Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar! Join me every day in opening a new door. Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!
It’s the third Sunday of Advent and my daughter has a friend over to play today – and they’ve just asked me for some pebernødder (“pepper nut” ) biscuits because they’re going to play the game of Mus! “Mouse!”
Yes, as I told you when we made pebernødder a few days ago (the recipe is here), Danish kids use them for a Christmas game…
First of all, line up some pebernødder in a row. Yikes – our homemade ones went fast! Good job that I have some shop-bought ones in the larder!
Okay, so you line up some pebernødder in a row. Five is a good number to start with.
The first player decides which pebernød is going to be the mus or “mouse”. Keep it a secret from your opponent!
Player 2 starts eating pebernødder. One at a time. Slowly.
But if they pick up the one you earmarked, you shout out ”Mus!” and they have to stop eating. And that’s the end of their turn – ha!
Then you line up more pebernødder – so you have five in total again – on the table, Player 2 decides which one is “Mus” and it’s Player 1′s turn to start eating. And you keep taking turns until a) you run out of pebernødder or b) you get sick of eating pebernødder… If you don’t feel you can trust each other (hmmm, siblings, anyone?), then you can cross off your ‘Mus‘ on a piece of paper before your start, so you have proof!
Now be careful not to go overboard on the pebernødder or you won’t be able to eat your dinner! And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!
DD8 turns 9 at the weekend and the girls from her class (all 13 of them) are coming here for a party. I thought I had written a post about party games last year, along with a post I did on birthday party planning. I certainly meant to. (Goodness knows, I’ve mentioned these games to twitter and facebook buddies loads of times.) But a quick search of my blog this morning brought up zilch, so I’m getting them down down on virtual paper now.
If you’ve any other good ideas or family favourites, please let me know. And, hey, there’s cake for everyone! 😀
Cupcakes for DD’s seventh birthday
* Eat Your Shoelace: give each contestant a very long liquorice shoelace and – with hands behind their backs – they have to eat it. Good for keeping them quiet…
* Fluffy Bunnies (suggested by Emma – thanks, Em!): put out a huge bowl of marshmallows and see how many marshmallows you can stuff into your mouth in one go. My DH will be standing ready in case any child requires the Heimlich manoeuvre…
* The Chocolate Game: contestants sit in a circle and take turns to throw the dice. If you throw a six, you put on gloves, a hat, sunglasses and pick up a knife and fork. You’re then allowed to cut up a (wrapped) bar of chocolate that’s on a plate. Eat one square before you go on to the next – no putting in four pieces at one time! ;D You can keep cutting and eating until the next person throws a six. [Adults love this game too!]
* Flap the Fish: cut out large fish shapes from paper or carton. Contestants stand in a line and race their fish. How do you get the fish to move? Use a folded up newspaper to ‘fan’ them with. Try and hit the ground just behind the fish. [said the old pro…]
* Egg and Spoon Race: contestants race with an egg perched precariously on a spoon. If you drop your egg, you have to go back and start again. We normally use small balls instead of eggs. Because it’s less messy – and to avoid this happening… ;D
* The Sack Race: um, do I have to explain this? Kids – or adults – race against each other in sacks. And if you’re terribly clever, you’ll ask the kids to use their plastic sacks afterwards for cleaning up the party debris 🙂
* Musical Statues: this is the easiest game of the lot – turn up the music, let the kids dance, randomly stop the music, everyone stands like a statue and whoever ‘moves’ is out. Those who are ‘out’ of the game help to be the judges. The simplest game of all – no equipment needed – yet the kids love it and keep asking for more… Isn’t that always the way?
* Pass the Parcel: wrap up a prize (best to have a small sweet for everyone) and then wrap it again and again and again – the more layers the merrier! Use all your old bits of wrapping paper, brown bags and plastic bags. The parcel is passed around in a circle and – when the music stops – whoever is holding it, unwraps it. Keep going until you get to the prize.
* Scavenger Hunt or Treasure Hunt: leave clues around the house and/or garden which lead the kids all over the place. We usually do this at the end of the party and give everyone a goody bag from ‘the treasure chest’. Lesley also had a great idea for goody bags: put them in a large tub filled with old, crumpled up newspapers and let the kids ‘fish’ for them.
* Newspaper Dress Up: divide the kids into two or more teams. Give each team a stack of old newspapers and a roll of stickytape. They have 5 minutes (or longer) to ‘dress up’ one of their team. Help them to get creative. They can make a hat, dress etc or just cover their person like a mummy. And don’t forget to take photos!
As I said earlier, if you have other good ideas, please leave a comment!
Hope you have a marvelous Monday! 🙂
[ Postscript: thank you, Emma and Lesley, for your help! 🙂 ]
On Saturday nights (and sometimes during the week), after dinner is eaten and the kitchen is cleaned up, we have a quick family game. Quick. Like 15 minutes. Not two solid hours. Much as I love Cleudo and Monopoly, I feel tired just thinking about having to set up the board, fight over who’s going to be Colonel Mustard or the Reverend Green (though, I, of course, have to be Miss Scarlett), account for all the murder weapons, separate the Chance and Community Chest cards, stop DD8 from playing with the houses and hotels and distribute 2 x £500, 4 x £100, 1 x £50, etc, etc, etc, to each player… [note to self: suggest credit card or netbanking version of Monopoly]
So here are the games that weenjoy. That are fast to set up – and put away! That we keep coming back to week after week. Which I suppose makes them classics?
* RUMMIKUB – based on numbers and the card game ‘gin rummy’. No summer holiday is complete without this game! In fact, it’s one of the first things to be packed in our suitcase. DH and I have been playing it for years, long before we had kids. (The kids started joining in when they were around five or six years old.)
* UNO – also based on numbers. I didn’t actually know this game when I arrived in Copenhagen 13 years ago. It’s a very popular card game and all Danish nurseries and schools have it on their toy shelves. DD8 loves it and often manages to beat the rest of the family. Hmm, maybe that’s why she loves it? Though she has been known to load the cards in her favour (taking all the ‘picture’ cards), so I refuse to play if she’s dealt the cards before I sit down at the table… ;D
* PICTUREKA – a recent purchase for us. A large board game (you need a large coffee table for this one) which means it also carries a fairly hefty price tag.. My Scottish niece told me about it, they’ve been playing it over at DD8’s After School Club and it’s won several ‘game of the year’ awards. So it comes highly recommended… It’s a game of observation which means that kids have just as much chance of winning as adults. At first glance it looked complicated but the rules are really very simple and you’ll be playing within minutes. We bought it a couple of weeks ago and the whole family are enjoying it so far. You can easily play a complete round in under 20 minutes. And if you have younger kids, you can make up your own rules – there are lots of different ways you can play it. (That is, if you can actually drag them away from poring over the nine cards filled higgeldy piggeldy with silly drawings!)
So why not set your Flylady timer for 15 minutes and enjoy a short burst of family fun?