Four of Our Favorite Team Building Activities

There’s nothing like some good team building activities to get your family, friends or youth group working together and learning to depend on each other.  Here’s a few of our favorites.

Helium Stick

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Helium Stick is a team building game that will get your whole group laughing.

You play Helium Stick by lining up in two rows which face each other.  Give them the Helium Stick- a long, thin, lightweight rod such as PVC pipe.

Ask the players to point their index fingers and hold their arms out. Lay the Helium Stick down on their fingers. Get the group to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone’s index fingers are touching the stick. The challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.

NOTE: Each person’s fingers must be in touching the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole in not allowed – it must rest on top of fingers. Everyone’s fingers MUST be touching the Helium Stick!

It sounds easy but the stick seems to float to the top until the group works diligently to lower it to the ground. The trick is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone’s fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the stick. As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to ‘float’ upwards.

I like this team building activity because it doesn’t require a lot of equipment or advance preparation. Hope it’s fun for your family.

Shark Island

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Object: The entire group of 12- 20 people must board a 2-foot-square
Platform without anyone touching the ground around it.

Rules:
Everyone must remain on the platform for at least 10 seconds.
Everyone must have both feet off the ground.
Don’t put people more than two high.

Outcome:
Talk with the participants about teamwork, leadership and problem
solving skills. Emphasize that when someone feels that they have a
problem that is impossible to solve, that we can work together as a
family to help them find a solution.  The most difficult part of this team building activity is getting the platform.  If you are not able to get a platform you can tape your square on the floor and use a piece of carpet.  It’s not quite as "thrilling" as a raised platform but can still be  learning experience for your group.

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The Couch Game

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To play this game you need equal numbers of guys and girls, and form a team of each. You can ask girls to join the guys team if required and vice versa. You will also need a couch, which can be a real couch (which would replace four seats) or four adjacent seats or lawn chairs.

Write all of the players’ names onto pieces of paper and give one slip to each players. You become whoever your piece of paper says you are – don’t tell anyone whose name you have.

Everyone sits in a circle, alternate guy, girl, with four people on the couch and the rest on chairs. Have one extra, empty chair.

The object of the game is to get all your gender onto the couch. The person who is sitting with the empty chair to their left calls out a name, trying to get the opposite gender off the couch. The person with that piece of paper must stand up and move to the empty chair. They then swap their piece of paper with the caller. The next person to call is the one with now empty space to their left.

For example, say that Megan calls out "Jack". Grandpa has the name "Jack" on his paper so he moves to the empty chair and exchanges papers with Megan. So Megan now becomes "Jack". The person who was next to Grandpa now has an empty space on the left and is the next caller.

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This goes on until one team has 4 of their own players on the couch.

This game starts off slowly and the games don’t last long but as the players catch on they will really start paying attention and memorizing the names people are exchanging.

Human Ladder

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Object: The group lines up in two rows with each row facing the other. Each pair of persons (one from each row) facing each other will hold a dowel. (One 3′ x 1½’ dowel per person or a 3’ x 2×2 stick.) The object is to have one person standing at the end who will crawl across the horizontal ladder formed by the dowels. Caution: Make sure the dowels you have will support your group member’s weight! A volunteer starts at one end of the human ladder and climbs (horizontally) along the rungs of the ladder. After the climber passes over a rung of the ladder, team members "leap frog" to the front of the ladder, allowing the climber to continue climbing indefinitely. 

Rules:
The climber must touch every rung of the ladder.
The group can hold the dowels in any manner desired— high, low, or forming a turn.
Do not hold the rungs above shoulder height.

Not-So-Newlywed Game

Cruise ships are famous for their scrumptious never-ending food and their fun entertainment.  Many  entertainment options are designed to get ship-goers an opportunity to participate in the fun.  As we plan our “Crusin” family reunion we looked for opportunities to get family members involved and decided a “Not-So-Newlywed” game would fit the bill.

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Rules for Not-So-Newlywed Game

The Newlywed Game is played in couples. Choose a variety of couples such as the longest married couple; the most recently married, a favorite of the family, and a couple that you just know will have funny answers. It is best to limit the game to four couples though you may use more if you need to. The disadvantage is that the more couples the longer the game so think about you audience and how long the game will keep their interest.

There are two rounds- one for the men and one for the women. Couples are awarded points for each correct answer based on the value of the question. All couples receive the points for each correct answer. Highest score after the second rounds wins the game.

There is no right or wrong answers- the answers the couples give must just be the same.

Begin the game with all couples sitting together at the front of the room or your playing area. Introduce the host of the game (Choose someone who will be happy to do it, has a good sense of humor and will make the game fun for everyone.) Then excuse the women (have them escorted to a room or area here they will not be able to hear their husband’s answers) The host can then ask the husbands the following questions. Do not attempt to explain the questions- if they have a question about the question just repeat it but don’t explain it.

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Not-So-Newlywed Questions for Men

5 pts What is your wife’s blood type?

5pts. What is your wife’s favorite salad dressing?

5 pts At what specific game or sport will your wife say that she is better than you?

10 pts. What traffic sign best describes your wife?

10 pts. Without looking what is the highest denomination bill in your wallet right now?

25 pts. What cereal best describes your marriage? Life, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Nut ‘n Honey

When you have answers for all of these questions, invite the women back in to sit by their husbands and ask them the same questions you asked the men.

5 pts What is your blood type?

5pts. What is your favorite salad dressing?

5 pts At what specific game or sport are you better at then your husband?

10 pts. What traffic sign did your husband say best describes you?

10 pts. What is the highest denomination bill in your husband’s wallet right now?

25 pts. What cereal best describes your marriage? Life, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Nut ‘n Honey

Recognize the couple with the highest score so far and of course, poke a little friendly fun at the couple with the lowest score. Then dismiss the men and ask the women the next round of questions.

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Not-So-Newlywed Questions for Women

5 pts. What is your husband’s shoe size?

5 pts. What color is your husband’s favorite tie?

5 pts. What was the last movie you and your spouse last saw together?

10 pts. When did your husband say he actually realized for the first time that he was seriously in

love with you?

10 pts. What is your husband’s favorite snack before going to bed?

25 pts. What movie star will your husband say he is most like: Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or John Wayne?

When you have answers for all of these questions, invite the men back in to sit by their husbands and ask them the same questions you asked the women.

5 pts. What is your shoe size?

5 pts. What color is your favorite tie?

5 pts. What was the last movie you and your spouse last saw together?

10 pts. When did you realize for the first time that you were seriously in love with your wife?

10 pts. What is your favorite snack before going to bed?

25 pts. What movie star will your wife say you are most like- Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or John Wayne?

Total the points and award prizes to the winning couple. You may also award smaller prizes to the 2nd and 3rd place couple and a booby prize to the losing couple (box of Milk Duds for being such duds)

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Additional Questions to Substitute as Needed:

What is your spouse’s dream car?

What is your spouse’s favorite color?

What will your wife say is the one gift she received this Christmas that she loved the most?

What is the most unusual piece of clothing that your wife wears?

What is the color of your spouse’s toothbrush?

Which one of your wife’s friends would you say is the biggest gossip?

How many windows will your spouse say are in the largest room of your home?

What is the license plate number on your car?

What was your curfew when you were dating?

What did you do on your first date?

What percentage of the housework would your husband say he does?

Husbands, if your wife could send you to a Body Repair Shop, what on you would she have fixed?

What home improvement project needs to be done next at your house?

What time of day was your first child born?

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Home for the Holidays Family Reunion

You can find more fun activities like the “Not-so-Newlywed” game in the “Home for the Holidays” reunion theme package.

“Home for the Holidays” is one of our favorite family reunion themes. It is especially appropriate if you have a family member such as a serviceman or missionary that has been away from the family for awhile.

We celebrated every holiday we could think of during the three-day family reunion. We went trick or treating to family trailers and tents. When we woke up Sunday morning, the children found the Easter Bunny had left plastic eggs all over the campground and we had a huge family birthday cake. We celebrated Thanksgiving with a delicious turkey and even played a Christmas Right/Left game.

Glow in the Dark Party

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If it glows in the dark I’m probably going to love it!  In fact, this year at our family reunion we’re having a glow in the dark 5K race- it’ going to be so cool!

For my oldest son’s birthday this year we had a glow-in-the-dark party and we tried  a lot of fun, new ideas. 

Black Lights

Black lights will really help your party glow. You can rent black lights for about $10.00 a day but we found black light strips at Walmart for under $20.00 which included the light bulb and stand. We only needed two lights to light up our party.

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We put black lights everywhere for the ultimate glow!

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  • Glow In the Dark Jello

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  • I decided to try my hand at glow in the dark jello.  The secret ingredient is “Tonic Water”.  Tonic Water is found on the soda isle of your grocery store.  HINT:  Don’t use diet Tonic water.  HINT:  Tonic water taste nasty!  Use as little as possible.  The recipe below calls for 1 cup of Tonic water- I cut that in half and it worked great!
  • 2 8 serving boxes of Jell-O- I used blue.
  • 1 cup of Tonic Water- I used 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups of Water- if reducing Tonic water increase this to 2 cups
  • Bring the Tonic Water and the water to a boil
  • Stir in the Jell-O mix and allow it to completely dissolve
  • Pour into clear cups and refrigerate until set. 
  • To serve put on table with black lights and let the glow begin.

Glow in the Dark Kick Ball

The best part of our party was glow in the dark kick ball.  Glow in the dark anything is really hard to photograph but here’s a picture of a kick ball my daughter ordered online.  It is available from flybynightsports.com/ for less than $20.00.  You just add 4 glow sticks to the ball and it glows.  These glow balls are called “volleyballs” but we were afraid the glow sticks would make the ball uncontrollable so we choose to play kickball with them.  We’ve used the ball three times and kicked it to death but it seems unaffected by all the abuse.  You can find glow in the dark volleyball instructions at familyreunionhelper.com/.

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Mark bases with glow necklaces and sticks and make sure all the players are decked out in their glow finest.

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Glow in the Dark Whiffle Ball

Another glow in the dark favorite at our family gatherings is glow in the dark whiffle ball.  Wiffle Ball is a fun game that is played like baseball but the balls and bats are made out of plastic. We were always sad when the sun went down and we had to go inside but no more- now you can play Glow in the Dark Wiffle Ball and the darker the better.

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No matter what glow in the dark activity you choose you can find many great glow products in the family reunion helper store.

Shocking “Bloomers” Game!!

 

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A Game That’s Perfect for the Whole Family

I first played the “Bloomers” game at a family party when I was a teenager and  was scared to death.  I was so afraid that the music would stop and I would be stuck with the box of “bloomers” that was being passed around.  Thirty years later whenever I think about that game I laugh- it was so intense and I was so relieved at the “surprise” ending of the game.

This is a very scary game for boys ages 8- 14. (There is nothing scarier to a boy of this age than women’s underwear) This game is a good game for any party but is especially fitting for a mixed crowd that includes young boys.

Bloomers!

Everyone should sit in a circle. Ask if they know what old fashioned bloomers are. Explain that in the olden days they used to call women’s underwear “bloomers”. 

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Hold up a box that is neatly wrapped. (In advance, you should have wrapped the box in at least ten different layers of wrapping paper.) Tell your family that inside the box are a pair of bloomers. It is IMPORTANT that you use the correct wording- you don’t want to say that there is  UNDERWEAR in the box you just want them to THINK that there is.

Everyone will pass the box around the circle while music is being played. When the music stops the person holding the box must unwrap one layer of wrapping paper. 

Start the music again and begin passing the box again.  Continue until all of the paper is off the box.  The person who removes the last layer of paper must open the box and model the bloomers for everyone to see.

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HINT: Be careful how you word your instructions because inside the box is not a pair of old fashion women’s bloomers but a pair (two) bloomers from the garden. The shocked look on the person’s face when he realizes that it’s just “flowers” he is modeling and not “underwear” is a joy to see.

Prehistoric, Caveman or Dinosaur Family Reunion

I love this family reunion theme!  It’s so flexible- with some minor tweaking your prehistoric reunion can become a dinosaur or caveman party. 

A “prehistoic” theme can be the perfect choice for someone celebrating a milestone birthday and adds some good natured fun to your celebration.

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One of the first family reunions I ever planned was a dinosaur reunion back in the early 80’s.  We made large, plywood dinosaur cut outs to decorate our reunion site.  We served Brontosaurs burgers and went on a hike to find giant dinosaur eggs.

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To throw the perfect caveman party, you will need to look the part. You can find fun Caveman or Flintstones costumes and accessories at costume store or online. (A good resource for Flintstone costumes is http://www.flintstonecostumes.com/)  You can also fashion your own out costumes out of fake fur, and animal-print fabrics. Don’t forget unkempt hair, bare feet, bone necklaces and hair bows, clubs and spears!

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With this fun family reunion theme you can plan a Saber Tooth Tiger Cateye hike in the dark or challenge family members to work together to make a prehistoric pipeline. Prehistoric “baseball” is a silly way to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. 

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A fill in the blank invitation is included along with recipes and ideas for "Good Things to Eat". Don’t forget to print off the dinosaur Bunko score card and the dinosaur trivia printable and leave dinosaur footprints all over your reunion site with the footprint printable pattern. Reunion activities for one day or a weekend of prehistoric family fun!

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For $19.95 you can let loose your families’ inner beast with family reunion helper’s Caveman theme package

Prehistoric Reunion Activities include;

  • Invitation printables
  • Dinosaur riddles
  • Dinosaur Trivia printable Game
  • Baking Soda Volcano instructions
  • "Lost World" Obstacle Course
  • Pet Rock Instructions
  • Dinosaur cookie decorating
  • prehistoric baseball
  • prehistoric pipeline
  • Dinosaur footprint painting
  • Dinosaur Bunko
  • "Good Things to Eat"
  • children’s games and activities
  • team building activities
  • dinosaur egg hunt
  • fossil painting
  • Slime recipe
  • costume helps
  • Saber Tooth Tiger cateye hike. A night time hike with flashlights.

Saddle Up For an Easter Egg Hunt on Horseback

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Our Stewart family’s horseback Easter egg hunt has become a tradition that we have celebrated for the past seven years, ever since we moved to Bear River City.  Easter is one of my favorite holidays and horses are my favorite animal, so it just seemed natural to put them together.

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I tell my adult children, “I don’t care if I have to share you on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but I want you for the Saturday before Easter.”  And they come, sometimes bringing friends or other family members.  Each year it seems our family changes and grows and we plan our Easter egg hunt around those changes.

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To make things more fair for the inexperienced and younger riders, Uncle Steven and I hide the eggs according to color. Each rider has a different color or style of egg.  For instance, last year we had basketball eggs for Kory, purple eggs for Megan, football eggs for Ryan, chicken shaped eggs for Brynna, pink eggs for Janie, and so forth. 

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We’ve been collecting eggs for years, and since we ask everyone to leave their eggs and just take the candy home, we have quite a collection.  Assigning each rider their own color makes it possible for us to hide the eggs according to the rider’s ability.  Uncle Steven especially likes to hide eggs in unusual places- like hanging them from tree branches.

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A few of our family members are experienced riders and we love hiding their eggs in difficult locations- over ditches, in trees, through gates and around obstacles such as wood piles and water hazards. For our lower level riders, we have a rule that you have to be touching some part of your horse when you pick up an egg. This makes it possible for riders with less experience to get off their horse to get an egg.

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Last year we added “jumbo” sized eggs to the hunt and they sure made things more challenging and interesting .

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After the riders find their designated colored eggs, they are allowed to hunt for the prized golden eggs, which hold items like movie tickets, gift certificates and money.

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This is the most exciting part of the hunt, as riders become a little more daring and often find themselves racing for the same golden egg as another rider.

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Last year we had more little ones, so we did a hunt for them before the adult riding hunt began. We have to work the hunt around the weather, so it  usually begins at about 11:00.  Following the hunt, we usually play with the horses, give them their annual vaccinations and worm them, eat barbecue and potato salad and play badminton.

This year we add a new son-in-law and grandson to the mix so we’ll need two more colors of eggs and two more chairs at our Easter table.  And as our family continues to grow and change, so will our Easter Egg hunt.

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As for our horses, they aren’t too fond peanut butter eggs or jelly beans but they do receive their own prizes in the form of carrots, apples and other treats.

Aunt MO

Rules of Chocolate Easter Eggs

If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.

If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge.  Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

Game Night!

Invite tons of your friends or family to a “game night”!  Begin by setting up game stations.  Let your guests choose a game they would like to play and when everyone has made their game choice set a timer for 15 minutes and let the fun begin.  When the timer dings everyone rotates to a new game whether they have finished the game they have been playing or not.

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This is a great way to mix up family members at your family reunion and help them to get to know each other a little better.

According to a Hasbro press release, a 1999 article in Psychology Today asserted that you can learn more about someone by playing a game than going on 10 dates. And you can learn more about yourself by playing a game than you can from several therapy sessions.

You can make signs to help your guests easily find the game they would like to play.

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Board game suggestions for your game night party:
  • Monopoly
  • Clue
  • Cranium
  • Life
  • Jenga
  • Sorry
  • Candy Land
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  • Shoots and Ladders
  • Scrabble
  • Apples to Apples
  • After rotating through four games (approximately one hour of game playing time) have everyone come together to play one giant group game.  Some game suggestions are:

Trivial Pursuit
Bingo

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Taboo
Pictionary
Outburst
Trash or Treasures

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Scattergories
Minute to Win it

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For refreshments, set up a fun candy station that guests can help themselves to during their game playing or ask everyone to bring a treat to share.

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You must invent your own games and teach us old ones how to play.
Nikki Giovanni

Baby, Bronco, Backpack

 

If you’re looking for a fun game that any number of people can play and that doesn’t need a lot of advance preparation or props then “Baby, Bronco, Backpack” is the game for you.

Gather your group together and have them split into groups of two.  It’s usually best if groups are fairly evenly matched- same size and strength etc. but mismatched teams can add to the fun.

Explain the three poses teams must be able to form.

 

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If the leader of the game says “BRONCO” one person in each group of two will jump down on all fours and the second team member will sit on their back as if they are riding a horse.

 

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If the leader says “BABY” one of the players in each team of two will jump into the arms of the second team member as if they are being cradled like a baby.

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If the leader says “BACKPACK” one of the players in each group of two will jump on the back of the second player like they are getting a piggy back ride.

The last team of two to form up the combination is out of the game and teams are eliminated until there are two teams left and the winning team is determined.

 
For larger groups you may need to say that the last three are out.
As teams get a little more experience you can make the game more fun by yelling out combinations of movements such as “BABY, BRONCO, BACKPACK, BABY, GO!” The teams of two will frantically go through all of those until they perform the last “BABY.”

BABY!

HINT: One rule that may help you keep some control of the game is to explain before hand that the teams can not move until you say “GO!”

Glow in the Dark Volleyball

Anything you can play on the dark with glow sticks and black lights is sure to be a huge success at your family reunion or party.

Played in the dark, the net, ball, out-of-bounds line and related equipment come alive with the glowing magic of glow sticks, bracelets, tape and black lights!

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You will have to do some advance planning and gather the following equipment for your glow in the dark game.

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Purchase glow in the dark tape to wrap around volleyball, beach ball, plastic play ball or purchase a real glow in the dark volleyball available at Family Reunion Helper.

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Glow Bracelets

Buy lots of glow bracelets.  You will need them for the net and for everyone to wear. Glow bracelets are pretty inexpensive- a hundred for under $10.00 in the Family Reunion Helper store.  Glow sticks are also fun to hang on the net.

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Black Lights

You can rent black lights for about $10.00  a day but we found black light strips at Walmart for under $20.00 which included the light bulb and stand.  We only needed two lights to light up our small gym.

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Other black lights as are available.  Tape to the wall for added fun.  Don’t forget extension cords for all these lights.  

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White T-shirts

Ask family members to wear white t-shirts for extra fun.  Some will forget but it won’t interfere with the game.  Most shirts that are 100% cotton will glow in the dark under black lights.

You can play glow in the dark volleyball using just glow sticks but adding black lights really gives the game an illuminating boost!

For refreshments serve glow in the dark lemonade- the secret to glowing food is tonic water (diet tonic water works too).  It contains quinine, and guess what happens when you expose quinine to black light yep, it glows!  Tonic water can have a bit of a bitter taste to it so use as little as possible.  Hint:  Serve glow in the dark Jell-O by replacing some of the water with tonic water.

“It’s better to illuminate than merely to shine.”

Aunt MO

Clever Ice Breaker Game Idea

This is a fun idea for an ice breaker game for your next  family reunion or family party.  It is even a fun idea for a work, school or church function.

Divide into groups of about 10.  The groups work together to determine the  total amount of points they have  earned.  Each team will need a team captain and recorder. 

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You can make up your own list of points but here are a few ideas to get  you started.

1.  Counting January as one point, February as two points and so on, add up the total points of your group.

2. Score one point for each college attended.

3. Score one point for every button on each shirt.

4. Total number of pennies teammates have in their pockets.

5. Total of all sizes added together- one shoe only per person.

6.  Hair color score- Black hair- 2 points, Brown hair- 1 point, Red hair- 3  points, Grey hair- 5 points, Blonde- 1 point

7. Five points for everyone that is  wearing glasses, 2 points for contacts.

8. One point for every child each person has, twins- 5 points, triplets- 10 points.

9. Minus 1 point for every soda or pop consumed.  Plus 1 point for every glass or bottle of water.

10. 1 point for everyone that is wearing a watch.

Add up the total of points each team has and award prizes to the team that has the “most” points, “least” points, “most unorganized” etc.