Last weekend, I had the pleasure of joining 25 of my in-laws for a week (yes, WEEK) long vacation in a house on the beach at Isle of Palms, South Carolina. There are so many perks to having a big family and it was fun to learn more about each person’s personality, see what everyone looks like without makeup, learn who is a morning person (and who is not), and bond over some friendly competition.
Let me introduce to you, the 2014 Brown Family Summer Games.
As the self-appointed D.O.F. (Director of Fun), I sent out game packets to all potential participants about a month before the vacation – hoping that it would entice even those that were on the fence about joining us. One of my favorite parts of the planning process was watching my inbox as volunteers came through almost daily – offering to help bring supplies for the games. Team work makes the dream work, people!
In addition to volunteering for supplies, each person was asked to bring a plain t-shirt in their team color and any “cheerleading” supplies (sunglasses, socks, face paint, etc.). Upon arrival, all participants received a bandana in their team color and we added iron-on transfers of the game logo to the t-shirts. If I could have sold a few more Etsy block sets (shameless plug), I would have had t-shirts made at a professional printer… but ours got the job done.
We initially planned to hold one game per day for the six full days of vacation but since some people would have to leave early, and it was kind of a production to get all dressed up in team colors (AND wrangle 25 adults and 3 kids into the same location at the same time), we split the games between the first two days – three games on each day. In my opinion, this worked out great and allowed for tons of fun for everyone.
Not only did the games provide competition among the family, it created hilarity, tons of laughter and even more memories. I hope we can continue this tradition for years to come.
In order to ensure fun for everyone, I thought it would be important for teams to receive points besides just the outcome of the game. Below is how we decided to add up points and to be honest, the winning team won in the end based primarily on the high quantity of participants, and the high number of team colors worn by each team member (shirt, bandana, shorts, sunglasses and more).
- 1 point for participation in each game
- 1 point if you have at least one “official cheerleader” per activity (dress the part!)
- 1 point if a member of your family serves as a referee (recommend at least 2 referees per game from different teams)
- 1 point per item worn in team color on each participant
- 1 point if a member of your family serves as “official photographer”
- If you finish a game, additional points are rewarded based on performance:
- First place: 5 points
- Second place: 4 points
- Third place: 3 points
- Fourth place: 2 points
- Fifth place: 1 point
Below is a run-down of the games:
Each participant inserts an orange into one leg of a pair of pantyhose and wraps the other leg around their waist. With a tennis ball on the ground in front of them, they swing the orange (no hands!) using hip movements, to move the tennis ball across the finish line.
Five grocery bags are cut to varying heights, getting progressively shorter, on the ground. The challenge is to pick up all five bags using only your teeth and place them on a table. We didn’t have a table nearby so we just had each person pick up the bag with their teeth and place it across a line on the ground (using Frog Tape). Flexibility and short legs are an advantage (so this is a great game to add if you have kids in the group).
Belly Balloon Break:
We had so many willing participants for this game so we put everyone in pairs with five balloons. Each pair had to try to break the balloons only by squeezing together between the players’ chests. The first pair in each heat to do so won the heat.
DAY TWO – More family photos to start…
Three Legged Race:
The age old game never gets old. We tied the inside leg of each pair together and they raced from start to finish line. Poor Mark. His parents went out for the day and came back late so he was the only person on team orange so we just tied his legs together and he hopped. Amazingly though, he won a heat!
Water Balloon Toss:
Another classic. We drew five long lines in the sand and partners had to toss water balloons back and forth until the balloon broke.
Very similar to Pantyhose Polo. Participants had to insert a tennis ball into one leg of a pair of pantyhose and then place the waist of the pantyhose on their head. Using the tennis ball (hanging down from their head), they had to knock over five water bottles that were lined up in front of them.
Our week in paradise has come to it’s end. We all flew/drove home, unpacked and are back into the grind of daily life. Thank goodness for photos to memorialize events like this.
What I learned after the inaugural Brown Family Summer Games:
– You need a LOT of people to take photos/ video to try to capture ALL of the fun
– You might pee your pants from laughing
– Lots of space is key (especially if you have five teams competing at once)
– It’s important to have multiple heats of each game so everyone can participate
– Everyone looks awesome with pantyhose on their heads
– I have an AMAZING family!
Until next time, Brown family!