Children’s Games

So your 12-year-old is having a slumber party. Lucky you. To save your sanity, you need to come up with some active children’s games that will help everyone get at least a few hours of sleep.

Your plan of attack: carbo-load the tweens with pizza and cookies, then wear them out with some games that require little supervision. They’re sure to collapse in a heap by 11 p.m.

Fashion Fools

Before the party, hit up the thrift store for funky clothes and accessories. Feather boas, bikinis, gigantic undergarments, Hawaiian shirts, funny glasses, stiletto heels, basically anything from the 1970s, trucker hats – the more ridiculous the better.

Put everything in a big, black garbage bag. Give the kids a dice to roll. If the dice lands on a one or a six, the player has to pull an item from the bag and put it on (over their clothes, of course). Keep going until all the bagged items are being worn. The player wearing fewest items wins.

Give the kids a digital camera to take pictures of their results. Chances are, they’ll want to play more than once.

Indoor Foot Volleyball

Good children’s games require very minimal effort on your part. For this one, you just need a piece of string and a 10-inch inflated balloon. Draw Wilson’s face on it if you like (think Tom Hanks in “Castaway), but the kids are too young to get the joke. Sigh.

First, tie the string across a 10-foot area. It should be about a foot off the floor. Divide players into two teams. It’s a good idea to have them remove their shoes to avoid smashed fingers. To play, the kids should assume the “crab” position – face-up, leaning on their hands and feet.

Toss a coin to see which team serves first. One player throws the balloon in the air and a teammate kicks it over the string. The teams attempt to hit the balloon back and forth across the string, just like in a real volleyball match. If one team lets the balloon hit the floor, the other team receives a point and gets to serve the balloon. The first team to 15 wins.

Video Scavenger Hunt

Kids’ games don’t have to be always need to be competitive; they just need to be fun. Divide your gang into teams again, and let them take turns using a video camera to film themselves carrying out a list of outlandishly crazy activities. Making a human pyramid, lip-synching to a Lady Gaga song, wearing a tiara and professing to be the queen of England in their best British accent – you get the picture. Listen to them cackle while watching the other teams’ efforts. And if you’re a really cool, really techy mom, burn them each a CD copy of their hunt to take home and show their parents.

Magic Beach Ball

If some of the kids at the party don’t know each other well, play some children’s games to break the ice. This one fits the bill. Use a permanent marker to write questions all over a large inflatable beach ball. Sit everyone in a circle and have someone throw the ball to another person. Whoever catches it must answer the question his or her left thumb is touching. After answering the question, they throw the ball to someone else who follows suit. Questions can be serious or lighthearted. Here are some sample questions:

  • What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
  • What are three words that describe you?
  • What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
  • If you were an animal what would you be?

Use these children’s games to avoid late-night shenanigans that result in broken furniture and angry calls from the neighbors. You’ll wind up with a successful slumber party and may manage to walk away unscathed.

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