For Damien’s 1st birthday party, I decided I would try to include some homemade items in the goody bags to his friends. Having some experience doing crafts with Aiden and making both boys several toys and games inspired by Pinterest (check out my boards for the extent of my addiction), I felt confident I could come up with something! To add to the challenge, I wanted to make something that would be interesting for both the babies (+/- 1 year) as well as the older siblings (age 3+).
I filled the bottles with sand and a variety of items I picked up at the dollar store including gems, beach-themed confetti items, beads in bright colours, bells, other trinkets. I attempted to find a variety of items that could be spotted in the bottles but which came in a variety of colours.
The cards feature most items in the bottles, and you can be creative on your cards to expand the game:
Name and draw the item
Have “any item” cards that illustrate items that come in a variety of colours. In my game, I had fish in a variety of colours, so I wrote “any fish” and to win the card, the player had to find any colour
Have “any colour” cards that could refer to multiple objects. An “any blue” card in my pile could refer to a blue bead or to a blue gem, for example
The game I supplied in my gift bags included about 15 cards, though you could easily expand this based on what you decide to put in your treasure bottles.
The more sand you add to the bottle, the harder it will be to find the items, so you could vary the challenge in the game. I left the bottles with only half sand, since that made the bottles lighter for the babies who only care about picking them up to roll or shake them!
Treasure Discovery Bottle Game Instructions:
Select a card, youngest player first
Shake the bottle, then look for the item. If you can’t see it, the next player takes a turn. If you can see it, keep the card in your pile and select a new card for your turn.
Take turns, one shake per turn, until all items have been found
This sketch by Louis CK rang true on so many levels. One of the sketches is about how his daughter would play Hide & Seek by simply crouching near a wall. Like a good Dad, he would pretend not to know where she was while ‘finding’ her. We have had a similar experience with Aiden, who likes to yell out “Here I am” as soon as we come to find him. He’s so enthusiastic about it though, so it’s hard not to just love him for it.
Kids don’t always seem to get that their games are lame.
One such game that Aiden recently made up involves his submarine in the bath. During one bath, he asked me “What’s coming out of the water?” and I presented not to know it was his submarine. I guessed some other thing that goes in the water. He thought it was hilarious. Unfortunately, he insisted we repeat the experiment over and over again. For many days. So, I have to pretend that I have no idea what is coming out of the water, over and over again, always suggesting some sort of boat or aquatic life. I am not allowed to deviate from these ‘rules’ or he will correct me. I act surprised each time: “Submarine!” I need to exclaim.
What kinds of games have your kids come up with that you think are stupid?
For Christmas, Santa gave Aiden his very first board game: the I Can Do That Games Curious George – Discovery Beach. The premise of the game is to find hidden treasures. You select cards, look under the panels, and find the matching objects. You shake up the box so that the items always move about to different places on the board or become buried / unburied in the sand.
We don’t follow the rules of the game yet: we let Aiden look under all the panels, not using the spinning wheel, and we don’t collect cards we’ve ‘won’. So far, we lay out several cards for Aiden and he chooses one to look for – he will pull up panels until he finds what’s on his card, though sometimes we have to shake up the box again.
Aiden has a lot of fun playing this game. He loves looking for the cards that are more open ended, “any brown” or “any shell”, and cheers whenever he finds a matching item. He’ll happily sit and play this game with us for a solid half hour.
I am now at the stage in my life where I have to throw/attend/be-the-guest-of-honour-at baby showers. Part of the baby shower tradition is the playing of (usually cheesy) baby-themed games. For those of you in the midst of planning a shower, here is a list I’ve compiled of all the baby shower games I have ever played with instructions and an entertainment-level rating.
The Rating System:
♥ This game is boring, overplayed and/or just plain gross.
♥♥ This game is worth playing though it may be a bit challenging to organize.
♥♥♥ This game is easy to organize and pretty fun to play.
DON’T SAY “BABY” (♥)
This game has many variations popular at various types of showers. In the case of the baby shower, guests are all given a diaper pin or similar object and forbidden from saying certain “taboo” words (e.g. baby, diaper). If someone overhears you saying one of the taboo words, they get to steal your diaper pin and any of the diaper pins you have collected so far. The winner is the person with the most diaper pins at the end of the shower.
This game is overplayed, and most guests don’t seem to enjoy it. I’ve actually had people walk right up to me, say “baby” and willingly hand over their diaper pin because they find it so ridiculous.
BABY POOL (♥♥♥)
Guests contribute a predetermined amount of money to the pot in and guess any number of things about the baby. Popular options include birth date and time, weight, length and gender of the baby (if not already known). The person who is the closest to being right wins the money. Alternatively, if a large amount of money is contributed, a portion of the pot could be given to the new parents to buy essentials or put into an RESP for the baby while the remainder is given to the winner.
Super easy to organize. Even the most unenthusiastic shower guest is usually willing to play.
BABY PHOTO GALLERY(♥♥)
The main drawback of this game is that it requires some serious pre-planning to work well. Essentially, guests submit a baby photo before the party and they are each marked with a number and displayed on a wall. Throughout the party, guests are asked to examine the photos and guess who`s who.
This game is especially fun for co-ed showers and for showers where the majority of the guests know each other well. It is also one of the only games I know of that doubles as decorations.
PIN THE DIAPER/BIB/BOTTLE ON THE BABY (♥)
This is just the baby shower version of pin the tail on the donkey. A cartoon image of a baby is hung on the wall. Guests are blindfolded and must try to attach some baby related item to the correct part of the baby (e.g. place a bottle near the baby’s mouth). The person who gets closest to the correct area wins.
This game isn’t much fun as chances are most of your guests have played some incarnation of it before.
BLINDFOLDED TASTE TEST (♥♥)
There are a couple of variations on this game. In one version, shower guests or the father-to-be are blindfolded and fed some of mom-to-be’s strangest pregnancy cravings. They then have to guess what they are. The person who guesses the most correctly wins a prize. Alternatively, volunteers are blindfolded while the mom-to-be or other guests feed them samples of baby food and they have to guess the flavour.
This game gets mixed reviews, especially if baby food is involved. Usually the people doing the feeding have a good laugh while the blindfolded taste testers are unimpressed with this game. I find it works best at co-ed showers with the women feeding their significant others. This game is not recommended if anyone on the guest list has food allergies.
BELLY MEASUREMENTS (♥♥)
This game is easy to organize. All you need is a measuring tape, a pair of scissors and a spool of string or ribbon. Guests then cut a length of string that they feel is equivalent to the circumference of mom’s belly. The different lengths are then measured against the real thing, and the person who comes closest wins. This game is not recommended if you are hosting the party for a mom-to-be who is self-conscious about the size of her belly.
INVENT A CELEBRITY BABY NAME (♥♥♥)
This game is super easy to organize and usually results in some good laughs. Guests are given pens and scraps of paper on which to create the most outlandish celebrity baby name they can think of. Mom-to-be then reads them aloud and determines the winner based on which name she finds most amusing. It is a good idea to have some samples of some of the bizarre names real celebrities have given to their babies.
FAMOUS BABIES QUIZ (♥♥♥)
Test guests’ baby name trivia knowledge by compiling a list of questions about famous babies and their parents. Can they name all of the Jackson family? Do they know which two celebs are parents to Apple and Moses? Who are the parents of Pebbles and Bam Bam? The quiz can be as short or as long as you like. Several versions are available online or you can make your own. It is recommended that you set a time limit to complete it. Guests can compete for a prize or the game can be a fun icebreaker.
MOM/DAD-TO-BE QUIZ (♥♥)
Before the shower, send out a questionnaire to the grandparents-to-be asking for details about the guest(s) of honour. You stick to a baby-theme and ask questions about first words, favourite toys, etc. Then handout the same set of questions to the guests at the shower and see how many they can get right. It is often interesting to see how many the mom/dad-to-be get right (or wrong). Again, guests can compete for prizes or the game can simply be used as an icebreaker.
ADVICE FOR THE NEW PARENTS (♥)
People love passing on free advice to new parents and this “game” gives them the opportunity to do just that. Guests may write helpful tips and words of encouragement into a keepsake book, on recipe cards or even on little note cards hung like ornaments from a decorative tree. The guest-of-honour may the read them aloud as part of the party or simply take them home to read later.
While this game often produces some useful and some amusing pieces of advice, it is a bit cliche and some party guests may find it boring. Guests without children of their own may feel put on the spot. Reading out all the advice is not recommended if a large number of guests have contributed.
BABY GEAR OLYMPICS (♥♥)
This game is quite fun if the people organizing the shower have children of their own and have some essential baby gear handy. A large room or outdoor space is recommended. Set up various stations as an obstacle course (e.g. setting up a portable crib, collapsing a stroller, changing a diaper, getting a baby in and out of a baby carrier). Divide into teams (boys vs. girls is fun if it’s a co-ed shower) and give each team a doll to take with them to each station. The team whose members each complete all of the tasks first is the winner.
MYSTERY BABY ESSENTIALS (♥♥♥)
Purchase a series of small must-have baby items (e.g. baby nail clippers, diaper cream, booties) and seal them inside brown lunch bags with numbers on the front. Guests pass each bag around and try to guess its contents. They can shake, squeeze and sniff the bags, but can’t look inside. They record their guesses on a piece of paper. After everyone has had a chance to guess, the bags are opened and the person with the most correct guesses is the winner. The mom-to-be gets to keep the contents of the bags, so this game can also double as a baby gift from one of the hosts.
POOPY DIAPERS (♥)
Buy a variety of chocolate bars. Break off a piece of each bar and place the pieces inside different disposable diapers. You may want to use a hair dryer to help you melt the bars to get a more realistic baby poop effect. Guests will then sniff and examine the diapers and try to guess the type of candy bar that was used.
This game is an excellent game to play if you are on a diet because it will seriously impact your ability to each chocolate ever again. If the mom-to-be and most of her family and friends really enjoy toilet humour, then this game may go over well, but in my personal experience, most people find it pretty disgusting.
BABY PORTRAITS (♥♥♥)
Give every guest a pen and a paper plate. They must place the paper plate on top of their head and, without looking, draw a picture of what they think the baby will look like. The honoured guest chooses the winner.
This game is super easy to throw together and usually results in a lot of laughs, so it is a great game to kick things off.
NAME THAT NURSERY RHYME (♥♥♥)
Guests can play this individually by writing their answers on a sheet of paper or they can play in teams as a trivia game. The host reads out a portion of a famous nursery rhyme or children’s song and guests have to either finish the line or give the title. You can also give a short synopsis of a fairy tale or other children’s book and have guests guess which one it is. Many versions of this game are available online, but it is also easy to make your own.
This game is a good alternative to a celebrity baby names trivia game if many generations will be at the same shower. Grandma may not be able to name all of Brangelina’s brood, but she is probably as familiar with Humpty Dumpty as everyone else.
Yesterday, I tried to prepare for the visit to the Dr by looking for a new iPhone app for Aiden. Generally speaking, he only spends time on the iPhone during our morning cuddles, and mostly he just watches short YouTube clips. Most apps he has a very short attention span for.
By luck, I stumbled across the Toddler Teasers set of iPhone apps and gave the animals version a try. I was blown away. Aiden instantly understood what to do.
The apps are simple… audio prompts asks a series of quiz sets such as “Touch the dog” and “Point to the pig”, giving 3 or more options to choose from. The levels increase with success, adding more variables. Aiden whipped through them no problem, I was floored. When you get a right answer, the app cheers. A wrong answer prompts to continue trying.
After a pre-determined number of quizzes, there is a sticker page. Although he was a little slower to understand what to do there, he now knows. Today, I bought add-ons at $0.99 each for the alphabet, colours, foods, cars and numbers. There are more choices too. He had no problem with the colours or foods, which totally surprised me. He even knew some letters!
Totally loving this app. I had no idea that Aiden knew so much!! And he LOVES it – he laughs and smiles and cheers when he gets things right. Great to pull out in a pinch when waiting for food at a restaurant, in a doctor’s office, or to play together to learn in a different way (I found that my repetition of the questions increased his accuracy).