4th of July games

If you're hosting a 4th of July party, there are hours and hours to fill before the highlight events of the day begin - the fireworks. You'll want to have plenty of activities and games planned to keep everyone busy and entertained.

There are a variety of games you can plan that have a patriotic theme.

Balloon pass - This game involves relaying a balloon down a line of people. Use balloons that are red, white and blue and tell the participants they will be using their hands and their legs to pass the balloon down the line. Create two teams of people, and line them up in straight lines. Give the first person a balloon and tell them to put it between their legs, passing the balloon to the next person in line with their legs only. That person will take the balloon and pass it to the next person by putting it over their head. That third person will put the balloon between their legs and pass to the next person like that. The game continues until the balloon has passed all the way down the line. If you have a small group, require that the balloon get passed down the line and back again before declaring a winner.

Chalk it up - Pick a panel of judges (the oldest members of the family are the obvious picks) and have them become the official judges for a chalk contest. Break your guests into two teams (or more, depending on how many people are at the party) and give them each one or two containers of sidewalk chalk. Tell them to create a sidewalk picture that shows something patriotic, and tell them the flag must be included in the picture. Give them a time limit (depending on your group, this time limit might range from 10 minutes to 45 minutes) and then have the judges declare a winner after they have carefully examined all the artwork. You could have art-themed prizes for the winners.

Parade - One fun 4th of July activity that just screams "4th of July!" is a parade with decorated bikes, scooters and the like. Ask everyone who comes to the party to decorate their bike or scooter or other item in patriotic garb. You can have people bring them to the party already decorated and have a contest for "best bike", etc., but also fun is to have a decorating party within the party. Have all the items on hand to decorate the bikes and scooters and skateboards. You might have streamers, banners, flags, and ribbons. The children and adults can decorate their bikes and scooters as a party activity.

Guessing Game - These games are always popular for just about any occasion. Fill a large jar with peppermint candy (the red and white striped kind) and decorate it with blue and red ribbon. Have people guess how many candies are in the jar (which of course means you count as you place the candies in the jar). The winner, or the person who comes closest to the number without going over, gets the jar of candy.

Fireworks - If you're having fireworks at your home, you might have a big box of assorted fireworks. Everyone has their personal favorites and people might have clear ideas of what they want to see and hear. You can play a game to determine who gets to pick the next firework to go off next. You might ask trivia questions (why are there 13 stars on the flag?). Or you can have a dance off. While music plays in the background, each person who really wants to pick the next firework to go off has to dance the craziest, silliest dance they can come up with. Someone who's been designated a judge will decide who won the dance off and that person gets to pick the next fireworks item. Unless there are more fireworks than people, each person only gets to pick once.
Adult Christmas Games

Not all Christmas games have to be for children, or have to be serious. Good gracious, adults like to let their hair down and have a good, silly time too. Here are several games to get you started.

If this is a group that's not afraid of looking silly, here's just the game. Provide a pair of pantyhose for each team and a total of 8 balloons. When the game begins, the team should begin blowing up the balloons and the inflated balloons have to be put into the legs of the pantyhose. To make this game fair, the teams should be of equal number and the pantyhose not a petite size.

The game ends when someone gets all their balloons into the legs of the pantyhose, "wears" the antlers and sings the first verse of "Jingle Bells". Be sure to make everyone finish the game, however, so you can get a great picture of everyone in his or her pantyhose antlers.

For a fun relay-type game, how about making a Santa beard? Make a big bowl of cotton balls and get a container of Vaseline. Put some Vaseline on the chins of each member of each team (ideally, 2 teams of about 5 people each). The first players in line run to the bowl of cotton balls and sticks their chin in trying to get as many to stick to the Vaseline as possible. They run to the back of their line, so the next player can have a turn.

When everyone on a team has a beard, that team wins. As with the other game, be sure to take lots of pictures of everyone wearing their Santa beards. Also have plenty of towels and water to get the Vaseline off.

This next game is great for a smaller group of people who are open to a more quiet game. This is about packing Santa's bag. You start by saying, "I packed Santa's bag and in it I put pajamas." The next person continues with, "I packed Santa's bag and in it I put pajamas, and toilet paper." Each person continues, each time adding a new item, but also listing the items that were added before. You are out of the game when you miss an item. Someone could be sitting outside the game keeping a list of all the items so if the game goes on for a bit, you will know if someone misses an item.

If you're having a Christmas party for adults, why not offer up a fun game that's sure to remind them of a childhood favorite? Create a Christmas scavenger hunt. You will tell people to create teams (about 4 people per team is adequate, but you might want to have larger or smaller teams depending on the size of your party). Make a list of items they need to return with.

If you choose to keep the searching local, either at your home or in the neighborhood, include items like a miniature light string, a piece of holly, a leave off a poinsettia plant, and the like. If you choose to have guests traipse all over town for items, you can have even more fun. You might require them to purchase a holly-decorated box of tissue, or have them provide photo proof that they went down your city's Christmas Tree Lane. Whatever it is, be creative and enjoy the process. People love this game, not only because it reminds them of childhood, but it helps people get to know other party guests they might know that well and it's a game that gets people working together, which can always be fun.

Everyone enjoys Hershey's kisses at Christmas. Divide your group into two teams and have two bowls of Hershey's kisses at the other end of the room. Give each team one set of oversized mittens or gloves. The first person in line runs to the bowl of kisses, and has to unwrap the kiss while wearing the oversized mittens/gloves and pop the kiss into their mouth. They run back, tag the next person in line, and exchange the mittens/gloves and the next person runs forward to get a chocolate kiss. The winning team is the one in which all members have enjoyed a kiss first.



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