A couple of years ago as one of our family parties wound down, one of my mother’s friends said, “What a wonderful party – it’s so wonderful to laugh. We don’t laugh enough these days, don’t you think? ”
Our family parties are, well, different than most other parties. The main difference between our parties and other parties is – party games. We have a large repetoire of partty games that make us laugh. Here are some of my favourites.
Plum plum plum
Plum plum plum is noisy and boistrous – the way a party game should be. You need about ten people for this, sitting in a circle with one person in the middle.
Starting with the youngest player, each player in the circle chooses a different fruit.
The object of the game is for the person in the middle to point at one of the people sitting down and say the name of their fruit three times before that person says the name of their fruit just once. It doesn’t matter who is being looked at – it’s who is being pointed at that has to answer with their fruit.
If the person in the middle wins, they and the person they beat swap places – but the name of the fruit stays attached to that position. (So after a while nobody will be in their original positions and everyone will have to remember new fruit.)
Note – you might want to ban really long (over three syllable) names; my father once chose “pomegranite” and we never managed to shift him.
The name game
This one is a little more sedate than Plm Plum Plum…
To start this game ask everyone to think of a character or person – it could be someone famous, it could even be someone in the room. Then you should go outside, and each person should come to you one at a time and tell you the names they have chosen.
Once you have made a note of all the names, read them out to everyone. Then read them out again – and then the game begins. (By the way, you don’t play the game as you know who everyone is.)
Pick someone to start. That person choose a player and says, “Shirley, I think you are Darth Vader” (or whichever name they think that Shirley has chosen). If that player is wrong and Shirley isn’t Darth Vader, then it’s Shirley’s turn to try and guess who someone is.
When someone is correctly guessed, that person is out, and the person who guessed correctly gets another go. The game ends when there is only one person left – the winner!
The trick to playing this game is first choosing an unexpected name (one that isn’t normally associated with you) and then remembering the names on the list (as it is easy to forget after you’ve been playing for a few minutes).
I’m sure you have played traditional charades, the game where you mime out the title of a book, movie or television programme. Well, we find that they’re a little too easy…
We play this with one person setting the charades for two teams to work their way through. We normally use the same list, jumbled up so that they aren’t miming the same thing at the same time.
As for what we get our willing volunteers to mime – we pick item from a hardware catalogue. So instead of trying to mime “Wind in the Willows”, they are miming “Cordless power screwdriver” or “Claw hammer with non-slip handle”.
For a more sedate version of this game, you can play this with pen and paper instead of miming.
Who am I?
We quite often play this one as an icebreaker.
This game requires a little bit of preparation. First, get some stickers (Post-It notes aren’t really robust enough but sticky address labels are ideal) and write the name of someone famous on each. The game is played with you putting a sticker on each player’s back (or their forehad, if they are up for it). That player then tries to guess who they are by only asking yes/no questions of the other players (for example, “Am I male?” “Am I a politician?” “Am I Bill Clinton?”).
Lots of people can play this, and they can all play it at once, with players taking it in turns to ask questions. Each time someone is successful, they come to you for another sticker.
If you are playing this competitively, the person who guesses the most is the winner.
It is easy to theme this game by choosing 1950’s movie stars, or characters from The Lord of the Rings, for example.
Chinese Mimes is a more energetic version of Chinese whispers. It can be played as a team, or just for fun.
In Chinese whispers, the players line up all facing away from player #1. Player #1 then taps player #2 on the shoulder, and player #2 turns around. Player #1 mimes out an action to player #2. When they are finished, player #2 taps player #3 on the shoulder, and then mimes out the actions. And so the mime carries on down the line until at the end the last player as to try and figure out what the action was.
If you are playing in teams, the first players in each team should agree to do the same mime.
The mimes should be slightly off-beat. For example: Filling a steam iron with water, trying on a wedding dress, carrying out the safety instructions on an aeroplane…
As I hope you can see, you can drop these games into almost any party – so let your hair down, play a game and have a laugh!