Nothing gets your kid’s crazy little heart pumping more than the sentence, “First one to do ____, wins.” It can cause a flurry of pure chaos or be a helpful way to trick your kids into finishing something quickly. For example, “First one down for dinner wins!” It sparks a burst of energy and competitiveness in your child that could inspire them to win a game or even organize their closet.
Looking for some fun new games to try at your next kid’s party or family get-together? With so many activities and games to choose from, it’s always best to make things easier for yourself and pick the simplest activities to put together. There are actual games you can make out of this phrase, and after spending many nights at home with your little ones, you and your kids can use the excitement.
These Minute To Win It games all require minimal investment and reward you with a ton of laughs. Which makes them incredibly popular. How popular? Well, according to the latest search data available, Minute to Win it games are searched for nearly 74,000 times per month. Something that is especially helpful if your kids are bored and stuck at home during a coronavirus self-quarantine.
Origin of Minute to Win It Games
Want to make the Minute to Win It experience authentic for your kiddos? Get inspiration from the game show that made these quick and easy games famous in the first place. Look online for old episodes of NBC’s Minute to Win It series, which ran four a total of four seasons. Hosted by Guy Fieri in its early years and Olympian Apolo Ohno in its later years, the show pitted contestants against each other in challenges using household items. The prize for those who could pull ’em all off? A whopping $1 million. But as viewers (and players!) quickly came to realize, this type of game proves deceptively tricky.
Best Minute to Win It Games for Kids
1. Chop Stick Race
Who can get the most Kix (or other round cereal) from one bowl to the other using only chopsticks? Set the egg timer for a minute!
2. Keep ‘Em Up
Can your kiddo keep a balloon (or two) in the air for a minute? Using only one hand? Using no hands (blow on it)?
3. Blue Moves
Stack 30-ish red cups on top of one blue cup. Have players rotate through all the cups until blue is on top.
4. Cookie Face
Place a cookie on each player’s forehead. Who can move the cookie to their mouth without using their hands first/fastest?
5. Bottle to Bottle
Fill one 2-Liter bottle with anything — pasta, rice, marbles, cereal, mini-marshmallows, etc. Players must try to transfer one bottle’s contents into another bottle. Whoever can transfer the most within the minute will win. Trust us: There will be a ton of spillage, so avoid liquid.
6. Roll-On, Buddy
Try to roll a potato, sweet potato, or onion across the floor from one side of the room to the other… using only your nose.
7. Human Ring Toss
Gather up hula hoops from the garage and borrow from friends and family. Pair-off players and have one play the human post while the other attempts to toss the hula hoops onto them. Who can collect the most?
8. Nose Mover
Using only their nose (and maybe a bit of peanut butter or Vaseline on the tip), how many cotton balls can you move from one bowl to the other?
9. For Whom the (Jingle) Bell Tolls
Fill and seal five boxes with an ascending number of jingle bells. (ex. One bell in one box, two bells in another, etc.) Players have to shake the boxes, jingle the bells, and place the boxes in order of how many bells they think are in each box.
10. Faster than Egyptians
Partners get a stack of 36 plastic cups. They have one minute to build a pyramid and then break it back down and re-stack the cups. Fun fact: This is actually harder with partners.
11. Blown Away
Stack those cups back into a pyramid. During a player’s turn, blow up a balloon, aim it at the pyramid and then let it go. How many cups did you knock over? Keep going until the minute is up.
12. It’s Gonna Get Dicey
Have players hold a Popsicle stick in their mouths and try to stack and balance five dice on the end of the stick. Whoever can stack all five dice and hold them there for three seconds wins the game. Otherwise, whoever manages to get the most stacked is the winner.
13. Junk in the Trunk
Players have a tissue box tied to their lower backs. Inside are six ping-pong balls. They have one minute to empty their boxes without using their hands.
14. Thar She Blows!
Line up plastic cups from one end of the table to the other and fill them to the brim with water. Float a ping-pong ball in the first cup. You have one minute to blow your ball across the cups to the other side of the table. If your ball falls onto the table, you have to start over.
15. Look, Ma, No Fingers
Fill several bowls of Hershey kisses or other candy that needs to be unwrapped. Make sure each player is wearing a pair of mittens. The goal is to unwrap as much candy as they can before the 60 seconds are up. The winner gets the rest of the unwrapped Hersheys and the ones they opened. This is a game where everyone wins because everyone gets to eat a little bit of chocolate.
16. Ping Pong Toss
Collect a few egg cartons, cut off the tops, and tape them together to form a giant grid of divots. Players have a minute to see how many ping-pong balls they can bounce into the egg cups.
17. Cotton Ball Scoop
Sprinkle cotton balls on a table around a centrally located bowl. Give a player a spoon and blindfold them. They have a minute to find cotton balls and put them in the bowl.
18. The Paper Bag Game
Place a brown paper lunch or grocery bag opened up on the floor — one for each player. When the clock starts, players must squat down, bite onto the paper bag, and pick it up without touching the floor. Once they’re standing, they tear off the part of the bag that their lips touched, place it back on the floor and start over. This, of course, gets harder as the bag gets shorter.
19. Less-Violent Fruit Ninja
Let your kids chuck playing cards into a halved watermelon for one minute. The winner can either be whoever got the most cards stuck or whoever has the highest total when you add up the value of the stuck cards.
20. Save the Joker
Place a stack of cards (with the joker on the bottom) atop a container. Each player has a minute to blow away the rest of the stack and leave just the joker remaining. If they lose the joker, they lose the game.
21. One-Handed Bracelet
Everyone has one minute to thread Cheerios or Fruit Loops onto a pipe cleaner using only one hand. Next, can they fasten it around their wrist?
22. Silly Elephants on Parade
Line up water bottles in a long row. Next, put a tennis ball in the toe of a pair of pantyhose, then pull the waist over the player’s head. The player must walk down the line swinging their head (and, thus, the ball) attempting to knock over as many bottles as possible.
23. Tallest Tower
How many pennies/cereal pieces can you stack in one minute, using only one hand? The tallest tower wins. (Too easy? Make bigger kids and grown-ups use their less dominant hand.)
24. A Penny Earned
Place one penny in each toe of a pair of pantyhose, then have the player wear the hose on their arms like sleeves. They have one minute to get the hose off and retrieve the pennies.
25. Taller Tallest Tower
Given 20 empty cans and four to six paper plates each, who has the tallest tower at the end of a minute?
26. Cereal Scramble
Cut the front of a cereal box into 14 squares. Give each player a minute to reassemble the front of their box.
27. Marshmallow Toss
Giant Marshmallows tossed into tiny cups. Partners four-ish feet apart. Who can catch the most in a minute?
28. Sketti Scoop
With a piece of uncooked spaghetti in their mouths, kiddos have one minute to thread five pieces of penne pasta onto their spaghetti stick.
29. Mummify Me
Players pair off and have a minute to wrap their partners in toilet paper. The team with the best coverage wins.
30. Caught Red-Nosed
Before you begin festivities, hot glue a red pom-pom on the end of 12 to 18 inches of ribbon. Make one for each person playing. Players must hold the end of the ribbon in their mouths and have a minute to fling the pom-pom up onto their nose so that it sticks onto a dab of petroleum jelly.
31. That’s Nuts!
Using an uncooked stick of spaghetti, a straw, or a kebab steak, players must stack up nuts on their flat ends.
32. Apple Stack
Allot five apples per player and give them a minute to see if they can get all five of the lumpy fruits stacked on top of each other.
33. Kid Pong
For a slightly easier game, line up six cups for each player and give them each six ping-pong balls. Give everyone a minute to get all six balls into their cups.
34. Two-Man Ping Pong B-Ball
Use a small trash can as the “basket.” Give one player an allotted number of ping-pong balls and another player a clipboard. Player 1 must bounce each ping-pong ball off Player two’s backboard (the clipboard) and into the basket. Player two can help their partner by moving around to “catch” the ball on the clipboard and help aim the bounce in the right direction.
35. Cheerios And Spaghetti
This is a super easy one to play, and the supplies are super cheap. The game entails transferring as many Cheerios as possible from one side of the room to the other, using only a dried piece of spaghetti held in the mouth. Players can string Cheerios onto the spaghetti before holding the edge in their mouth and gingerly walking across the room. It’s so much fun!
36. Gift Wrap Me
Much like Mummify Me, players have a minute to do the best job wrapping up their partner using gift wrap. Add to the complexity of the game by adding rules like the feet must not show, or the nostrils are the only thing that can stay exposed.
37. Bobbing For Apples
This is a classic game for adults and kids alike that can be tweaked to suit any theme or season. Playing during Halloween? Why not bob for eyeballs? All you’ll need is a bag of plastic eyeballs from your local pop-up Halloween store (or Target). Just make sure it’s not something that can break during the chomping down bit of the game.
38. Stack the Dice
The object of the game is to stack six dice on a popsicle stick while holding it in the mouth. The player who completes the task first wins!
39. Shamrock Shake
Grab an empty tissue box and tape it to a pair of pantyhose or an old pair of leggings. Fill it with ping-pong balls and tie it around the designated player’s waist. The goal? To shake it until all the balls fall out.
40. Traffic Yam
Got some sweet potatoes in the pantry? Put ’em to good use. Here, the objective is to roll the tuber from one side of the room to the other… using just your nose.
41. Balloon Blow
Do you have a pack of balloons you didn’t use from the last birthday party? Perfect. Give three deflated balloons to each child. The goal is to blow up each balloon to the size of a basketball, baseball, or whichever size you choose. The first kid to blow up all their balloons is the winner. Make sure you give them plenty of water and cookies afterward, so no one faints.
42. Fast Fashion
If your kid is a fan of dress-up, put their runway skills to the test. First, lay out three funky outfits for each player to put on. Each child will have to get dressed, do a strut (or dash) across the room, and then get changed into their next outfit. The catch is, after each round, they won’t be removing any of their clothes. The next costume must go on top of the previous one. The first model to finish the runway in their third outfit wins.
43. Blow by Blow
If it isn’t obvious yet, ping-pong balls are the backbone of many Minute to Win it games, so make sure you keep a pack around the house. In this game, you’re going to need two trays and a bunch of two different colored ping-pong balls. Each player will be assigned a color and must blow on the balls to move them onto their tray. The first person to have all their ping-pong balls on their tray wins.
44. Cool Bartender
You’re going to need several cups, and a bunch of straws to get started. In front of each player, place a row of cups filled with water. Have the kids stand at least a foot away from their cups. Their goal is to throw as many straws into the cups of water as they can. The person with the most straws in the cups wins.
45. Peep Your Face
Who doesn’t love Peeps? Put that sugary goodness to good use with this silly game. It’s a lot like the Cookie Face game, except this time kids have a minute to stick as many sweet chicks onto their face as they can.
46. Go(ld) Fish
Instead. of playing Go Fish with cards, this game feels more like real-life fishing. Only, you’re not in nature and you’re not using a fishing rod — you’re inside, and you’re using straws and two bowls. Players have one minute to see how many goldfish crackers they can suck onto the end of their straw and transfer from one bowl to another.
47. Indoor Tennis
Bring Wimbledon into your home with this fun game! No tennis rackets, tennis balls, or any tennis skills are necessary for this game of indoor tennis. Using two folders, the players keep tossing a crumpled ball of paperback and forth for a full minute. The team that drops the ball, loses.
48. Egg Race
Place an egg in a spoon and set the finish line across the room. Each person must place the spoon in their mouth and run to the other side of the room without dropping the egg. If the person drops their egg, they lose. You can even make a relay race out of it! Make sure the eggs are hard-boiled, so if they fall, it doesn’t make a mess.
Creating a Minute to Win It Readiness Kit
One of the most brilliant things about Minute to Win it games for kids is that you can bust them out at any given moment to beat boredom. But you’ll need to have a few supplies at the ready! We recommend having a dedicated box filled with a collection of items that’ll help you pull off these games at a moment’s notice. A few ideas:
- Empty toilet paper rolls
- Popsicle sticks
- Ping-pong balls
- Jump rope
- Empty bottles
- Plastic buckets and containers
- A digital timer