Halloween Bubble Gum Competition
Bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish! Games are a great way to invite and structure play with the kids in your life. What better time than Halloween to have some fun and laugh together as a family? Games and contests can be a fun part of any Halloween, but they’re especially welcome this year, when outdoor trick-or-treating may not be as accessible or safe.
Games for the family
Games, even simple ones, are also opportunities for kids to develop, learn, and grow. A playful challenge can help to foster cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills — often all in the same game! We’ve put together some silly Halloween-inspired games to get the whole family playing together. Each one can be played inside or out, and has been specifically designed to emphasize multiple aspects of childhood development.
Family Relay Race
This relay with a Halloween flavor gets bodies moving and is easily customizable to your space, resources, and the age of your kids. A physical game is an excellent way to support the development of gross motor skills like balance, coordination, and strength and help kids learn about their individual physical abilities and limitations. Relay races in particular are great for team-building because they encourage collaboration and communication while working toward a shared goal.
- 1 or more mini pumpkins
- Cans or other items to navigate (we used some extra mini-pumpkins)
- Cloth grocery bag
- Stopwatch (optional)
The race is designed for at least a two-person team. Although with some simple tweaks, teams of many sizes can be accommodated!
Lay out your course! Here is an example of a basic course layout.
Helpful hint: If you’re planning to play competitively with another team, and you’ve got the room, you might want to set up two courses adjacent to one-another.
The race consists of three “legs” as follows:
- LEG ONE: “The Candy Sack is Full” The first person on the team hops inside a cloth bag and weaves between the five cans to a small pumpkin. Grab the pumpkin and hand it to the next player who is waiting for…
- LEG TWO: “Be a Pumpkin Head” The second player takes the mini pumpkin, balances it on their head, and then walks carefully to the next leg…
- LEG THREE: “A Treat for Two” Both players meet at the start of the final leg! They have to squeeze the pumpkin and hold it up between them. There are a few ways to do this – here are some of our ideas:
- Players link arms back-to-back and hold the pumpkin between their backs
- Players stand side-by-side and hold the pumpkin between their arms or forearms
- Players stand face-to-face and hold the pumpkin between their foreheads and move sideways
Ways to Play
- If you have an odd number of folks wanting to race, feel free to add, remove, or repeat legs as needed! Or, consider swapping legs of the race to rotate through challenges.
- What kind of challenge might be missing from this race? Traditional relay races have four ‘legs’, and this one only has three. Imagine and invent a fun fourth leg together!
- Consider how you might creatively use your space! Could the course go around a corner, navigate furniture, or take advantage of bushes and trees in a new way?
- After your first attempt at the race, can you think of ways to complete the course even faster? Try pairing off to see who can get the best time or repeat in pairs to see if you can improve your time.
- Encourage kids to think of ways to traverse the course in a different way, maybe backwards, crab-walking, or even rolling!
Here’s a Halloween twist on a mini bowling game that’s simple to put together and really fun! Bowling gets kids moving, but also stimulates and challenges their developing minds. It supports key cognitive skills like observation, thinking ahead, paying attention to detail, and following directions. For early learners, the cause-and-effect of rolling the ball into pins can alone can be cognitively stimulating.
Since bowling is a game with more established rules and guidelines, this activity can introduce older children to the idea of entering into social agreements. It can help kids of any age practice skills like turn-taking, playing fairly, and communication skills like negotiation about what counts and doesn’t count. Because this game has an element of “wins and losses,” it also may present the opportunity to practice identifying and managing feelings, or recognizing feelings and perspectives of other people.
For your “bowling pins”:
- 6 to 10 of one of the following:
- Water bottles
- 2-liter bottles
- Aluminum cans
- 12 – 20 plastic cups, taped together mouth-to-mouth to make a rough “bowling pin” shape
- Pretty much anything else of a similar shape!
For your “bowling ball”:
- If you have one handy, an actual pumpkin would be great!
- Any size sports ball: a basketball, tennis ball, nerf ball, kickball
- A creative household object: an orange or other fruit/vegetable
Optional (to add some Halloween flavor)
- White paper
- Tape or glue
- Black Magic Marker
- Rice or dry beans (to add some heft to the pins)
- Prepare your pins! Draw ghost faces on a sheet of white paper, then cut out, and tape the pieces onto the faces of your bowling pins.
- Arrange your ghost bowling pins on a flat surface in a triangle configuration
- Gently roll your pumpkin/ball towards your ghostly bowling pins
- See who can knock the most pins down!
- Encourage your child to pay attention to how they can best grip/roll their bowling ball.
Does their bowling ball lean one direction? How might they be able to get it to roll straight?
- Try stacking and arranging the pins in different ways.
What happens if you stack them vertically? Or flip them the other direction? Or arrange them in a different pattern by spreading them further apart or clumping them closer together? Does this make it easier or harder to knock the pins down?
Play It by Ear
Try and guess what Halloween item or phrase your partner is saying, when you can’t hear them! We rank this game high on our list of fun, because of the way it challenges kids to think about nonverbal communication (At least 60% of human communication is nonverbal!) and helps us explore how we communicate with our bodies and expressions. Plus, it helps build self-confidence to be silly and laugh together while making mistakes.
We’ve provided you with a few examples of things to say, but there’s plenty of room for you to “play it by ear” and add in your own ideas.
- ‘Play it by Ear’ game cards – print the Play It By Ear Cards!
- Ear plugs, or if you have them, noise-cancelling headphones
- 2 or more players in two teams
- Prepare the game cards by printing them from the link above, and cutting them out along the dotted lines. We’ve provided you with a few suggestions and left some blank so you can come up with your own!
- Player one, if you have them, place ear plugs or headphones over your ears. If you don’t, you can also cover your ears with your hands!
- Optional: Set a timer for an agreed length of time OR play for laughs and not points. Take turns swapping roles.
- One person on your team says the phrase on the card, while the player in the headphones tries to guess what they’re saying.
- Once a player guesses a phrase correctly, the teammate draws another card and keeps going until the timer runs out or swap roles.
- As you complete a round or game, share ideas about what helped (or not) as the game was played! Some things to explore:
- What kinds of clues help communicate when you can’t hear?
- What kinds of things could we try to make it easier?
- Are there words or sounds that are easier to lip read than others?
Games are so much fun that we might not realize they are developing important skills! We know some of the best games are the ones that are invented on the spot. Use these as a place to start, and don’t be afraid to reinvent, negotiate, and imagine from scratch your own Halloween fun!
To view all our Halloween blogs and more, click here.
This program is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.