Pass the parcel party game


Pass the Parcel

This is another traditional party game that I enjoyed as a youngster, growing up in England. The game is very simple and for preparation you need to wrap a small present then put another paper wrapper around that and repeat with additional wrappers a dozen or so times. Then have the kids sit in a circle, start the music and instruct the kids ‘pass the parcel’ around the circle until the music stops. When the music stops the child who is holding the parcel takes off a wrapper and if the prize is revealed they get to keep it. As the host you need to make certain the parcel is being passed, as the children will develop ‘sticky hands’ when they are holding the parcel.

Other variations of this game are played that eliminate the person holding the object being passed around the circle. A large potato can be used as the object and this will move out of the kid’s hands quickly (like a hot potato).  If you don’t want to ‘eliminate’ the participants then a variation is to have the person holding the object (when the music stops) perform some activity (hopping, using one hand, standing on one leg etc.). This game ends after a certain time or when everyone is doing the activity.

All of these games can be played ‘blind folded’ with the kids holding out their hands to receive the object, but my experience is that cheating (peeping) usually takes place, but if this version is played correctly it can be a lot of fun.

Also if you are outdoors, passing a bucket of water (like the hot potato variation) is a lot of fun and, given the speed that the bucket will be passed at, will get the children soaked. A hosepipe or other method of refilling the bucket as it empties (spillage) is recommended. The fun (and water spillage) is increased if the activity variation (i.e. hopping after being caught in procession of the bucket) of this game is played.

Whatever the variation remember that as the host you can ‘control’ when the music stops, so as to give everyone a ‘turn’. But, in the case of the real “pass the parcel” you are recommended to turn away from the children as the package gets nearer to it’s end (prize) otherwise you will be criticized of playing favorites with your ever watchful quests!

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