Our Favorite Minute to Win It Games for Kids
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Mix up your next family game night with this list of 30 Minute to Win It games perfect for the whole family. "Family game nights are much more than just a fun way to relax as a family. Many games help younger children learn important social skills, like sharing and taking turns... Best of all, you're putting joyful memories in the bank," states Vidya Sundaram, co-founder and CEO of Family Engagement Lab. Many of these games can be simplified or made more challenging based on the age of the players.
More: The Best Board Games for Kids
Whether for your next birthday party, family get together, or your kids just need a quick break, “Minute to Win It” games are fast and easy, and can quickly spark a little friendly competition. Not only are they fun, but they typically involve very little preparation, are inexpensive and are easy to plan around any party theme. If you only have a few minutes to spare, each game really only takes one minute (sometimes one minute per player), but you can play as many rounds as you like if you want to extend the fun.
How to Play Minute to Win It Games
Play individually or in teams depending on how many people plan to get involved, and you can up the ante with a prize for most points at the end of the game night. Each game can be worth certain points, which means there doesn’t have to be a winner or a loser. By the end of the night tally all the points collectively from your fun games and see who earned the most points overall. Get your stopwatch out and keep some tissues handy, chances are you will end up laughing so hard you end up crying!
Our Favorite Minute to Win It Games for Kids
1. Cookie Face
A fan favorite, this should definitely be on your list of go-to party games. Place a cookie on each player's forehead, the object is to be the first person to get the cookie to your mouth without dropping it, no hands allowed! This is all about balance and facial control. Even the smallest of children will think this game is hilarious and fun, and regardless of who wins, everyone gets a cookie!
2. Balloon Defying Gravity
The object of this game is to keep the balloon from touching the ground for a full minute. You may use any body part, but you cannot hold it in your hands and the balloon must continually be moving.
Have super agile kids who need a challenge? Mix up the rules, such as only allowing one hand, or no hands at all, or you can add in more than one balloon.
For younger kids, keeping one balloon from touching the ground for a full minute will be a challenge enough! If you have multiple people playing at the same time use balloons in different colors so that players don’t get confused.
3. Bottle Transfer
Fill one two-liter soda bottle with an item (Cheerios, jelly beans, corn kernels, etc.) and tape to another empty two-liter bottle. See if you can transfer all items to the empty bottle before the timer rings!
4. Stack ‘Em Up
Each player gets 36 plastic cups, the object is to stack all 36 into a pyramid and unstack back into a single tower before the minute is up. If you have teams it might be easier to play several rounds rather than trying to stack them together.
5. Marshmallow Toss
For this game you need one cup and a bag of marshmallows. One player's job is to hold the cup and the other players job is tossing marshmallows. Determine how far they stand apart based on age and skill level, make it challenging but not impossible! The team to get the most marshmallows in the cup after the minute is up wins. This is an easy minute, but be prepared for a mess since likely a lot of the marshmallows will miss the cup!
6. Puzzle Race
Divide into teams, see if you can put together a simple puzzle before a minute is up. If you don’t have a kids puzzle around, save your recyclables. Turn an empty cracker box or cereal box into a puzzle before the party. This is an easy way to get everyone regardless of skill level engaged in some family fun.
7. Wrap it Up
As far as game ideas go, a “mummy wrap” is a classic. Give each team a roll of toilet paper or a roll of streamers. The object is to see which team can wrap a member up with the most material in one minute.
If you are playing individually, see who can unwrap the roll of toilet paper or streamers the fastest. Get ready for a fun minute, cheer each other on and then see if you can work together to clean up the mess!
8. Back to Back
You need partners for this game. Have them sit on the ground back to back and link arms. The object of this game is to see how many times partners can stand up and sit back down within the minute without unlinking their arms. Height differences will definitely make this challenging!
9. Penny Tower
All you need for this game is pennies. The object is to see how many pennies a player can stack into a tower in one minute, but the catch is they can only use one hand. If you think it’s still too easy, have players use their non-dominant hand.
10. Pom Pom Race
The only supplies you need are plastic straws and a bag of pom poms. Use your straw to blow as many pom poms across a marked finish line before the minute is up. Take the age of your players into consideration when deciding how far away to make the finish line.
11. Oven Mitt Race
Give each player a pair of oven mitts and a bowl of Hershey’s kisses. The object is to see how many Hershey’s kisses they can unwrap before the minute is over. As a bonus, once they’re unwrapped, someone’s got to eat them!
When looking for party ideas, add this to your list, they are perfect for any theme considering Hershey’s Kisses come out every season with festive wrapping and special flavors.
12. Egg Race
This is a classic, and can definitely get messy if you’re not careful! Each player needs an egg and a wooden spoon. See how many times they can make it across the room while balancing an egg on their spoon before the minute is up.
13. One Handed Bracelets
Give each player a pipe cleaner and a pile of beads or Cheerios. They have one minute to string as many “beads” onto their pipe cleaner as possible, but the catch is they are only allowed to use one hand! In the end you get a cute DIY bracelet, and if you used cereal a little something to snack on while waiting for your next turn.
14. Human Ring Toss
Gather hula hoops or circular pool floats and divide into teams. One person stands as the ring toss “post” while the other player(s) toss hula hoops and tries to see how many they can get onto the post. The wider the height range the trickier this game becomes!
15. Noodle Pickup
For this game you need uncooked spaghetti and uncooked penne pasta. Each player has a hard spaghetti noodle in their mouth and has to try and pick up six penne noodles without using their hands. Get ready for some laughs with this one!
16. Dice Balance
Each player needs a popsicle stick and six dice, the object is to balance all six dice on the end of the popsicle stick that you are holding in your mouth. The first player to balance all six or whoever has the most is the winner.
17. Marshmallow Transfer
Grab a couple of straws, mini marshmallows and two dishes. The object is to see how many marshmallows players can transfer from one dish to the other just by using the suction of their straw.
18. Ping Pong Balance
Measure out a distance of six feet. Players must pick up a ping pong ball and balance it on a spoon while walking the six feet...backwards! The player able to transfer the most ping pong balls by the end of the minute wins.
19. Fun Pong
Set up 10 plastic cups in a triangle at the end of a table, fill partially with water for extra stability, the player stands at the opposite end of the table and tries to get as many ping pong balls into cups as they can before the minute is up.
For an extra challenge, remove each cup they sink a ball into so their options get smaller as they sink more balls.
20. Backwards ABCs
Have each player attempt to recite the alphabet backwards, anytime they make a mistake they have to start all over again. Whoever gets the furthest after a minute wins the points.
21. Cotton Ball Scoop
The object of this game is to see who can scoop the most cotton balls into the bowl on their head, blindfolded, in one minute. Put a bowl full of cotton balls on the ground or on a table in front of the blindfolded player, have them hold another empty bowl on their head, and use a spoon to scoop as many cotton balls as they can into the empty bowl on their head before the timer rings.
22. Pantyhose Bowling
This game is sure to get some laughs. All you need is a pair of pantyhose, a tennis ball, 6 full water bottles and a sense of humor. Line up the six water bottles, place the tennis ball down the leg of the pantyhose, and place the waist over the players head. They now need to bend over, swing the ball and try and “bowl” over the water bottles. The player able to knock over the most water bottles wins the game!
23. Water Bottle Flip
Each player has a partially full water bottle in front of them on a table. They have to see how many times they can flip the water bottle and have it land perfectly on the table in one minute.
24. Junk in the Trunk
This is another one that is sure to get everyone laughing! Take an empty tissue box and fill it with 8-10 ping pong balls. Strap the tissue box around the players waist and they have to try and remove the ping pong balls just with movement, no hands allowed! Whoever finishes first or removes the most balls after the minute is over is the winner.
25. Keep ‘Em Up
Each player gets a straw and a tissue, and the object is to see if they can keep the tissue from touching the ground, with just their breath through the straw, for a full minute. Whoever lasts the longest, or makes it a whole minute scores points.
26. M+M Matching
Give players a bowl of M+Ms and a set of colored cups. They have to see how many M+Ms they can correctly sort into the colored cups in one minute.
27. Rhyming Race
Provide each player with a word, and they have to see how many rhyming words they can come up with in one minute. Make sure they are real words and not just nonsense, unless you are playing with little kids!
28. Moving on Up
You need two different colored cups for this game, but that’s it. Stack 20 cups of color A with one cup of color B on top. When the minute starts move color B to the bottom of the stack and keep restacking, see if you can get color B to the top of the stack again before the minute is up!
29. Stone Face
Add this game in after laughs have already started flowing. Pair off players, and they have to stare at one another for a full minute without laughing. Funny faces and gestures are allowed to try and get your opponent to make the first laugh!
30. Chopstick Race
Grab a pair of chopsticks and a bowl of something to transfer, you can tailor this based on the age of the players. You can use anything from cotton balls to dried rice and everything in between. The ultimate goal is to transfer as many items as you can before the minute is up using one hand and the pair of chopsticks.
What to Keep On Hand for Minute to Win It Games
Stock up on essential Minute to Win It game supplies so you can whip any of these out the next time you hear the dreaded “I’m bored…” Having these items on hand will save you so much time and energy when thinking of ways to keep kids entertained.
We’ve created this Amazon shopping list to make things easier:
- Solo cups
- Simple puzzles
- Pom Poms
- Pipe Cleaners
- Hula Hoops
- Ping Pong balls
- Plastic Straws
Looking for more game ideas? Check out favorite Printable Games for the Whole Family.
- familyengagementlab.org. Family Engagement Lab. 2023.
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Jennifer is currently working for a US-wide health care system, Jennifer has worked professionally for 13+ years in the fields of early education and leadership, including in the role of Director with the international edu