Family Fun & Games



Splashdown game

The goal is to get wet, so plan ahead mom and dad.  Each player gets a small bucket – recommend 2 1/2 gallon pail, filled with water and a big car wash sponge.  Players stand about eight feet apart with their buckets on the ground in front of them.  Each player tries to throw their wet sponge into the other’s bucket and splash the other player, of course.  Each successful toss is worth one point.  The sponges are thrown back and forth until one player reaches the agreed-upon final score total.  A great fun game on a hot day.   


This is an amusing and simple toy for children that requires nothing more than a balloon and a marble.  Simply place a marble inside a round balloon, carefully blow it up (keep your head tilted down so the marble stays in the balloon).  Tie off the one end and as you throw or roll the balloon, the balloon will bounce, jiggle, and spin in funtastic and unpredictable ways.    

Dancing Balloons


It’s time to get back to family values and families can organize some great activities for their children within their neighborhood that is relatively inexpensive.  The following families created these fun ideas and was published in Disney’s Family Fun Magazine, August 2010.  When arranging some of these block games, be sure to have prizes for the winner, but also have some consolation prizes or events for all players – such as making smores, roasting marshmallows, hot dog nite, etc.   

First – From Fort, Collins Colorado  – The Jarnagins created a Block Mini Golf Game   – The neighborhood got together and created mini golf holes in their yard using wading pools, sandboxes, and hoses.  Your creativity is not limited.  Players go from house-to-house trying to have the best score.  The Jarnigans fairway leads the players through an array of spraying sprinklers, called “Sprinkling Meadows”, while others had a giant cardboard SpongeBob and a balancing-act hole built from scaffolding.  The Jarnigans offered the prize to the winning adult as a spray-painted Golden Putter to display in their home until the next year – What an Exciting Annual Event!   The child with the best score wins a bucket of sidewalk chalk to share with friends.   

The Jarnigan's Neighborhood Mini-Golf Tournament

Second, The Callahans of Ladera Ranch, California hold a Progressive Game Night Party – Each family provides two games and finger food for snacks.  These are to be quick games with clear winners such as outdoor games and races or obstacle courses for kids.   Imagine the fun with Dad’s playing Twister?  If you think kids enjoy playing goofy games, imagine them watching their parents play.  Some of the other games they have played are hot-potato, beanbag toss, and so forth.  One of their favorites is dropping a bunch of cotton balls on the floor, being blind-folded and then scooping the balls into a bowl with a ladle, however, you often scooping  just air.  They keep score and the family who scores the most points, wins.  Some of their rewards to the play-off winners are a game kit, popcorn and sparking cider.   


Callahans' Family Game Night

Third, Tilton-Barrys of Salt Lake City, Utah hold a neighborhood Talent Show – Everyone is asked to bring a dish for the potluck dinner to share and a blanket to sit on.  This family breaks the ice with face-painting for the kids and family giving everyone a “carnival” feeling.  An MC is designated who introduces the various talent acts performing.  This annual event has seen a second-grader’s pots-and-pans percussion performance and a third-grader playing the violin while using a hoola-hoop.  DeAnn states this is a really good way to get to know your neighbors and the hidden talents that everyone has.  While it was not mentioned what the prizes were, I’m sure a simple trophy and other minor gifts could be obtained.  The next American Idol could be in your neighborhood!  

Tilton-Barrys Annual Talent Show Night

Fourth, and finally, The Byrneses of Dana Point, California hold a Movie Night – How many folks can boast a front-lawn drive-in movie, only without the cars?   The family also decided it was time to get to know the neighborhood and introduced the movie night.  First they hung up an old white sheet, an old projector and some rated G movies for family viewing.  Young kids started coming and asking if they could bring someone.  Now, they have anywhere up to 100 people in their lawn watching a movie under the stars.  Younger children often wear PJ’s in case they nod off.  The word is to bring your own blanket and snacks and  come enjoy a movie or two.  They plug  in their DVD player into a compatible projector and show movies on a five-foot screen.  What a great way to get to know your neighbors and enjoy the summer evening.

The Byrneses Family Night Movies

All of these ideas are great – they provide good family entertainment and give children something to do besides watch TV or play video games.  I sincerely applaud these families for their creativity.  Please share your ideas with us as well!

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