A few small toys to give away, such as plastic animals, toy cars, notepads, pencils and erasers, plastic jewelry, etc.
Music on a player that can be turned on and off quickly
A group of children (at least 3 would be good for this game)
What You Do:
Prepare the toys for the game by wrapping each toy in several layers of wrapping paper or tissue paper. Put on enough tissue to match the number of players: for example, if there are 9 kids, put at least 9 layers on the toy. Do not put any tape on the wrapping paper, since you want it to be removed easily during the game. You may want to prepare enough gifts so that every child will win once (and have children who have won already sit out the next rounds).
When it's time to play the game, have the children sit in a circle. Explain the rules of the game: The adult will turn on music and kids will pass the wrapped gift around the circle going clockwise. When the music stops, whoever is holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer of tissue. Then the music starts again and the game continues. Eventually, a child will get to unwrap the last layer of tissue—that child gets to win and keep the gift!
Start the music and play the game! Kids will have fun playing and trying to guess what the toy is as the layers start to come off.
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.