Monday, June 29, 2020

Game Ideas for the 4th -- and other socially distant gatherings.

Character: Liz McCall
Series: Vintage Toyshop Mysteries
Author: Barbara Early

Greetings from East Aurora, New York!

It's been a long few months, but coronavirus activity is finally much lower in our area and the governor just announced that social gatherings of up to 50 people are now permissible, with social distancing in place, of course. This is great news, just in time for the 4th!

Not that we're going to have a social gathering of 50 people. Dad is getting up there in age (don't tell him I said that), and Drew is young. But we can more confidently plan a small family backyard get-together.

Food is mostly planned. We're going to fill up the smoker with some nice brisket and maybe a nice pork shoulder (or turkey--we haven't decided). And since the big county fair was canceled, we were thinking about accompanying that with some fair food. Deep fried mac and cheese and Twinkies! Oh, and funnel cake! Let's see how that virus holds up in hot oil. Not! And we can have one person with impeccably clean hands dish it all into those little cardboard food boats, so no shared utensils.

And then games. Sigh.

Our family loves board games and lawn games, but with all those shared game boards and playing pieces, they're not exactly safe. And forget Twister.


I've been on the hunt for games with minimal or no contact--or which can be adapted for less contact--and I think I got a good starting list.

Lawn Games.

Bocce. Our family plays a different game of Bocce. More of an extreme version. We skip the manicured court and use the bumpiest, most obstacle-filled part of the yard. And since people use only their own balls, no contact. Except for the little white ball, but Dad suggested maybe we could give everyone a tennis ball instead.

Cornhole. I suggested it to Parker, and he was going to try to make a game, maybe paint it with the Buffalo Bills logo, and Cathy was going to make bean bags. It seems she has fabric left from making face masks and dry beans she stocked up on to stave off the coming apocalypse, so we're good.

Badminton. Yeah, you touch the birdie, but if you sanitize before and after...

Lawn Darts. Nope. Not going there!

Board Games.

Yahtzee. Since everyone scores their own points anyway, we just need a few extra dice sets, enough for one per household, at least, and we can play for a while!

Scattergories. Since everyone has their own playing sheets, this one is almost perfect for spanning those six foot distances. We'll just choose one person to manage the letter dice and timer.

Pictionary. If we set up a white board on an easel and give everyone a different color dry erase marker, this should work pretty well.

Trivial Pursuit. Trivia is great for social distancing. We'll just pick someone to move the tokens around the board, but everyone enjoys playing trivia games. Maybe we can pull out the Doctor Who questions!

Bring Your Own Book. This board game has players searching through a book--one they brought themselves--to find sentences that answer category questions, either seriously or humorously. Could be a lot of fun!

Bingo. I think we have a few sets in the shop. I'll bet I can Google ways to make it more fun and interesting.

Charades. Old school, but perfectly contactless!

Have a safe and happy Fourth!

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