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playtogether.staytogether

For my husband’s birthday, I had both his family and mine over for a Hawaiian themed party. Creating teams, I divided everyone up and then ran them through a series of games where they competed against each other. It was a blast and we are were laughing the entire time, especially when my Dad had to hula hoop his way through the obstacle course.

Sure, the food and decorations are a huge part of a party, but what people remember most about any gathering is how they feel when they are there, and if memories are made. The games definitely provide a way for both to happen. I love seeing the grandparents on the same team as the kids. And who doesn’t love some friendly competition, or some really heated competition — it brings out the fun or crazy in all of us!

Playing together is one of the best ways to build family unity.

Why? Because it meets kids where they are at. Think about it. What do kids do when they get together with one another? They play. That is how they connect.

Adults can be too serious. Somewhere along the way, we’ve had the play beat right out of us. I find that I can become too stuck in my ho-hum, stayed routine.

It’s time to change that.

Play doesn’t have to be difficult. Set up a few cones, grab a ball, a couple of kids, and get after it! You can plan a party with lots of family or friends, or just do it right NOW: you + your kids.

{Oh, and kids love little fun prizes. Gum, ice cream cones, a dollar store paddle, or just $.50 cents will do!}

I guarantee you will feel more connected with your family after a few rounds of sack races!

Here is what I did at our party:

Team Cheer: We started the night with the teams each coming up with a chant. There were no parameters, other than it needed to relate to Hawaii in some way since that was our theme.

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Game #1: Tug-O-War

My mom really shined in this one. Doesn’t she look fierce in that skirt with those tennis shoes?

Game #2: The Balloon Walk

The name of the game here is to get around the cone and back to your team before the others. Give the balloon to the next person and repeat until everyone has gone.

And in some cases, hidden talents never before seen are revealed, making the game especially exciting!

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Game #3: The Hula Relay

OK, so not such a great picture since my Dad is cheating (ahem). This one requires every team member to hula hoop to a cone as a part of a relay.

Then he must grab a basketball,

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shoot 2 hoops, then race back. Not so complicated, but how long has it been since you’ve hula hooped? { Exactly.}

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Game #4: The Sack Race

An oldie but a goody, the sack race is a sure thing for all ages.

Especially when there are cousins involved. Look at the poor souls on the ground and the sheer glee in my nephew’s face…

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Game #5 (and my all time favorite): The Pie Eating Contest

This one can be done several ways. One person can eat the whole pie. Several people can take turns eating the pie (1 minute each). Or, several pies can be served and three people eat one each.

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Disclaimer: If you have a son who is really, really, really serious about winning eating contests (see above), then I am in no way am responsible for him suffocating in the pie. Consider yourself warned!

This event is best done outside, as it is almost a guarantee that people will be shoving pie in others’ faces after the game is over.

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What do YOU do to play with your kids?
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