The Jumping, Running, Throwing Fun of an Obstacle Course

I’m not writing this blog for you, I’m writing it for me.  Every time I need to create an obstacle course I have to rethink every type of course we’ve done in the past.  Next time I have to make an obstacle course I’m just going to search for this blog,hopefully you’ll get some good ideas too.

Kids love obstacle courses and they’re pretty easy to create just using the things you have around your house or party area. 

The easiest way to create a course is to assign each person one obstacle or if it is for a family reunion, assign several families to each bring an obstacle.  You  can do this with little or no advance notice using just the things you have in the course area.

If you have a committee that is putting the course together spend some time brainstorming ideas for your course layout. If you will be at a campground you may be able to take advantage of a water hazard, large rocks and logs.

Eight to ten challenges is a good number for most people.  Here’s some tried and true obstacles that have proved to be fun  over the years.

Jumping Obstacles

Bales of straw or hay make a fun obstacle.  Other jumping obstacles can be logs, laundry baskets or rolled up sleeping bags.  Instead of jumping you can crawl under or over a row of chairs.

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Running Obstacles

Lay a ladder on the ground and children run through the ladder making sure they step in the hole between each rung on the ladder.

Every obstacle course needs a tire challenge of some sort.  When runners reach the tires, they have to run through them, placing one foot in each of the tires. The more tires you have the harder it becomes.

Swinging Obstacles

Everybody likes a good old rope swing and it’s a fun addition to any obstacle course. If you aren’t near a natural water hazard fill up a kiddy wading pool to provide an extra challenge. Several big knots tied in the rope’s end makes it easier to grab.

Balancing Obstacles

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Using logs, 2x4s or wooden planks makes for a fun balancing portion of your course.

Throwing Obstacles

Throw beanbags into a bucket or basket.  If you have access to a basketball hoop, require participants to make a basket before moving to the next challenge.  If football is your sport of choice throw a ball through a goal post made of PVC pipe.

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Silly Obstacles

Purchase some old couch cushions from the thrift store, mattress or foam pad and set out for participants to run through. This challenge will really slow runners down- just be sure to tell them there is no jumping allowed.

And don’t forget cones (good for zig zagging) and hula hoops (good substitute for tires).

A stopwatch (or the stopwatch on your cellphone) is essential for keeping track of their course times.  You can keep times individually or run your obstacle course as a team relay event.

Setting up an obstacle course is a wonderful way for adults and children to get some fun physical activity. Kids will do it as  part of an organized activity but when the “official” activity is over they’ll continue to play and be entertained making their own kind of fun.

Fun Party Games for Your Family Reunion

Are you looking for a fun game for your family party or reunion? Here’s a few fun  party games that also work well for  family reunions.  These games  work well for most ages  and abilities.

Paddle Ball Contest

I bought a dozen paddle balls, for under $10.00) from Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com) so that we could have 12 people compete at a time. Everyone needs a partner so count off in twos. One person will compete, the other will count. I suggest coming up with some rules, for example, competitors must hit the ball down not up, they must not touch the elastic or the ball.

Give everyone a 1 minute “warm up” to practice and develop their technique. Time for 1 minute and award medals to those that hit the ball the most times.  Then reverse and let the counter have a chance with the paddle.

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Feeding Frenzy Pudding Game

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You will need one single serving of pudding for each participant. Teams of two sit one behind each other. The person behind puts their arms underneath the person in front. (See pictures) The person behind must feed the person in front the pudding. First team done is the winner of that round. Teams then reverse and the person that was in front now sits behind and its their turn to “get even”!

Spray Bottle Relay

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Set a garbage can 12′ from the foul line and place container of balloons behind the foul line. When the clock starts, player may toss balloon in the air from behind the foul line and attempt to direct it into the trash can using only the spray bottle. If the balloon hits the ground, the spray bottle, or any part of the player’s body, it’s void. A player may reuse an old balloon or use a new balloon to make a new attempt from behind the foul line. To complete the game, player must move 1 balloon through the air and into the trash can using only the water from the spray bottle within the 60-second time limit.

Pool-ategories!

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This game is as fun to watch as it is to play. First, chose a leader to be the “caller”. After you have chosen the caller, they will think of a category (colors, animals, ice cream flavors, etc).  People will line up at the diving board. One person will jump off the diving board and the caller will say a category as soon as they leave the diving board. The person who jumps off has to name something in the category before they hit the water. If he or she does, they return to the line. If they do not, they are out. Then the next person in line goes.  The last person in the game is the caller for the next round.

Balloon Stomp

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I think this is Uncle Scott’s favorite party game and it really does work well with a large group of people.

An area of your family reunion site is cordoned off or you could use an inside area. Participants tie a balloon to each ankle. On a whistle all the contestants have to try to stomp on each other’s balloons and pop them. If both of your balloons are popped you are out. The winner is the last one with a un-popped balloon on their leg.

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.

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.

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
  • 042
  • 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

Minute to Win it Party

If you’re looking for a fun party idea consider hosting  a “Minute to Win it” party.   “Minute to Win it” is a low stress, fun way to have a party.
The television version of the game makes hosting a “Minute to Win it” party fairly simple. You can do most of the preparation in advance so on the day of the party there is very little last minute running around.

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The first step to planning a “Minute to Win it” party is to select the games or challenges you want to include.  Go to the “Minute to Win it” website and search for games by Name, Most Viewed or Most Popular.  Use this link to go to the website.

http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/

After choosing the games download the instructions included on the website.  For instance, for our party we played “Hanky Panky”.  You find the video of those instructions here-

http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/how-to/episode-120/hanky-panky/

Using these videos makes explaining the rules of the game easy- you just play the video!

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We also downloaded a video clock so that we didn’t need to use a clock or timer- we just started the video.

Having this video timer made the competition fun for everyone- spectators and competitors.

Some of our challenges were held inside for a few we had to mve outside.

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My brother, Lee, who organized the “Minute to Win it” competition was very organized so we didn’t have to wait while he found the props he needed.  Lee also separated the family into teams, mixing everyone up, not keeping families together.  Of course the winning team did get a prize to share.

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Twelve Classic Games for Your Family Reunion

 

I heard a quote once that has stuck with me. IT goes like this- “New and improved is not always better than tried and true”. That quote kind of sums up the games I’ve included here- they are not “new and improved” but they are certainly “tried and true” classic games that we probably all played as kids growing up. Try some of these classic games at your next family reunion or party.

Game #1. Three Legged Race

I remember doing the three legged race at the Fackrell family reunion when I was a girl, this certainly is “classic” reunion game.

Equipment: Bandanas or rope for each team of two

clip_image002How to Play: Each team breaks into pairs (matching an adult with a child keeps things fair and interesting). Using a bandanna or a piece of rope or twine, each pair ties one partner’s right ankle to the other’s left ankle. When the whistle blows, all of the pairs, assembled side by side at the starting line, race to the finish line. The first team whose pairs all cross the finish line wins.

Game #2. Clothes Pin Drop Game

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Equipment: Canning jar or wide mouth bottle of any type, wood clothespins, chair

How to Play: When playing this game at family reunion you will want to divide into teams. You will need a bottle, chair and clothespins for each team. Place the bottle on the floor behind the chair. Players line up behind the chair. The first player kneels on the chair, leaning over the chair back. Each player gets 3 clothespins to try to drop in the jar. When each person has a had a turn dropping in the clothespins they count the number of pins in the jar. The team with the most clothespins in the jar is the winner. NOTE: You will want to make some rules about where you hold your hand while dropping the clothespins. I suggest keeping your hand at your chin.

Game #3. Kick-the-Can

If you like Hide ‘n’ Go Seek and Tag- this is the game for your family reunion!

Equipment: can (empty tin can)

How to Play: Depending on how many people you have, you choose one person who will be IT (you can have 2 or 3 if you would like.) You choose a designated "prison." By the prison you put a standing can. You have IT close their eyes while the rest go and hide somewhere. Then whenever IT chooses, they can go and look for their soon-to-be prisoners. Once a hider is captured, IT takes them back to the "prison" and that one has to stay there. The only way the prisoner may come out is if one that has not been captured kicks the can, then all those inside the prison are free. But, if the one who attempts to kick the can gets caught before kicking the can, he has to go to prison. You may decide when the game is over, by either everyone is captured or if IT gives up.
NOTE: At our family reunion we like to play this game in pairs- the game moves faster and no one gets stuck being "IT".

Game 4. Wheelbarrow Race

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Game 5. Pin the Tail on the Donkey

I like this game because it can be adapted to fit any family reunion theme you are using. For instance, you can do pin the “crown” on the “king” if you are using a medieval theme for your reunion or “Pin the moustache on the outlaw” if you are using a western theme.

Equipment needed: Donkey picture and tails, tape or pins

How to Play: Hang up a picture of a donkey without a tail. Line the kids up a few feet away and give each one a tail e a different color). Blindfold the first child and slowly spin him around three times. Point him in the direction of the poster to tape on his tail. The child that puts the tail closest to the correct spot on the donkey is the winner.

Game #6. Gunny Sack Race

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You can get gunny sacks, also known as burlap bags or potato sacks at co-op or feed stores such as IFA or Cal Ranch.

Equipment needed: Gunny sacks

How to Play: Line your family up at one end of the field. Contestants should step into the bag, one foot at a time until both legs are inside. The bag should come up to at least the player’s hips. Both legs have to remain inside the bag and the bag should stay up around the waist. On the word “GO”, racers begin hopping to the finish line.

Game #7 Duck, Duck Goose

Once I decided to be clever and adapt this game to my family reunion theme. It didn’t work- kids just want to play it saying “duck, duck goose”. They don’t like a “new and improved” version of this game.

Equipment: none

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How to Play: In this game, kids sit down in a circle facing each other. One person is "it" and walks around the circle. As they walk around, they tap people’s heads softly and say whether they are a "duck" or a "goose". Once someone is the "goose" they jump up and try to chase "it" around the circle. The goal is to tap that person before they are able sit down in the "goose’s" spot. If the goose is not able to do this, they become "it" for the next round and play continues. If they do tap the "it" person, the person tagged has to sit in the center of the circle. Then the goose becomes it for the next round. The person in the middle can’t leave until another person is tagged and they are replaced.

Game #8. Mother May I (or Father may I, or whatever fits your family reunion or party theme!)

Line all children up on a start line and put one child on the finish line who is “Mother”. Mother will then tell each child, one at a time, to “take one giant step forward” or “do 3 spins forward” or “take 2 baby steps forward”. That player must then say “Mother May I?” Mother then gives permission to take the steps. If a child forgets to say, “mother may I?” then that child must return to the start line. The first child to cross the finish line wins and gets to be the “Mother” next.


Game #9.Red Light Green Light

Equipment needed: none

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How to Play: Line your family up on the starting line. Choose one of your family members to be “it” . “It” stands on the finish line. “It” shuts his eyes and calls out “green light”. At this signal, the other children begin to run towards the finish line. Then “it” calls “red light” and opens his eyes. The other players, when they hear “red light” must freeze. The first child to reach the finish line wins and gets to be “it” next time.

Game #10. Red Rover

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Equipment: none

How to Play: Divide the family into 2 teams. Each team makes a line by holding hands and stretching the line out. The two teams are arranged facing each other about 20 feet apart. One team begins by saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (person’s name on other team) over.” The person whose name was called runs from his line and tries to break through the hands of any two people on the other team. If he successfully breaks through he then chooses one opponent to take back to his team with him. If he does not break through he must stay on the opposing team. The team to get the most players wins.

Game #11. Blind Man’s Bluff

Equipment: Bandana or other blindfold and a big open area

How to Play: Chose someone to be “it”. They count to 12. (You don’t want to give them too long to hide or get too far away”.) As “it” counts everyone else finds a place to hide or stand in the playing area. When “it” gets to 12 he then yells “stop.” Everyone must freeze where they are. “It” then says, “BLIND MAN’S” and the players must each say, “BLUFF”. You may not move and “it” must try to find each of the other players blindfolded using only their voices as direction to them.

Game # 12. Tug-0-War

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Another classic game that can be adapted to your family reunion theme. Pit family against family or make up team names that fit your reunion theme.

Equipment needed: About a 120 foot rope (Measure 15 feet from the center in each direction and tape the rope at those points. When this line crosses the line on the ground, the team on that end has lost.) and perhaps some gloves

How to Play: Line both teams up on their respective ends of the rope. Each team pulls until one side’s tape crosses the line.

Aunt MO