Back when we were fun (e.g. fewer children, less work responsibilities, and more young and energetic), Bart and I really loved hosting parties.
We made this elaborate Jeopardy game on PowerPoint with everything linked up so you could click any number on the board and it would pop up the question and then click through to the answer. We invited several couples over, provided everyone with buzzers, and laughed ourselves sick.
We hosted a Mission Impossible birthday party for Bart and another friend, complete with ding-dong-ditched invitations in manilla envelopes with water guns, a CD with a recorded information about the event and the signature music.
We organized a burger hop where a bunch of us went to four different burger places in Austin in one evening and tried the classics at each one and rated them (complete with a little score card, I think. Maybe I’m just inventing that part).
(All of this is making me miss our Austin days in the worst way).
But for sure our favorite parties have been Minute to Win It parties.
We first hosted one in Texas, then another during Bart’s MBA program, and one during Bart’s family’s reunion a few years ago. We’ve done more low-key versions with his family during Thanksgiving.
Over Christmas break, we decided it might be time to host another one.
I wrote a whole post about our Minute to Win It party in 2012, but after the one we just hosted over the weekend, I had a lot more details and suggestions I wanted to share.
In my last post, I shared 12 challenges, but now that we’ve done it a bunch of times, we’ve figured out which ones we like doing best. These are our six winners (but if you want more ideas, definitely check out the other post):
- Oreo on your Forehead – Each person tips their head back and balances an Oreo on their forehead. Your goal is to get it in your mouth without using your hands. If it falls on the floor, it goes back on your forehead.
- Cup Stacking –Each person gets a stack of 20 Solo cups, plus 1 of a different color. The different color is on the bottom of the stack and you grab the top cup with one hand and put it on the bottom of the stack, then switch hands and grab the new top cup and put it on the bottom, and back and forth until the different colored cup is back on the bottom. Only one cup at a time, obviously, and you have to switch hands on every cup grab.
- M&Ms with a Straw – Ten M&Ms on one plate. Using a straw and the power of suction, you have to move all the M&Ms to the other plate.
- Card Throwing – Each person gets a deck of cards and stands about 4-5 feet away from a bowl placed in the center of the floor. You have 60 seconds to get as many cards in the bowl as possible.
- Banana & Tennis Balls – Each person gets a banana and a long piece of yarn to tie the banana around their waist so the banana almost touches the ground. Then you use the banana (no hands allowed) to move a tennis ball about 10 feet onto a taped-off square (if it goes into the square and then back out, it doesn’t count).
- Dice Stacking – Each person gets seven dice and a fat Popsicle stick. You put the stick in your mouth and stack the dice vertically on it and then have to keep them all balanced for 5 seconds.
We invited four couples for a total of 10 adults (children were not invited), which seemed like a good number (although 8 or 12 would make it a little easier to divide into two groups of four or three groups of four).
Here’s a few tips that I think make it a smoother and more fun party:
- Invite the right people. You want to make sure everyone who comes knows that they’ll be participating and that they’re okay with that. There’s nothing wrong with people who would rather sit quietly and observe, but . . . this is probably not the party for them. Or people who are going to be so competitive they make it miserable for everyone else.
- Have everyone participate in every competition. In the past, we’ve had people draw names to see which event you competed in, but it made it fairly tricky, plus I always felt really stressed that there were some I didn’t want to do, and other people would be bummed to miss competing in one they thought looked particularly fun. Also, if your name got called a bunch of times early on, you might not compete at all in the second half. This time, we did two sets of each event with five people competing at once and then the second five repeating it (we put papers with A and B on them in a cup and everyone drew one before each game so they knew if they’d be competing in the first round or the second). We’d never done this way, but I thought it was MUCH better. If you have more people, you could do three rounds of four people each or four of four or whatever works with your crowd size.
- Start with the Oreo game. Bart and I agree that this is the perfect ice breaker. You need pretty much no supplies (just a box of Oreos), it doesn’t take almost any explanation, and everyone looks so ridiculous trying to get an Oreo from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands that everyone is all relaxed and in the spirit of the party right away.
- Keep score. Last time, we used a poster board, but this time we just pulled out our big chalkboard and had everyone write a nickname for their spouse on it. Then for each round, the first place winner got 5 points, second got 4, third got three and so forth. In some cases, if you didn’t complete the competition in 60 seconds, you got zero points (many people got a zero for Oreos). Same for the second group of five for the same competition. After four events, we tallied the points to see how everyone was stacking up.
- Pause for treats. We did four events, then paused for dessert and it was a nice break. Everyone was in high spirits by that time and there was so much laughing and joking, and people weren’t rushing out like they might have been if we’d saved dessert for the end.
- Have prizes. I felt like this really made it feel like a party and a competition. We hadn’t done prizes the last couple of times because they were more low-key parties, but about an hour before this one, we realized prizes would make it more fun, so we rounded up a few swag items we had in the gift closet – a few pairs of Happy Socks, a shampoo/conditioner set, a journal, a workout headband, plus a couple of leftover Christmas treats like a bag of Fudge Pretzels. We set them all out on the bookshelf as a display and at the end, everyone got to choose a prize in the order they’d come in (so the person with the most point chose first, and on down. When we had ties, they played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who got to choose first). It was surprisingly fun to watch what other people choose (and there was no stealing allowed). Hilariously, the most desired item was this Munchkin stainless steel sippy cup. At our first party, we had the winner of each challenge pick a prize as soon as that challenge was done and then it could be stolen as the night went on and different challenges were won. You could also have every couple bring two small prizes so you don’t have to provide them all.
It ended up being a really fun night, and because we’ve done it several times, it was very quick and easy to get everything ready.
And of course the next morning, the girls were dying to play all the games and Ella’s asked that her birthday party this year be a Minute to Win It party.
If you have questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer!