confetti (e.g. ‘5 pumpkins, 10 bats’ etc) if you have older children to entertain alongside younger ones.

Tip:

I tend to do a dry-run of the games with my guys before the party starts so I can work out how the games are going to go.  They are always up for this as they want the party to start as soon as possible!  It also means that they know the deal, so they are two less to worry about when the party is in full-swing.  I then ask them to demonstrate to the others, or help them once it’s on the go.

The ‘Witches Hat’ game

This is one of my favourite things that I’ve made:  quoits for Halloween!  I think I saw this done somewhere, thought it impossible to re-create, then was surprised (and happy!) with the result.  Looks great, lots of fun to play for all ages and surprisingly easy to make!

The set-up:

To make the base: You first need a ‘base’ for your game.  I just used the side of a cardboard box, covered in orange paper to add a bit of colour.  As I’m a bit OCD, I then put black electrical tape around the outside to give it a ‘finished’ look (but obviously kids won’t care about such details!).

To make the hats: Make a cone-shape out of black card (I used a party hat as a template for this) and more black circles for the base of each hat (side-plates are a good size to draw round).  I did this 5 times to create the witches hats that you see on the photo.  Alternatively, if you don’t have black card, but have time and energy, use a cereal box & paint it black.  This is more effective than you think as the card is thicker, so creates a stronger structure (I tried a bit of both with mine!).

Then attach your cones to the hat bases by man-handling it with parcel tape to secure the inside of the cone to its base circle. It needs to be pretty strong, as they get a lot of knocks and bumps with the rings being thrown at them.

To make buckles for the hats:  I then cut out rectangles, with the middle cut out in shiny card to make buckles for the hats & put a circle of yellow paper around each to add a bit of detail and colour (as well as to hide the join between the cone and the circle!).

How to raise the stakes for older kids:  You could add numbers for scoring purposes on the hats, but my guys (and me!) found it hard enough to get any hoops on hats as it was, without adding more complexity.

At the party:

Use dive rings that you can get for swimming as hoops to throw over the hats.  Give everyone 3 goes to see how many hoops they can get on hats.  I put one colour sticker on the floor for older kids and another (closer to the game) for the younger kids.

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My inspiration for Wonderinalexland

So here I am, my first blog post and I feel the need to introduce (explain?) myself….

Why am I writing this?  Well, I’m not exactly sure, a friend of mine has been asking me to put my metaphorical pen to paper for a while (based solely on her bringing her lovely girls to parties at our house & then her hearing the real story behind some new creation of mine….).  Sometimes, I think there’s as much ‘laughing at’, as ‘laughing with’.  You get the gist.   The seed was sown, so here I am – dipping  my toe in the proverbial blogging-water.  Here’s hoping it is more than luke warm.

I’ve had a weird compulsion to make stuff for a little while.  I think it started from the footprint done of my 6 year old son for his first Christmas card when he was 3mths old.

I’ll be honest: I’m no artist (I think that was my friend’s point.  She said what I do is ‘achievable’. Spot the euphemism); but nor do I want to throw cash at it.  Surely a DIY job has to be free, or at least done on a shoestring.  Part of the satisfaction I get is creating something from pretty much nothing – I like big-scale stuff that I can hang from hooks on the ceiling, as it makes the biggest impact and cheers up our rather bland house.

These days it’s possible to buy most things off the internet, but I learnt my lesson about how dissatisfying (and a waste of money ) it can be when I ordered my then 1 year old son a Christmas Pudding outfit online and it turned up: nylon and just generally a bit naff.  Shocking for £20.  Those suppliers see us parents coming.  It was not only underwhelming, but also possibly going to cause some yucky sweat-induced skin aliment that I didn’t fancy dealing with later.  So, I went out and bought some material, iron-on hemming tape (for speed of attaching bits together) & pinking shears.  Whilst I like the idea of doing it myself, I don’t have a sewing machine or oodles of time.  I think I’m more about impact than effort.  I then used the nylon(plastic?)-thing as a template and a home-made outfit was born.  Although I still commandeered the ‘plastic’ bought hat for his head (I’m not a total glutton for punishment).

The outfit doesn’t fit anyone any more (both my boys have now worn it), but I’ve still kept it.  I guess it’s my way I show my kids I care (well, I can’t cook, so I guess I have to ‘offer’ them something).  In the same way, I feel the bought stuff lacks soul.  Rather how my husband (who can cook) feels about ready-made meals (whatever floats your boat).

You can make unique things yourself which hopefully add more zing and excitement to a party than pre-made decorations.  Of course, I still get stuff online to boost whatever I’m doing, but the home-made stuff makes the parties feel theirs.

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