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After School Fun - Minute-to-win-it Challenges

23 challenges you can do alone or with friends

Oct 02, 2019

Minute-to-win-it challenges are fun to try on your own, with one friend, or with a whole group. They’re great to do with little kids when you’re babysitting, or during the holidays when you’re looking for a way to entertain cousins of different ages and abilities. Use these ideas to plan a birthday party, backyard summer fun, a family game night, or something to do with your cousins on Thanksgiving while you're waiting for dinner.

Fun for all ages

What’s great about these challenges is that you can compete against each other, or you can compete against yourself to get your best time or highest number. Try the ones we suggest here, then come up with your own and share them in the comments section below.

Happy face ping pong ballPing pong balls are the #1 most used tool in minute-to-win-it challenges. Okay, so we made up that statistic. LOL. But seriously, they have unlimited uses!Courtesy of Nadine Shaabana via Unsplash

Minute-to-win-it games

You don't need much in the way of supplies. Just a timer (like the one on a phone), and things you'll find around the house. Supplies are just suggestions. If the supplies call for chop sticks and you don't have any, try knitting needles or uncooked strands of linguini! Once you've tried them all, come up with your own challenges, too.

Colored candies for sortingSorting candies is almost as fun as eating them... Courtesy of Patrick Fore via Unsplash
  1. Sort of sweet: spill out a bag of colorful candies like jellybeans, M&M’s or Skittles. Sort them by color using only one hand. 
  2. All mixed up: Cut a cereal box cover into 24 pieces. How quickly can you put it back together? If 24 pieces is too easy, cut 8 of them in half and try again! 
  3. Bounce: Bounce 5 ping pong balls in a row off a wall and into a bucket. Experiment with moving the bucket different distances from the wall to get the best challenge.
  4. Defying Gravity: Keep three balloons up in the air at the same time. Too easy? Try four balloons. Too hard? Drop it down to two. 
  5. Tic Tac Tweeze: Pick up 5 Life Savers candies, one at a time, and drop each one into a glass located across a room, using only a pair of tweezers or chop sticks. 
  6. Create an obstacle course that goes around the entire room or yard. Limbo under a broomstick, hop step around and over pool toys, walk along a twisting jump rope line, and jump over tissue boxes.
  7. Hole in one: Set up a 3-hole miniature golf course in your yard. Using a hockey stick, golf putter, or even a broom, get a hole in one on each hole. 
  8. Un-Scrabble: Set out 12 SCRABBLE or Bananagrams tiles that spell out three four-letter words. Challenge each player to rearrange the letters to form three words in 60 seconds. (If they find any real words , even if they weren’t the words you were thinking of, they still win!)
  9. Build a marshmallow tower: This team-building exercise, using uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows to construct a tower, was featured in a TED talk to promote teamwork. See how you fare solo. Can you construct a tower that stands on its own in 1 minute or less?
  10. Can-it: Set up six empty soda cans in the shape of a pyramid on one end of a table or a room. Standing on the other side of the table or room, shoot a rubber band at the cans and knock them down within 60 seconds.
  11. Bucket-head: Balance an empty bucket or pail on your head, open side up. You can hold the bucket in place with one hand. Bounce a ping pong ball onto the floor and try to catch the ball in your bucket while keeping the bucket on your head. Too easy? See how many balls you can catch in a minute.
  12. Slinky challenge 1: Hold one hand behind your back. Holding a slinky in your other hand, flip the slinky up and try to catch it in a stack in your hand with all coils together. The slinky must rest there for at least three seconds for it to count.
  13. Slinky challenge 2: Place a stack of cups at the bottom of a staircase. Stand at the top of the stairs and push the slinky so it begins to walk down the stairs. Knock over the cups with the slinky in less than a minute. The hardest part is running down and up the stairs safely when you retrieve the slinky – be careful!
  14. House of (index) cards: Build a ten-story house using 30 index cards in a minute or less. The trick is to use fresh, unbent cards. The thicker the cards the better.
  15. Balancing act: Using only your pointer and your ring finger of one hand, stack 10 cards on top of an open glass soda bottle. If you don’t have a glass soda bottle, use any bottle with a narrow opening without the cap on.
  16. Bubble trouble: Blow a bubble using a bubble wand, then, using only your breath, direct it so that it goes through a hula hoop five feet away. Don’t have a hula hoop? Stand five feet from a wall and pick a point on the wall that the bubble has to hit.
  17. Double bubble trouble: Using a bubble wand, blow a bubble inside another bubble.
  18. Tennis anyone?: Toss 5 tennis balls into a bucket across the room. Need to make it harder, name the number of times it has to bounce (0, 1 or 2) before it makes it into the bucket.
  19. Model behavior: How good is your posture? Balance three hard-bound books on your head at one time and walk twenty feet without having any of the books fall. If a book falls, start over. You may not use your hands to steady the books. If three books is too difficult, decrease the distance or the number of books.
  20. Leggo my LEGOs: Using chop sticks only, transfer 10 LEGO people from one bin to another, one at a time.
  21. Sorta LEGOs: Fill a bin of 60 LEGO pieces of different sizes and colors. Can you sort them by color (or shape, or size) in sixty seconds or less?
  22. Free Throws: Standing at the free throw line with a friend at the basket to feed you rebounds, try to get five baskets in a minute or less. Increase or decrease the number based on your age and level of basketball greatness. You can also try it with layups.
  23. Round the world: For another basketball-themed challenge, keep a friend under the basket for rebounds and see if you can complete an around the world circuit (5 shots in a row from left to right) without missing, in a minute or less.

Scrabble tilesScrabble tiles have unlimited uses as well. Solve puzzles, create acrostics, or see how many you can balance on your elbow and catch in your hand!Courtesy of Joshua Hoehne via Unsplash
Have Your Say

What are your favorite minute-to-win-it challenges? Share your ideas in the comments below!