Last March I wrote about the delicious evening meals enjoyed on our annual ski trip and the fellowship that endures around the table. This tradition also includes a post-dinner game night. Over the years, we’ve engaged in scavenger hunts, intense Pictionary matches, unforgettable charades and high-tech Olympics.
As a group, we’re eternally grateful to Jenny, our Mistress of Gaming. Each year, despite her abundant schedule, Jenny works to plan an evening of kid entertainment complete with awards and prizes as well as some fun for the grown-ups. Tonight after a wonderful meal from Chef Lee, we watched the kids break into three teams for It’s a Wonderful World.
The first stop on the evening program was at the dinner table where kids and adults who forgot to bring poetry scratched out haiku that related to our theme. There were lots of topics up for grab including endangered species, composting, recycling, and bringing peace. Those who wrote a poem or song at home in advance were off the hook.
The actual game night began with the anointing of Father Earth who received the “I Found My Roots” award for his outstanding performance in the 2010 Charades. Father Earth kicked off the reading of the verses where the poetic talent of the group was exposed. Here are a couple of samples:
We spread peace to all
First, we find peace in ourselves
Then, give it to others.
Don’t pollute the world
Do not throw trash on the ground
Let’s all start right now.
The kids broke into three pre-designated teams – red, green and yellow – for a bit of trivia. All teams got the assignment to create a short skit that answered the question, “What do you wish was different in order for the world to be a more wonderful place?”
Then each team got three questions (orchestrated in advance for maximum success) such as “Name at least two foods within each of the following categories that are good for you to eat; proteins, carbohydrates, fats.” Upon finishing the Quiz Show, the scavenger hunt began. The teams collected 15 creepy crawlers that were hidden around the ski house to be used as currency with the Survivor Guy.
Next stop, rotation through six stations:
- Survivor Guy – Turn in the bugs they found on the scavenger hunt for sour neon worms that they must eat.
- Mount Everest – Become a sherpa. Carry a teammate up the stairs and on the way down, pick up trash left by other climbers.
- Green Grocer – Taste a strange food sample and guess what it is and where it comes from. We used sugar cane, kiwano melon, and rutabaga.
- Planet Theatre Playhouse – Draw an eco-related scenario from a deck of cards and then perform it as improv.
- There’s an App for that – Design an iphone app on a storyboard and present to the venture capitalist. The better idea gets more Earth Bucks.
- Crocodile Swamp – Jump rope over the crocodile swamp to get a clue and jump back. The clues lead to answers about the wetlands.
Then they visit the Whole Earth Store and cash out their Earth Bucks for recycled toys or planet friendly gadgets.
Whew! What I love about this first and foremost is being amongst friends but the creativity and inspiration is always memory-building. Although we do this as part of our annual ski trip, there’s nothing that would prevent anyone from orchestrating a game night for friends and neighbors.
- Select a fun and current theme
- Create stations and activities based upon the number of adults that will be present
- Build the teams ahead of time so that siblings are split up and that there is a wide range of ages on each team
- Send out homework or assignments in advance – in this case, we were asked to write a poem and to bring gently used toys for prizes.
- Engage a couple of kids or adults to brainstorm the stations.
- On the day before or morning of the event, make signage for each station and figure out the flow of the event according to the floor plan
- Finalize the flow of the evening and confer with others so that they understand the plan
One great thing about an invented game night like this is that no one knows if it doesn’t go exactly as planned. Be flexible. Have fun. Laugh a lot. Take pictures.