What are your favorite things to do with friends that are cheap, easy and instantly fun?

by Bernie DeKoven on June 12, 2012

What are your favorite things to do with friends that are cheap, easy and instantly fun? (there are currently 8043 comments) - found on Ask Reddit (one of a myriad of crowdsourced queries).

Here are a few of the tamer responses:

  •  I invented a game called “Good Advice/Bad Advice.” It’s like a…version of “Apples To Apples.” Basically, you collect a bunch of questions from advice columns on the internet (Dan Savage’s column usually gives us the most mileage.) You read a question aloud, then flip a coin — if it lands on heads, everyone else has three minutes to write down the best advice possible to that person. If it lands on tails, you have three minutes to write down the WORST ADVICE POSSIBLE. Then the responses are folded up and thrown into a pile, you read them aloud and declare whichever answer you thinks is best. Whoever’s answer gets picked, they get a point (and a beer) and then it’s the next guy’s turn to read a question.
  • Sock Wrestling. Take your shoes off and move to someplace carpeted. Try and take each other’s socks off. First person to not be wearing socks loses.
  • Very very late to the party, but a game my friends used to play as young ones (age 10-13) was called “The Backyard Game”. Chances are, if you play it now – you will get the cops called on you, or possibly shot. This is how we played…There were two teams of 2-4 people. One team sat on the porch, and another team went in the backyard. The goal was for the team that started in the backyard to get to a destination usually directly across the street without being spotted. You could only play this game at night. The team on the porch would have a flashlight and if they thought they saw you – would shine it in that direction and say “I see you”. If you were spotted, you would have to go back to the backyard and try again. They could only do this 2-3 times each (to keep from them just saying it a bunch of times and getting lucky when they never really saw you). We did everything from hop fences and go through yards, to hopping into the yard behind and walking completely around the block. We usually had to do a variation of army crawls, rolling across streets, and dodging and hiding and ducking into pine trees. It was lots of fun, but like I said – I don’t think anyone could get away with it now – the game is pretty much based off of trespassing.  Ahhh the good old days.

There are many, many, many more. Some not safe for work. Some just not safe.

Link via Jim Moskowitz


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelly Immel June 12, 2012 at 11:37 am

Great ideas! Sock stealing made my list, too.

I’m getting people on board for a 4-week Play Challenge over on my blog, and this post (and the original) will help spark ideas. Thanks for sharing, Bernie!

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Bernie DeKoven June 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

A wise friend pointed out to me how the clothespin game was not the kind of thing that is particularly a good game to be playing. I concur, and want to be sure that you don’t think that I am giving a blanket approval to all the games described in that post. I like the spirit. I especially like the question.

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Shelly Immel June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Good point, Bernie. I think just seeing playful ideas like this and feeling the spirit of such games can help people dust off that part of themselves that used to play all the time, and make them feel the call to dive back in. But it’s best if they dive in someplace besides the deep end that could get them punched in the mouth. ;-)

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Lily June 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm

It could be made “safer” with post-it notes. Sort of a twist on the “kick me” notes, they could say things like “smile, it’s contagious”, and then the person might wonder why everyone is smiling at them. As long as it’s done with good intentions (and positive notes), it would likely go well. Then again, I live in a small city, things might be different in other places.

Love and laughter,
Lily

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Natalie Kinsey June 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I think that there’s a huge range of games and a huge range of situations where the game would work. And blanket statements slow the fun down. I try to help people to scan and see if there’s “any static on the line” when they think of doing this thing. Meaning, when you think about doing this, does it feel like a hell yes? Or, do you get some kind of nervous indicator that it’s not the next thing to do. If so, I’d wager there’s another, easier Yes/Whee that will most fully delight. I think the best play is easy enough for you to fall into, and challenging enough to keep your soul engaged. And that changes depending on what kind of mood you’re in, what kind of rule structures are popular in the culture you find yourself in, etc. So, learning how to tune in, in each situation, allows you to more fluently, and Fun-ently play.
I really love that backyard game where the players need to tune deeply in to find the path through. It’s reminds me of Sardines, that opposite-of-hide-n-go-seek game. Where one player hides, and the rest spread out, and as they find the player, they slip in until there’s a giggling cache of Happies, with just one left a lookin’.
I like that you bring this idea up. I am looking for what Ze Frank calls Low Threshold games, ones that have little skill level and are easy to fall into. I think they’re essential for maintaining happy, thriving relationships.
We often play “Either/Or” as we meander through town, or through anywhere. Either or is just asking a series of comparative statements back and forth. Would you rather adopt a baby giraffe or spend a day as a zebra’s mother? They need to feel of a similar heft, and so that is the fun for the asker. And it’s a delightful way to get to know someone. It brings them deep into their playful, elemental preferences.
I like to have a box of crayons on me and whenever we’re sitting somewhere, I’ll pull out a sheet of paper and dump out the crayons and say “color for ten minutes. It has to include a _____ (unicorn butt, magic mirror, mythological reference etc)
I love the way these games allow us to feel how nice it is when our intentions are lined up (I think they are more often than not, but people forget this essential symmetry) and to bloom together, through the inherently elevating play moment.

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Gilbert L June 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I moved to another city so my friends are all pretty faraway. What we started doing recently is hangout at http://nestin.tv and just queue up a bunch of videos. It’s nice way to just chill.

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Lily June 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

The Backyard game reminds me of “hide and seek in the dark”, which is just like hide and seek except we played it at night. I know everyone plays it different, so here’s how we played it.

“Home Base” was the yard light pole. Whoever was “it” put their face towards the pole and counted to 100. Then they loudly called “ready or not, here I come!” When ever they spotted someone, they would yell “1-2-3 on so-and-so, hiding behind the rhubarb!”. That person (if they were indeed so-and-so) would then have to run for home base and touch it before the person who was “it” did. If so-and-so made it to home base before “it” did, then they were safe. Also, if someone snuck out of hiding and made it to home base before “it” did, then they were also safe. However, if “it” made it to home base first, then that person was the loser and they were “it” next time. If everyone beat “it” to home base, then “it” was “it” for the next round. Once the new “it” was established, the round was declared over, and everyone still hiding would be called to come out of hiding, to start over.

For small children, we had a buddy system, where they would be buddied up with an older hider/counter. We tried to switch out the buddies to make it a little more “fair” to the buddies.

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