Here are some HELPFUL HINTS for playing The STOP Game!
Do You Believe in Magic?
Prizes are optional. The real magic is in the singing and bonding. I have found it surprising, however, how much people love winning prizes, no matter how simple or inexpensive! It’s also nice to send them home with something with which they can remember the fun time they had at your house.
So, if your budget allows, buy a dozen or so small prizes (one prize per challenge), wrap them or place them in gift bags. Re-gift some items you don’t need or buy joke gifts at the dollar store.
I usually put the wrapped prizes in the center and allow the “winner” to choose one. If space is tight, I assign the player sitting closest to the prizes to choose the prize and pass it down.
For our Circle of Angels Christmas gathering, our annual Cookie Swap, those “prize selectors” are our “Elves” (hats and all)!
One easy and inexpensive, yet still fun option is to fill a basket with a variety of candy bars or movie-theater boxes of candy liked Goobers and Raisinets (at left). Pass the basket to each winner and let him or her choose their favorite.
No matter what you decide upon, watching the winner receive his or her prize is almost as magical as the singing itself.
Plus, you get to be the Superstar Party Planner for choosing fun prizes!
We Are The Champions
Who should win the prize? You could keep it simple by automatically giving it to the Challenger.
When I design challenges, I designate who the prize should go to on the Challenge Card, as noted in the previous page.
We’ve also put all the names in a “hat” (at Christmastime we used a stocking) and drew a winner with each challenge. That’s simple and still fun.
Be sure to keep a pair of dice on hand. If two or more players qualify for the prize, break the tie with the roll of the dice. Highest number wins.
The Song Challenges are usually done a capella; however, if you prefer, have the songs available on your playlist so the players can sing along to the recorded version.
It’s best to start the game after everyone has had a chance to mingle, warm up and catch up with each other’s lives.
We Got the Beat
For our Circle of Angels Christmas Cookie Swap Gathering, we enjoy mingling and the buffet before playing a Christmas rendition of The STOP Game.
As everyone arrives, they fill out a “Cookie Label” to identify their type of cookie (right), set up the cookies on portable tables set up in the Family Room, visit the punch bowl and buffet, and then mingle — all before the game, which we play in the living/dining room.
Just before the game, everyone makes a small plate of cookies for dessert to enjoy during the game. After the game is over, we do the actual Cookie Swap (trays to bring home).
The cookies are a sweet ending to a fun time — but they are not center stage. The singing, fun and bonding are what rock those halos!
Mingling before the game are Circle of Angels girlfriends Sharon, Linda and Mickey
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Another option is BYOP – Bring Your Own Prizes. We do this with my family on Christmas Night; in fact, this replaces our traditional exchanging of gifts. My friend, Joyce, also does this for her (very fun) PoKeNo Nights.
Here’s how it works. Instead of you, the host/administrator, providing all the prizes, the prizes are done similar to a Yankee Swap. Ask everyone to bring a prize valued at $10 (or whatever amount you set) and have them bring it wrapped (or in a gift bag).
Usually, guests enjoy picking out something unique and often put some thought and creativity into it. If your party has a theme, ask your guests to keep their prize to the theme.
Put all the packages in the middle of the circle and the winner picks a prize.
As host, this saves you money and time shopping and wrapping!
It Won’t Be Long (Yeah)
You will need only about 12 Challenge Cards to make a complete STOP GAME. That will typically take about an hour — a good amount of time for this activity. If you’d like it to be longer, include more challenges. There’s never a dull moment, trust me!
Be sure to use a different song for passing the basket for each challenge rather than continuing where you stopped the previous song. For 12 challenges, pick out a dozen upbeat and fun songs for your playlist.
Take it Easy
With your busy life, you may not have the time to make up your own challenges. Not a problem — you can still easily mix Singing with Trivia with Opening Prizes (STOP).
Use trivia cards from another game you might already have, like Trivial Pursuit (at left).
Put about 75 cards in the Challenge Basket. When the music stops at the Challenger, he or she selects 5 cards (one is never enough of a challenge!)
Challenger should pick his or her favorite category, and present the five challenges from that category to the group. Everyone just shouts out answers.
OPTION 2: There are 6 categories on each card. Challenger picks only one card and presents all 6 questions on that one card to the group. (Here, you will only need to put in the basket the same number of cards that you have chosen for songs — one card per challenge.)
To make it easy, give the prize to the challenger — or pick names from a hat — or have someone decide on who best answered the questions and deserves the prize.
In this “easy” method you won’t have Song Challenges, however, you still get them singing while the basket is passed around….so good going, Superstar Party Planner!
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