One Minute Games for Kids

by Zora Hughes

    You'd be surprise what a kid can get done in one minute when faced with an exciting challenge and playground bragging rights are at stake. Games in which kids have to complete a crazy task in 60 seconds or less are ideal for packing in a variety of games in a relatively short amount of time, such as a birthday party or play date. Choose the right type of one-minute games to play based on the age level of the kids and the amount and type of space you have to work with.

    Birthday-themed Minute Games

    Place the kids into pairs and give each a roll of wrapping paper. One kid in each pair has to wrap their partner in wrapping paper from their feet to their shoulders, complete with a bow on top. The team with the best-wrapped kid after a minute wins. Another idea is to fill a large amount of balloons with a glitter and place a fake gold coin in a few of them. The kids have one minute to pop the balloons with their hands and find a coin. Anyone who finds a balloon with a coin in it wins a prize. For a cake-building competition, cut plain, unfrosted sheet cake into squares no more than 2-by-2 inches. Give each child three squares of cake, frosting, sprinkles and candles. The kids must build a mini three-layer cake, complete with frosting, sprinkles and adding the candles in one minute.

    Wacky One-minute Challenges

    Plan a series of silly and fun one-minute challenges that the kids will get a kick out of. You could give each kid a roll of toilet paper and give them one minute to unravel the entire roll on one arm, or have them try to empty a box of tissues, grabbing only one tissue at a time. For another challenge, the kids have one minute to stack up empty soda cans, with a paper plate in between, to a certain height. Have the kids try to move as many pingpong balls from one side of the room to the other using only a paper plate to fan them in the right direction. You could also have the kids transfer as many dried beans from one bowl to the other as they can, using only a drinking straw.

    One-minute Team Relays

    Fill large, clear plastic cups with water and draw a line a few inches below the rims of each cup. Spread the kids out across the yard at equal distances. The first kid on a team must balance the cup on her head and walk it to the next person on their team, trying not to spill the water. They can only touch the cups when transferring from one head to another. The kids have one minute to get the cups to the last teammate, but if the water level goes below the line marked on the cups, they have to start over. You can also have the teams race to dress one teammate in a clown outfit. One person at a time has to race to a box and grab one item needed to complete the costume. The team with the most completed clown in one minute wins.

    One-minute Word Games

    Give the kids a piece of paper and pencil. Write a scrambled word on the whiteboard for everyone to see, then give the kids one minute to come up with as many words as possible. The kid with the most amount of legitimate words wins. Another idea is to give the kids a theme, such as Thanksgiving, and have them write as many words related to that theme as possible. Allow the kids with questionable words to explain how it relates to the theme. You could also play trivia games, giving the kids one minute to come up with the correct answer for tough, but age-appropriate trivia questions.

    About the Author

    Zora Hughes is a screenwriter and novelist who has been writing since 2004. She has written news releases, public service announcements and website copy for the Chicago Mayor's Office of Special Events. She won the S. Randolph Edmonds playwriting award. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

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