For entertaining adult friends and family, young children through teens, whether at home or in classrooms, to liven up your Christmas holiday party or birthday parties, or make hunting down and opening presents on Christmas Eve more enjoyable, even on a shoestring in a tough economy, try one of these unique and interactive party games that you can make yourself:
– TREASURE HUNT CLUE GAME
– BINGO GIFT EXCHANGE
– OLD FASHIONED “BIBLE BASEBALL” GAME perfect for Christian Youth.
Don’t forget to have your camera or video recorder ready to capture all the action!
1. CLUE-SOLVING TREASURE HUNTS, which kids of all ages LOVE, have been around for some time, but most commercially available ones don’t have very fun or imaginative clues, and often only contain very simple statements that require little creativity regarding where to look for hidden objects more akin to a basic scavenger hunt.
You can make your own Christmas-themed treasure hunt clue game for any age (or for any birthday or other holiday event) by creating riddles or rhymes yourself as we explain below, or save time and effort by purchasing pre-made inexpensive “print n play” treasure hunt party games online for less than that comes with custom clues already prepared, a hiding guide and instructions on how to play individually or as teams, and party ideas all ready to download, print, and play instantly at Treasure-Adventure.com
But if you’re crafty, have a little time, and want to save even more money, you can do it entirely yourself (DIY) and make your own simple treasure hunt game by creating 10 clues suitable for the age of the players on pieces of stiff paper that each lead to a specific location where the next clue is hidden. For example, a children’s Christmas clue where the answer is “stocking” might read:
“You’re getting warm, No time to spare, Look for what’s been stuffed and hung with care”
Therefore, the next clue would be found in the stocking. Keep the first clue out that you will read aloud when you start the game, and hide the rest so that each clue when solved leads to the next one until the final clue is solved and the “treasure” is located which might consist of seasonal candy or cookies, gift certificates, toy gadgets, school supplies, or any number of fun prizes.
Optionally, the host might also want to place small themed gift items at each individual clue location, with the last hiding place containing the ultimate prize, or in lieu of small prizes if they’re difficult to hide at each clue location, use numbered hand-made tickets to accompany the clues that each correspond to a wrapped numbered present that can be claimed when the hunt is over.
Before the guests arrive, do a test run without the players present to make sure the clues and prizes are all hidden well where they won’t be disturbed and in the right order because this can be a little confusing if you’re new to treasure hunting, but becomes much easier once you’ve already completed your first treasure hunt successfully.
Just remember clues are not allowed to be solved out of order, all must be solved to win, and if not working as a team but competing, players will need to keep track of the clues they solved on a piece of paper and not remove the hidden clues after they find them so others can still play (it is recommended that young children play as one grouped team that is not competing).
Also, if you want to ensure everyone gets something, especially in the case of children, have the entire group either get participation gifts or share the final “pot” at the end by making it something that can be split up or enjoyed by all. This can vary, from cupcakes to noisemakers, snow globes, to other small toys – the sky’s the limit!
At the start of the treasure hunt explain the rules of how to play the game, what area the search is limited to (such as downstairs only), and read the first clue to start the hunt. Young children may need some guidance, or their clues can be pictures rather than words. That’s basically all there is to it!
Besides Christmas, you can also make treasure hunts of varying levels of difficulty themed for any occasion or situation from princess parties to pirate parties, for fundraisers, outdoors or in the classroom, and can be for any age from teens to college students to seniors at class and family reunions.
Again, if you want to learn more or save yourself the hassle by purchasing ready-to-play printable treasure hunt games online at a low cost, visit Treasure-Adventure.com online.
“Now its time to play, with a little wit, your treasure hunt adventure will surely be a hit!”
2. BINGO GIFT EXCHANGE. There’s a new holiday spin on the traditional game of Bingo, and for kids this can additionally be an opportunity to participate in a fun personalized Christmas art activity.
In “Santa Bingo,” cards with graphical Christmas themed pictures or words can each be drawn by hand or generated and printed on stiff paper for free online at web sites such as dltk-cards.com (which also offers the printable callout cards and markers used to play Bingo).
Bingo cards vary in size, but typically are either 3 x 3 with 9 squares for younger children, or 5 x 5 with 25 squares for older kids and adults, where the center square is automatically filled in as a free space (with Santa’s face in “Santa Bingo”). The game is not limited to Christmas, but can be modified to be themed for any holiday or birthday.
Each child should be encouraged to color in or decorate their card (and optionally have it laminated) before starting or after finishing the game, and can take it home as a keepsake or memento to remember their special day. Christmas picture ideas might include a Reindeer, snowman, stocking, elf, candy cane, milk and cookies, a star, a Christmas tree, a wreath, holly, a candle, an angel, bells, bulbs, gifts, a sleigh, a manger, the North Pole, a gingerbread man, and others.
Keeping in mind a Christmas theme, a good choice of Bingo markers might be peppermint candies, NECCO wafers, or thin mints that can be eaten and enjoyed when the game is over (for other occasions such as Valentine’s Day, for example, large heart candies might be used as markers).
Each playing card should have randomly arranged themed pictures or words that do not repeat taken from the callout card which includes ALL the graphics to be used in the game – the online generator can do this for you as well for free or you can draw or paste the graphics yourself. You will need to print two identical callout card sheets & cut one of them up into individual pieces to place in a hat or bag for the host to randomly pick from during game play. These also can be colored in with bright crayons or markers or printed with a color printer.
Players should either be asked in advance to bring a wrapped gift to exchange that cost under a specified value (suitable for their own gender if all presents are not gender-neutral), labeled with their name to ensure they don’t get their own gift and to identify the type of gift, or the host can use “Bingo” as a fun way to distribute to guests small wrapped presents or prizes they have purchased; again wrapped gifts should indicate male or female prizes if not gender-neutral or if it might be a factor.
When you’re ready to start the game, the players should be arranged in a circle with the gifts all placed in the middle, cards and markers should be handed out, and the host with the callout card should explain how to play, including the requirement that the entire card (except the center) be filled in before the player yells out “Santa!” (or any other word designated depending on the occasion, which you also might want to have printed at the top of each playing card).
The host should draw, announce, and show to players one game piece at a time and then place it on the callout card. Those who have the graphic or word called should place a marker in the matching spot on their Bingo game card. When the first player fills his or her card and yells “Santa!,” and the host confirms they have correctly filled their entire card, that player may then select an appropriate gift of their choice and immediately leave the game.
It is up to the host to set the rules as to whether a player may open their gift immediately or if they must wait until the game is over and then all players open them at the same time – this allows players the opportunity to “trade” prior to opening if desired, and its also a good time for picture taking and videotaping opportunities!
If two players have Bingo at the same time, then after the host confirms they have both entirely completed their cards, the one who declared Bingo first selects an appropriate gift, and then the second player also gets to choose one, and they both leave the game. This continues until all presents are distributed and every player has equally received one gift.
3. BIBLE BASEBALL. Christian themed party games are making a popular comeback these days, especially in the Bible Belt and among members of many religious groups who participate in Christian youth activities including church Sunday schools, so for these wholesome party-goers, Bible Baseball is the perfect way to have fun and enjoy each other’s company while testing scriptural knowledge.
And what better time of the year to play a Bible activity than at a Christmas get-together, even though this type of virtual baseball game can also be played at any number of different types of events such as Easter and on Family Night, and the questions need not be Bible based as variations of this game can be developed for almost any occasion.
This two-team very entertaining activity takes 9 theoretical complete “innings” to finish just like real baseball, so can last quite a while depending on the ability of those “going to bat,” and it can be a fun challenge dependent on the difficulty of trivia or riddles which should be adjusted to take into account the age and skill of the players.
Each team ideally should have at least 9 players (two team captains may take turns choosing their team members who play in the order picked), and bases are drawn or placed, as is a pitcher’s mound and home plate, indoors or outdoors, configured just like a real baseball diamond but on a much smaller scale.
Each team alternates who will be the “pitcher” asking the questions of the other team for one entire inning and the host serves as the “umpire” to keep a running score visible to both competing teams and to rule on whether answers are acceptable and correct or not – whether players are “safe” or “out.”
A large number of interesting and educational questions with basic straightforward answers are prepared ahead of time by the host (50-100 may be needed to complete the game), written on small pieces of paper without the answers, folded, and placed in a deep bag, bowl, or hat to later be selected by the “pitcher” and kept at the “mound.” The umpire keeps the primary list of questions and answers. Below are a few examples of relatively easy Bible-related questions that might be used that were taken from the Old and New Testament to help get you started:
• “Who sold his birthright?” (Esau)
• “What was the name of the river that flowed between Canaan and the wilderness?” (Jordan)
• “How many people were in the ark?” (8)
• “Who was the first King of Israel?” (Saul)
• “How many books are there in the Old Testament?” (39)
When you’re ready to begin the game, the first player of the batting team goes to the plate, and the pitcher and rest of the opposing team “take the field” where they can “steal” points away if the players at bat miss any questions and strike out. The “pitcher” selects randomly out of the draw bag and asks the question of the first “batter,” other team players cannot help the person at bat while they are contemplating their response, and if he or she answers it correctly within the allotted time (about 15 seconds) they move to first base, but if they miss it the batting team has one strike against them – an “out” – and the pitching team can “steal” and earn one point if they have the correct answer, although they must quickly agree on only one guess as a group and provide it within a short timespan designated by the host, often only about 5-10 seconds for easier questions. If the pitching team misses the question they are not penalized, and questions already asked should be discarded.
If a player is on first base and the next player batting gets their question correct also, they too advance to first base, and the player on first base moves to second. In this manner players can be “pushed” around the bases and arrive “home” to score and earn a point if enough questions are answered correctly before three missed questions, or “outs,” occur. Then the teams switch places until both teams have had 9 turns at bat and the team with the highest total point score is the WINNER!
If prizes are to be given, some suggestions for Christian gifts might include motivational bookmarks or a special baked treat for all participants, a new Bible, inspirational music, religious jewelry that features the cross, Christmas ornaments such as angels, or stockings full of chocolates and small trinkets decorated with Christian designs.
CLUE-SOLVING TREASURE HUNTS, BINGO GIFT EXCHANGE, BIBLE BASEBALL – Try one or all of these unique group game activities outlined above and they’ll be sure to bring your party to life and provide hours of entertainment for your guests, whether young or old, this Christmas season or at the next birthday or special event you host.
KD Grant is co-founder of Treasure-Adventure.com, an established online entertainment company specializing in affordable print ‘n’ play party games for all ages, including treasure hunts with custom clues for birthdays and holidays, free kids activities, and a wide range of party supplies, treasure hunting tools and tips, and legends of real lost treasure. To learn more visit Treasure-Adventure.com online at http://www.treasure-adventure.com
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