Every year, Americans observe Memorial Day, a holiday honoring men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military. Some families visit cemeteries or attend community memorials or parades and many of us choose to honor those lost with a celebration at home or a picnic in the park, cherishing our family and friends and being thankful for our many freedoms.
This year, make the most of your Memorial Day celebration and show a little patriotism, too, with our favorite traditional American games, like:
Bobbing for Apples
This classic cool-down game is perfect for a hot, almost-summer celebration. Simply fill an oversized bowl or cooler with water, float some smallish-sized apples, and set the timer to see who can grab the most apples,using only their teeth, in 60 seconds.
Potato Sack Races
Since not many of us are buying our potatoes by the sack, you may want to opt for old pillow cases here. Designate a starting line and a finish line, line up your racers, and have each person step both feet into a pillowcase. The first racer to hop their way to the finish line wins.
Turn the traditional Potato Sack Race into a team sport by assigning one pillow case to every two people. Players stand together, then step the leg closest to their partner into the case, holding the edge with their inside hands. Ready, set, run, with three legs instead of two!
What’s more American than baseball? An impromptu baseball game adds a bit of patriotic pep to any Memorial Day party. Bring a tee for the kids and batter up!
Red, White, and Blue Tag
Divide your guests into three teams and tuck a 6”red, white, or blue streamer into the waist of their shorts. Call “ready, set, go” and all players race to collect one streamer of each color first!
It takes a steady hand to win this old favorite! Break into teams,with half of each team’s players on either end of a start and finish line. Hand the first players at the starting line a hard boiled egg, balanced on a spoon. Blow the whistle and they’re off, racing toward the next player on their team at the finish line and passing the egg without dropping it, until the first team crosses the finish line, egg on spoon.
Even if you don’t have your own corn hole game you can easily create a fun beanbag toss using bowls and buckets. Set them up at varying distances and take turns seeing who can get one beanbag in each target.
Although limbo originated in Trinidad, Americans have embraced this back-breaking, body-bending move as our own. Designate two “holders”, line your guests up, then grab your broom and turn on the tunes, taking turns passing under the limbo stick, bellybutton first. Fall down and you’re out; lower the stick each time the whole line has made a pass until only one player is standing.
Neck to Neck
Really get to know your guests, up close and personal, with this touchy-feely game of pass the balloon. Gather your guests in a circle, then tuck a balloon under your chin. Turn to your neighbor and pass the balloon to their chin,without any hands. Continue until the balloon comes full circle.
Tug of War
Go mano a mano with your friends and family in a good old-fashioned game of tug of war! Grab a rope (knots are cheating!), divide into teams, set a center point, and… PULL! Tug back and forth until one team brings the other down, literally.
Happy Memorial Day!