Good Games for Girls & Boys
When girls and boys are thrown together at parties, school events or family gatherings, a variety of games can keep everyone happy. It is always important to consider the ages of the players to make sure the games are interesting but not too challenging. Some of their games are even suitable for grown-ups.
Treasure hunts are good for girls and boys and can be adapted to many different themes for parties and family gatherings. Easter egg hunts are a classic example, but the website Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids offers some variations. Try drawing up clues to lead players from one treasure to the next, or have players perform silly acts, such as singing a song or building a block tower, before they can move to the next clue. Build a string treasure hunt by using three or four different colors of string or yarn and unwinding them all over the house or yard. Players have to follow their colored strings, winding them up along the way, to find their treasures.
Girls and boys can test their powers of observation with this game from "Family Fun" magazine. To play Switcheroo, put together a bag of accessories, such as jewelry, wigs, scarves, ties, ribbons, watches, sunglasses, sports equipment, mittens and hats. Divide your group into two teams. The first team selects two or three members to dress up in front of everyone in as many accessories as they can in 30 seconds. They then go to a separate area and switch items around. When they return, the remaining team members can score a point for each switch they correctly identify. After 2 minutes, the opposing team can score points by identifying any switches the other team missed. The second team then gets its chance to accessorize.
Bobbing for Doughnuts
This is a variation on the old-time game of bobbing for apples. String small, powdered-sugar doughnuts along a heavy string or small rope that stretches between two trees. At the start signal, players try to eat the doughnuts while their hands are clasped behind their backs. You can set the game up as a team competition or simply let the kids have fun trying to eat without their hands.
For this game, you need an inflated balloon for each player and a chair for each team. Line players up by team at a distance from the chairs. At the start signal, the first player on each team runs to his team's chair and tries to pop a balloon by sitting on it. Once the balloon pops, the player returns to the starting point and tags the next player in line, who then races to the chair with a balloon. The first team to pop all its balloons and get everyone back in line wins.
For indoor, rainy-day entertainment, the whole entire can take part in Tag-Team Drawings. "Family Fun" magazine states that all you need is paper and some colored markers. Have each player sit around a table with her own paper and colored marker. At the start signal, each player gets 30 seconds to begin a drawing. When time is up, each player moves left to the next seat, rotates the paper at that position a quarter turn and adds to the drawing at the next start signal. Play continues in 30-second intervals until everyone has drawn on all the papers and seen the crazy designs that result.
Carol Ochs is an award-winning writer in the Washington, D.C. area. During 17 years with The Associated Press she covered health, medical and sports stories as a writer, editor and producer. She has written for the health section of "The Washington Post," a Fairfax County stewardship publication and a biopharmaceutical newsletter. Ochs has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Ohio University, Athens.