A new baby is on the way. What better way to celebrate and equip the new mom with essentials than to have a baby shower?
This tradition goes back to ancient times, when the purpose was twofold: Friends, family and neighbors came to pass along baby items their own children had used and no longer needed. Also, since in some cultures new moms were sequestered with their new children for months, the shower was a last chance to treat the soon-to-be mother with a little entertainment.
Today, baby showers still serve the practical purpose of parental preparation, and these events are also great excuses for a party.
So, how should you entertain your guests? With games, of course! Read on to learn how to play 10 traditional baby shower games.
Baby Shower Bingo
Like regular bingo, Baby Shower Bingo is played by marking squares on a card until the first person fills in an entire line and wins.
Before the shower, create bingo cards by drawing grids on a piece of paper, then make enough copies for all the guests. On each piece of paper, place numbers randomly in the squares. If you have 16 guests, you'll want to create a four-by-four grid with numbers one through 16.
Number each present brought to the shower.
As the guest of honor opens each present, call out the number of that present, and have guests mark their bingo cards if they have that number in one of the squares.
The first player to achieve a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line wins.
Alternatively, you can buy preprinted bingo cards, or find free ones online that provide an alternative way to play. You won't have to number the presents, as these cards have pictures of baby items likely to be in the gift pile, such as a teddy bear, books or bibs.
Don't say baby!
So, you're at a baby shower, cooing over baby items and discussing the baby on the way. How hard is it to avoid saying the word "baby"? Very hard -- even more difficult than you might think! So, make it a game.
This is often played by giving a clothespin to each guest. Guests clip the clothespins to their sleeves or the hems of their shirts, or on strings of ribbon or yarn around their necks.
Each time someone blunders and says "baby," the person who catches the slip-up gets to take the offender's clothespin and keep it.
The person who has amassed the most pins at the end of the shower wins.
How big is mommy?
Mom's tummy is probably pretty big around the time of the shower. But how big is it exactly? You can make a game of guessing the answer to that very question.
During the shower, pass around spools of ribbon, or balls of string or yarn, plus scissors. Each guest will try to estimate how big around the mother-to-be's belly is. To show off their guesses, each guest will clip off a piece of ribbon, string or yarn that she thinks is the closest size to that of the pregnant woman's middle.
Then place each guest's string around the mom's stomach and see who had the closest guess -- that person is the lucky winner!
You can test party-goers' thinking speed and acuity with a scramble game using the names of baby-related items.
To set up scramble words, before the shower, make a list of 15 or 20 different terms, such as blanket, pacifier, bassinet, diaper and stroller. Then scramble the letters of each word, for example, writing tlarte for rattle.
At the shower, either give each guest a piece of paper with the scrambled words on it or post the words on a wall or chalkboard where everyone can view them.
Set a timer for, say, five minutes. Whoever solves the most scrambled words in that time wins!
Team Diaper Duty
Changing diapers isn't easy. Team Diaper Duty is even tougher!
To play Team Diaper Duty, pair up the guests into teams of two. The teams will take turns trying to remove the clothes from a doll, take off the diaper, and put the new diaper on as neatly and accurately as needed for a real baby, and then put the clothes back on.
Best of all, each team member can only use one hand! With two people trying to coordinate using only one hand each, this event will create lots of laughs from both those clumsily diapering the doll and from those watching.
Time each team using a stopwatch: The fastest team wins.
Who's that baby?
The baby picture game is an excellent icebreaker for showers where all the guests might not know each other.
With the baby shower invitations, include a request that each guest bring one of her own baby pictures. Then, at the shower, hang all the photos where everyone can see them. (Some suggest hanging them on a clothesline, or you can place them all on a table. Whichever way you display them, you won't want to use pushpins or tape, because they could damage the photos.)
Number the pictures. Give each guest a piece of paper and pen, and have them write down who they think is pictured in each one.
You can time this event for about 15 minutes, or you can allow guests to keep making their matches throughout the shower until the end.
Whenever you end it, the person with the most correct guesses wins.
This game is just like the classic game where someone draws an image, then that person's team must guess what he or she is trying to depict.
You set up this game before the shower by creating small slips of paper and writing one of 25 baby-related terms on each. Fold the slips and place them in a bowl.
Use a chalkboard or erasable white board, or tape or pin large pieces of paper on a wall where they're easily viewable by all. Be sure you have appropriate markers (be careful of any marker that bleeds through paper, and if you're using an erasable white board, be sure you have dry-erase pens).
When you're ready to play, split the guests into three or four different teams. Have the first team decide who the first artist will be, and have that person randomly pick one of the slips of paper and show it to everyone except her own team members.
The person drawing must try to draw a picture of the term, and that person's team must guess what it is in a pre-set amount of time (usually one or two minutes).
Hint: It's not that hard to draw a bottle, so think of terms that will be challenging, such as burping!
Baby Time Capsule
This game is a great way to remind the mom, and tell the child, what life was like the year of his or her birth.
To set this up, along with the invitations, ask each guest to bring an item to place in a time capsule for the baby. Each item should be something that represents today's culture, such as a newspaper with a significant headline, a celebrity tabloid, a DVD or CD of a popular movie or singing sensation, a photo of the town where the baby will live, or even a personal letter about what it's like in today's society, or what the baby's mom and dad are like.
At the shower, each guest shows the item she brought and explains why she made that choice.
The items are placed into a treasure chest to be stored for safekeeping until the parents decide the child is old enough to appreciate the meaning.
Feels Like …
This game gives everyone a chance to laugh at, and with, the guest of honor.
To play, you'll need a blindfold and a variety of items in a box. To start, blindfold the mom-to-be and place the box of objects in front of her. She must dig into the box and select an item, then try to guess what it is using only her sense of touch.
You can play this game by inserting baby-related items in the box, as most recommend. You can also get more creative with goofy, zany or slightly off-color items -- if suitable to the crowd -- and expect a whole lot of giggling.
In this traditional baby shower game, find photos of the expectant parents and both sets of in-laws, including brothers, sisters and even family pets. Before the shower, make copies of the photos, then trim out of the copies the eyes, noses, mouths, ears, hair and any other facial features.
Next, create an outline of a baby's head on a piece of paper and make enough copies for each guest.
To play, have the guests select different facial features from the pile you trimmed out of the photos and glue them onto their copies of the outline.
At the end, each guest's creation will be a representation (funny or serious!) of what she thinks the baby will look like.
For more great tradition articles, check out the links on the next page.
What could be more American than apple pie? HowStuffWorks looks at the origins of the phrase 'as American as apple pie.'
- Adorable Baby Gifts. "Baby Shower Games." (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.adorablebabygifts.com/baby_shower_games.htm
- Baby Shower 101. "Baby Shower Games." (Aug. 3, 2011) http://babyshower101.com/baby_shower_games.html
- BabyZone. "Baby Shower Games." (Aug. 2, 2011) http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/baby_showers/photos_baby-shower-games/5
- BabyZone. "Baby Shower Games Guide." (Aug. 2, 2011) http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/baby_showers/article/baby-shower-games-guide-pg2
- Sinclair, Suzi. "Some Typical Baby Shower Games." Artipot. July 26, 2010. (Aug. 2, 2011) http://www.artipot.com/articles/634829/some-typical-baby-shower-games.htm