When you ask a friend if she’ll host a baby shower the typical response is, “Sure, but I’m not planning the games.” The idea of entertaining guests ranging in ages from nine to 90, some of whom have never met and yet others who don’t exactly get along, is an intimidating thought. But because such a diverse group of people is invited to a shower, activities play an important role in bringing people together and getting them to mingle.
These easy ice-breaker games require very little preparation but are ideal for getting your guests to interact.
Don’t Say Baby
Give each guest a baby diaper pin to pin on her clothes. Instruct your guests that during the party everyone is to try not to say the word baby. Whenever someone does, the first person who catches the slip gets to confiscate the pin. The one with the most pins at the end of the party wins. This game makes for continued fun throughout the shower.
My Baby Egg
Give each guest a raw or hard-boiled egg tied with a colored ribbon. Explain to each guest that she must take care of the egg as if it were a baby. She may set the egg down but she must have the egg at the very end of the party. Towards the end of the party ask each guest to return her egg in exchange for a party favor. See how many people still have their eggs or if they even remember where they set them down! Others may have named their eggs and would prefer to keep them rather than receive a prize. The eggs make great conversation starters as people decide on names for their eggs, ask others to “egg-sit” (remember, they can’t say baby!), and so on.
What’s in Her Purse
Read off a list of items for guests to try to find in their purses. You can assign point values for items; for example, an invitation to the shower would equal one point while a blue crayon would equal five points. Or you can simply award a prize to the person who comes up with the most items. Some ideas for items include a safety pin, a rubber band, nail clippers, a baby photo or photo of a child, a wet wipe, scissors, and candy. For a couples’ shower play “What’s in his wallet” too and include items such as a black and white photo, a poem or story, a coin, a fifty dollar bill, something from a child, a coupon, three business cards, and something dated older than 10 years.
Team games are the best way to break the ice at a party, but they require some preparation and dedicated time at the party scheduled for games. Many people except games, and these are sure winners for both women-only and couples’ parties.
Diaper the Baby
Guests are paired together to diaper a baby doll. The trick is that the pair can only use one hand each. The other hand is not allowed to touch the diaper. The team who diapers the doll the fastest wins the prize. A stopwatch or digital kitchen timer works well to time this game.
Picture or Sculpture Charades
Split guests into teams of three or four members each. Before the party, create a list of 50 or more baby terms and write them down on index cards. Each item equals one point, or you can assign varied point values for items, with the more unusual items receiving a higher value. Have each team select an artist to draw first for their team and decide which teams goes first. The artist selects a card, shows it to the other teams and either draws or sculpts the item. Their team must guess the word in less than one minute. If they are successful, they score the point value for that card and play continues to the next team. Use a sand timer or digital kitchen timer to time players. Some ideas for baby terms are pacifier, bottle, nursing, baby, high chair, father, crib, layette, drool, and bib. This game can also be played as traditional charades.
Gather about a dozen baby items, such as newborn diapers, a bib, burp cloths, baby wipes, a pacifier, baby shampoo, a rattle, and cotton swabs. Write the price of each item on individual cards and seal each card in an envelope. Write the name of the items on the envelopes and set them by the products. Have guests pair up into teams of two and pass each team the list of items on a sheet of paper. The teams guess the price of each item and write it next to that item on their list. An announcer then opens the envelopes one by one and gives the card to the team with the closest guess. The person who collects the most cards wins. Give all of the baby products to the guest of honor. Although this game can be played individually without teaming up, adding the team element allows for more mingling and makes it a livelier group activity.
Some groups simply don’t want to play games and prefer a more low-key atmosphere. These craft ideas offer a nice opportunity for people to mingle without having to participate in games.
Personalize Baby T-Shirts
This craft makes a nice surprise gift for the expectant parents. Lay out baby T-shirts or onesies (T-shirts with snaps at the crotch) in different sizes on a table with plenty of fabric paints for guests to use. Have people design a T-shirt for the new arrival in words, pictures, or both. Guests might be reluctant at first to jump in to this artistic endeavor so it’s a good idea to have a few painted samples already made. To keep the shirts from bleeding and to make the art surface steadier, slip the T-shirts over a piece of cardboard. To turn this craft into a game, simply have the mother-to-be decide which shirt she likes best and give a prize to the person who made it.
If you or someone you know is willing to complete this project, have guests personalize one square of a quilt instead of doing shirts. The idea is the same, decorating with words, pictures or both. The completed quilt makes a lasting and cherished memory for the expectant parents.
Decorate the Nursery
Consult with the parents-to-be in advance on this one as it is likely they have ideas for the nursery but no time to complete the project. This isn’t a day for painting floor to ceiling, but rather a project that focuses on beautifying the room with small touches made by close friends. You could do something as simple as add a border to the room, decorate with stencils or decals, or add glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling. This activity works best at small gatherings.
Party Favors and Prizes
Most showers include party favors and prizes, but these don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. People don’t expect gifts when they go to a shower, so small mementos that cost very little are fine. Here are a few ideas:
- Homemade or store-bought soaps
- Bath salts
- Potpourri sachets
- Homemade cookies, brownies, bread, or other baked goods
- Jellies or jams
- Favor box filled with candy
- A small potted plant or seeds and a pot for planting
- Key chains
- Lottery tickets
- It’s a Girl/Boy pencils
- Stationery or note cards
Whether you decide to buy or make your favors, these gifts are just an additional way to make the day feel more special. Something simple, from the heart, is perfect for this occasion.