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Red, White and Blue Water Balloon Toss

Materials Needed

  • A red, a white and a blue water balloon for each team
  • The Set Up: You are going to need a red, a white and a blue water balloon for each two person team. It is a good idea to have extras ready since water balloons sometimes break without warning. In a large, open outdoor area divide your players into teams of two. Form two long lines with teammates facing each other a yard apart( one in each of the lines). Give all of the participant in one of the lines a red, a white and a blue water balloon.

    The Rules: As the game starts the player with the balloons tosses the red balloon to their teammate who attempts to catch it without breaking the balloon. If successful, they gently put the red balloon down and their teammate now tosses them the white balloon and the process repeats again with the blue balloon. If a water balloon breaks for any reason it is not replaced. When a team has broken all three balloons they are eliminated.
    Once the first turn is complete, the teams that still have at least one water balloon remaining face each other and both take one step backwards. Now the player that caught the water balloons in the first round tosses the balloons back to their teammate in order, just like the first round. Continue rounds of tossing balloons and then stepping backwards to increase the distance and difficulty until just one team has an unbroken water balloon. That team wins and receives a prize.

    Prank Prize Option: If you want to have a little fun with the winning team, pull aside the players as they get eliminated from the game and give them your extra water balloons. The people still in the contest will likely be too focused to even notice. When the last water balloon breaks and the winning team is celebrating give them their prize; all the losing players attacking them with the leftover water balloons!

    Red, White and Blue Hot Dog Eating Relay Race

    Materials Needed

  • Hot dogs
  • Buns
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Onions
  • Blue food coloring
  • Any hot dog eating relay race would be fun, but adding red, white and blue hot dogs makes it Fourth of July fun! You might consider waiting until after your guests have committed to play the game before you completely explain the red, white and blue part of the hot dogs..

    The Set Up: Prepare one hot dog with bun for each participant. To make them red, white and blue hot dogs add ketchup(red), mayonnaise(white) and blue onions(blue). To make blue onions, submerge chopped onions in warm water and blue food coloring for 15 minutes, drain and let dry for an additional 15 minutes.

    The Rules: Break your party guests up into teams of 6-10 players and give each participant a red, white and blue hot dog. Have each team stand in a line and at the start of the game the first person in line for each team eats their hot dog. When they have completely finished eating the hot dog including swallowing the second person in line starts to eat their hot dog. Continue down the line with each person eating their hot dog when the player before them finishes; the first team to have everyone finish their hot dog wins and they all get a prize( an antacid might be a good option).

    Horseshoes Tournament

    Materials Needed

  • Two stakes
  • Four horseshoes(two of each color)
  • A sign-up sheet
  • A pen
  • A tournament bracket
  • People have been playing Horseshoes at parties in America since before it was America. If you set up the stakes and leave the horseshoes on the ground your guests are sure to start playing friendly games on their own. If you feel that is enough for your party you can just let the guests play at their leisure, but if you want to take it to the next level set up a Horseshoes tournament.

    The Set Up: Drive two stakes into the ground about 40 feet apart and place four horseshoes(two of each color) on the ground next to one of the stakes. Announce that there will be a Horseshoes Tournament and give the guests a signup sheet to pass around. When everyone who wants to play has signed up, fill out a single elimination tournament bracket. If you want help with the bracket, is a super easy, fast and free way to get a printable bracket custom made for your number of players.

    The Rules: To start the tournament announce the two participants in the first match of the first round and get them playing. Limit each game to four innings(turns) with one point for each ringer and if there are no ringers for an inning the horseshoe closest to the stake gets one point. When that match ends move on to the next until all first round matches are complete. The winner is responsible for informing you that they have moved on to the next round. Play out the second round, the third, etc until you have your Horseshoes Grand Champion.

    For Kids: If you have a large number of young guests you can move the stakes much closer together and have a kids only tournament.

    Red, White and Blue Finger-Paint Contest

    Materials Needed

  • Red, white and blue finger paint
  • Paper
  • Paper towels
  • A fair judge
  • While the kids will surely love this game, it might not sound like a good idea to some parents. Make sure that mom and dad are okay with their kids getting messy before they start painting.

    The Set Up: Outside, set up a table with a chair for each kid and ample room for them to get creative. On the table place red, white and blue washable finger-paints, plenty of pieces of paper(extras in case they want to start over) and several rolls of paper towels.

    The Rules: The challenge for your little artists is to make a painting that shows the Spirit of America using only red, white and blue finger-paint. Select a wise and mature party guest to serve as the judge for contest and once all of the participants have finished painting, the judge will examine their work while the painter explains why their picture represents the Spirit of America. Once all paintings have been considered the judge announces the winner who is rewarded a prize. It is also a good idea to give small participation prize to all of the kids.

    Tip: Take pictures of each of the paintings to share with friends and family on social websites(like Facebook) giving credit to the amazing young artists

    Don’t Say America (Taboos and Tokens)

    Materials Needed

  • A taboo word
  • Tokens(usually clothespins)
  • This game is an excellent choice to lead off your 4th of July party. Since you play it passively throughout the event, it is a good idea to start it as soon as possible.

    The Set Up: The first thing to do is to select a taboo word, meaning a word(or short phrase) your guests are not allowed to say. The most obvious choice is “America” which will work just fine, but if you wish you can choose another word like fireworks, July, hot dogs, beer, or anything you wish that is likely to be said frequently at your party. Now you need tokens. Clothespins are commonly used since they are easy to clip onto and remove from clothing without doing any damage.

    The Rules: To start the game inform all of your guests of the taboo word. Give them each a token and explain to them that whenever they say the taboo word they will lose their token to the first player to call them out. Now start the game. If Aunt Sue accidently says the taboo word and Cousin Earl is the first to point out her mistake, then Aunt Sue must give Cousin Earl her token. Now Sue has no tokens and Earl has two tokens. The only way for Aunt Sue to get a token back is to be the first to call out someone else when they say the taboo word.

    The game continues throughout the party until a predetermined time close to the end when the game is called to a halt. The person who has the most tokens at the close of the game is declared the winner and gets a prize.

    Craft Option: You can add red, white and blue ribbons, stickers, paint or anything else you can imagine to your clothespin tokens. Since guests will be wearing them throughout the party , many people choose to fancy them up.

    The BBQ Stain Art Appreciation Test

    Materials Needed

  • Barbecue sauce
  • A squeeze bottle(or straw)
  • Card-stock or construction paper
  • Tape
  • Eight 3x5 cards
  • Pens
  • Paper for guessing
  • A bowl
  • A grill master with a sense of humor
  • Barbecue sauce stains are as much a part of outdoor summer parties as ants. What is too often ignored is that those stains can actually be works of art! Luckily, your grill master is there to help you interpret this under appreciated style of art.

    The Set Up: Lay eight pieces of card-stock or construction paper on a flat surface. One by one, drip barbecue sauce on the paper in a random pattern. You can use a straw to do this but an empty squeeze bottle works best(ketchup or dish soap bottles will work nicely). Fold the paper over along the center line and press down with your palm. Unfold the paper and you should have a strange shape where one side mirrors the other side. It may take a few practice runs to get the results you want, but there is no truly wrong result. Once you are satisfied, number the pages one through eight.

    Since your grill master(the person manning your grill for the party) is the resident BBQ stain expert, ask them what they see in patterns of barbecue sauce for each and record the answers. For example, “two butterflies kissing”. These answers are now the correct answers.

    This a multiple choice game so you need to come up with two/three wrong answers for each stain. Tape the eight numbered stains to a table in order. In front of each tape a 3×5 card with the letters A,B,C, and D written on them. D will always be “None of the above”. For A-C randomly write either the correct answer and two wrong answers you come up with, or three wrong answer you come up with if the correct answer is going to be D, none of the above.

    The Rules: Before you eat, give your party guests pen and paper. Explain to them that the grill master has given the correct answers and that their task is to look at each stain and write down the correct multiple choice answer. Once they are done with all eight they should write their name on their paper and leave it in a bowl you have placed on the table. After the meal have the grill master hold up each stain and explains exactly what is represented in the imagery. Encourage them to come off sounding like a snooty art expect. The guest that got the most answers correct it the winner and gets a prize.

    This sounds like a lot of prep work, but it really does not take that much time. The key to this game working is the grill master. If you have a fun loving person that is not afraid to play the role the results can be hilarious.