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50 Minute to Win It Games
Whether you are team-building at the office or looking for an exciting addition to family fun night, “Minute to Win It” games are a quick and easy way to energize your event. All you need is your phone’s stopwatch function and a few materials to create a fun game your group members will love.
Use Your Brain
- Anagrams - Pick a fun word or phrase and have players rearrange the letters to create anagrams. For example, the phrase “minute to win it” has more than 5,000 possible anagram combinations such as “timeout in twin” and “wine intuit Tom.” Use an anagram generator online for inspiration. Whoever has the most anagrams after 60 seconds wins.
- State of Fun - Have players write down as many state capitals as they can before the timer goes off.
- Good Sports - Pick a sports league (i.e. the NFL) and have players or teams write down as many cities and/or teams as they can (i.e. the Atlanta Falcons). Whoever gets the most in one minute wins.
- Math Facts - Print out some old school multiplication or division time tests with simple math problems and see who can solve the most before the timer goes off.
- Toothpick Words - Give each player a large pile of toothpicks and instruct them to spell out three-letter words without breaking or bending any of the toothpicks. Whoever has the most words when the timer goes off wins.
Coordinate scout volunteers with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Battle of the Bands - Pick a letter and have players write down bands or musical artists that start with that letter. For example, “R” could mean the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Reba McEntire, etc. Whoever has the most on their list at the end wins. Work your way through the alphabet if you need tiebreakers.
- Backward ABCs - Have participants recite the alphabet backwards one at a time. If they make any mistakes, they have to start over. Whoever does it the fastest wins. For a tiebreaker or extra challenge, pick a random letter to start with rather than Z, and have participants work their way back to the original letter.
- Breakfast Scramble - Cut the front of a cereal box up into small pieces puzzle-style and have players try to put it back together as quickly as they can.
- Wordsmith - Give each player or team a set of alphabet tiles and challenge them to create as many words as possible in one minute. Assign point values based on the length of each word (one point for three letters, two for four and so on). The person or team with the most points wins.
- Tower of Terror - See which player can build the tallest block tower in the group in one minute. If it collapses, the player has to start from scratch.
- Junk in the Trunk - Strap an empty tissue box to each player’s waist and put several ping pong balls inside. Tell players they have to get as many balls out as possible using only movement. They can dance, shake, get on all fours — whatever it takes as long as they don’t use their hands. The player with the fewest ping pong balls in their tissue box at the end wins.
- One-handed Penny Stacking - Give players a pile of 25 or so pennies and have them stack them using only one hand. Whoever stacks the most pennies wins.
- Roller Rings - Set up several paper or plastic rings on the floor about 10 feet away from your players, and have them attempt to roll tennis balls into the rings. Whoever has the most balls in a ring at the end wins.
- Rubber Band Shooting Range - Stack several empty soda cans into a pyramid and have players shoot rubber bands at them, attempting to knock down the pyramid. Whoever has the fewest cans standing at the end of one minute wins.
- Egg Race - For this classic game, give players a spoon and an egg and have each of them run a short distance without dropping it. Ramp up the challenge by having players put the end of the spoon in their mouth. Run the challenge relay-style with teams or simply see who can make the trip the most times before your timer goes off.
- Penny Hose - File this under “sounds easy but isn’t” — put a penny in each foot of a pair of pantyhose and then have players put a hand in each leg and try to get the pennies out in less than a minute. One ground rule: No using hands (or any other body parts) to stretch, bunch or otherwise touch the other leg of the stocking.
- Wall Bounce - Have participants bounce a ping pong ball off the wall and into a bucket. Whoever has the most balls in the bucket at the end wins. To have multiple players at once, simply use different colored balls or write players’ initials on them.
- Keep It Up - Tell players or teams they must keep a balloon afloat for one minute. Additional rules are up to you: tell them they can use only their heads, toes, etc. or just say “anything goes.” If the balloon touches the ground, they’re out. The last person or team standing wins.
- Shoe Flick - Get players to take their heel out of their shoe and attempt to flick it onto a table six to 10 feet away using only their feet/legs. If they can get one, have them try to get the other. If their shoe overshoots or falls off the table, they have to start over.
- Bobble Head - Attach a pedometer or other fitness tracker to the head of each participant and have them move their heads back and forth quickly to achieve as many “steps” as possible before the timer runs out.
Eat It Up
- Cookie Face - Have players tilt their faces up and place a small cookie on each of their foreheads. Tell them they have one minute to get the cookie to their mouth without using their hands. Whoever does it the fastest wins (and gets a sweet snack)!
- Pretzel Dive - Give each player a chopstick and a bowl of pretzels. Instruct players to hold the chopstick between their teeth and use it to collect as many pretzels as they can before the timer goes off. No touching the pretzel or chopstick with your hands allowed!
- Tic Tac Tweezer - Grab a bowl of Tic Tacs or other tiny candy and have participants use tweezers to pick them up one at a time and carry them across the room and put them in a different bowl. If players drop their candy on the way, they have to pick it up using only the tweezers. Whoever has the most in their bowl when the timer goes off wins.
- Whipped Cream Worm Search - Hide several gummy worms in a pile of whipped cream on a plate and have players retrieve the worms using only their mouths. Whoever has the most worms when the timer goes off wins.
Organize registration for a youth group retreat with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Suck It Up - Give each player two plates: one that’s empty and one that has several small candies on it (think M&Ms or Skittles). Tell players to use only a straw and their mouth to pick up the candies one by one and move them from the full plate to the empty plate. Whoever has the most candies at the end wins.
- Sweets Sort - Give participants a pile of 100 multi-colored candies and have them sort them by color using only their non-dominant hand. The winner will have the fewest un-sorted candies at the end.
- Mad Dog - Create a “dog bone” by taping two mint containers (Tic Tacs work well) to opposite ends of a ruler. Then open the containers and have the player place the ruler in his or her mouth and shake his or her head back and forth to get the mints to fall out. Whoever has the fewest mints in the container at the end wins.
- Chopstick Cereal Race - Pick a small round cereal like Kix or Cocoa Puffs and put pieces into a large bowl. Have participants sit around the bowl, each with a smaller cup in front of them. Then have them use chopsticks to move the cereal from the large communal bowl to their own cup.
- Tasty Bracelet - Have participants thread 15 or so pieces of circular cereal or candy (like Fruit Loops or Life Savers) onto a pipe cleaner — using only one hand. Once the threading is done, tell participants to put the bracelet on, again only using one hand.
Fun for Kids
- Cup Stack - Give participants eight to 10 cups of the same color and then one cup that’s a different color. Start with the single-color cup on top and have the kids place the bottom cup into it over and over until the single-color cup is back on top again. Whoever goes through the most rounds in one minute wins.
- Flying Feather - Have kids blow a feather across the room and into a bucket without touching it. Whoever gets closest before the timer goes off wins. Tip: get kids to tilt their heads back and blow the feather up into the air to get it started on its journey.
- Elephant March - Put a baseball in the leg of a pair of pantyhose and tie them around a player’s head. Then have the player put his or her hands behind her back and swing his or her head side to side to attempt to knock over several bottles on the floor.
- Tissue Toss - Give each player a box of tissues and instruct them to pull out one tissue at a time using only one hand as fast as they can. Whoever pulls out the most tissues by the time the timer goes off wins.
- Plastic Pyramid - Give kids several cups in a stack and have them stack them into a pyramid and then quickly bring them back down into a single stack again before the timer goes off. Make sure each child or team has the exact same number of cups to keep it fair!
- Numbers in Order - Write numbers from zero to 25 on individual flash cards and mix them up. Then have kids run across the room (or yard) and arrange the numbers in order before the timer goes off.
- Spoon Catapult - Give kids ping pong balls, fuzzy pom-poms or other small round objects and have kids use spoons to catapult them into cups across the table. The winner will have the most balls in the cup when the timer goes off.
- Balloon Blow - Instruct kids to blow up a balloon and knock as many cups as they can off the table using only the balloon air.
- Pencil Flip - Have kids hold a hand out, palm down, and place a pencil on the back of their hand. Then instruct them to quickly flip their hand, hopefully catching the pencil. After each successful catch, add another pencil to the back of the hand. Whoever can successfully catch the most pencils at the end of one minute wins.
- Sticky Marbles - Unroll a large piece of double-sided tape across a table and give kids each several marbles (ideally a different color for each kid). See who can roll the most marbles across the table and get them to stick to the tape before the timer goes off.
- Nut Stack - Head to the hardware store and buy several small “hex nuts.” Thread five to 10 of them onto a skewer or chopstick and have players stack them on top of each other using only one hand. Tip: players will need to remain very still to keep from knocking over their towers. Whoever has the highest stack at the end of one minute wins.
Teams or Partners
- Candy Toss - Divide into pairs and have the partners stand at least three feet apart. Give each partner a paper cup and a handful of small candies. Have them try to toss the candies into their partner’s cup. The one with the most candy in the partner’s cup at the end wins. If desired, you can continue the game tournament-style by pairing up winners against each other until the ultimate winner is decided.
- Marshmallow Mouth - Write several words or phrases on flash cards and divide participants into teams. Then have one team member fill his or her mouth with giant marshmallows and try to communicate the word or phrase to the rest of the team. Whichever team can decipher the most words or phrases wins.
- Feed Your Friend - You’ll need blindfolds, a spoon, some pudding (or other semi-gelatinous treat) and possibly some protective gear for this messy game. Have your group split into partners and instruct one partner to sit in a chair while the other stands up, blindfolded. Then instruct the blindfolded partner to attempt to spoon feed the partner the pudding. The seated partner can give direction but can’t touch the blindfolded partner at any time. Whichever duo has the least pudding left in their cup after one minute wins.
- Flip Cup - The G-rated version of this college staple involves lining teams up along the edge of the table and giving each team member a cup with a small amount of water in it. Each team member must drink the water and then flip the cup upside down off the edge of the table using only his or her fingers before the next team member can repeat the process. Whichever team has the most cups flipped when the timer goes off wins.
Recruit volunteers for college orientation with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Back-to-Back Stand - Tell participants to partner up and sit on the floor back-to-back with their partners. Ask them to link arms and attempt to stand up. Once they do that, have them sit back down and do it again. Whoever is able to stand up the most frequently in one minute wins.
- Bag Bite - Divide into two teams and give each team a large paper bag. Team members must take turns picking the bag up off the floor using only their mouths. If any team member touches the ground with her hands or more than one foot, she is out and other team members must keep going. After each turn, the team member must rip off the part of the bag her mouth touched, ensuring the bag will get smaller and smaller (and thus harder to grab). Whichever team has the most team members standing at the end of one minute wins. If you need a tie-breaker, the team with the smallest bag after one minute wins.
- Straw and Tissue Relay Race - Separate into at least two teams and give each member a drinking straw. Have team members stand in line and attempt to pass a piece of tissue paper from one end the line to the other, using only their straws — no hands. Whichever team gets the paper the farthest without dropping it in one minute wins.
- Jump Rope Line - Divide into two teams and have team members line up single file. Give the first person in line a jump rope and instruct each team member to jump rope 10 times before handing the rope to the next person in line and heading to the back. Whichever team has the most members complete the task before the timer goes off wins.
- Dizzy Mummy - Have participants partner up. One partner will hold a roll of toilet paper while the other unrolls it while spinning, attempting to cover himself with it and look like a “mummy” by the end. The winning team will have the least amount of toilet paper left on the roll after 60 seconds.
- Human Ring Toss - You’ll need several hula hoops or pool floats for this fun challenge. Divide your players into partners and have them stand at least six feet apart. Each partner will try to “ring” the other with the hula hoop or float. Whichever pair has the most rings on each other at the end of one minute wins.
Hit the pantry or the dollar store and grab just a few items to make your next game night (or company lunch) one to remember.
Sarah Pryor is a journalist, wife, mom and Auburn football fan living in Charlotte, N.C.