September 30, 2013
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Bar mitzvah game ideas

The game plan

for The Brooklyn Paper

Planning a bat or bar mitzvah is not all fun and games. In fact, most parents get stressed out because they are so focused on making sure that the special day goes off without a hitch and part of that anxiety stems from making sure that all guests — of all ages — at your child’s bar mitzvah are entertained.

There are plenty of games that are sure to keep your child’s friends and tiny relatives engaged in the festivities. Below is a list with selections both trendy and traditional and are sure to have your younger guests gush about how they went to the best bar mitzvah ever — your child’s!

Scavenger Hunt

Players: Unlimited, but use your judgment.

Fun factor: It is an interactive and exciting game that gets everyone involved.

The MC or DJ should call the players to the dance floor, announcing that they bring their chair in tow and sit down. Once all the players are seated, the MC will explain the rules. He will announce an item like, “nail file,” and once he does, the kids are to get out of their seats and search for a nail file, and once they have found it, they run back to their seats. Now here comes the exciting part. Each time an item is announced and the children leave their seats, one chair is removed from the dance floor, so that the last child to return with the item is out. You can choose to have the children play individually or in two equal teams. The last player or team to have a seat, wins. The MC can call out any items, here are some suggestions: a balloon, specific kind of candy, spoon, ice cube, and so forth. The excitement rises as the number of chairs drops!

Balloon Stomp

Players: 10 - 20

Fun factor: It will give all the players a case of the giggles.

Tie balloons with string to the ankles of every player, and make sure the strings are of equal length. The object of the game is for the players to pop everyone else’s balloon without letting the other players pop theirs. All activity should take place on the dance floor and a player is considered out if their balloon gets popped or they leave the designated area. To add some extra excitement, have the DJ play a high-energy song and periodically pause the music to add a “freeze” element to the game — when the music stops all players must stop moving until the music starts up again. If they move, they’re out! Expect lots of laughter.

Present Pass

Players: Unlimited, but use your judgment.

Fun factor: It is fast-paced and exciting.

Choose a nice present for the winner of this game and wrap it at least a dozen times with giftwrap. The players should stand on the dance floor, forming a circle. The birthday child starts the game off by holding the present and then passes it around the circle. Each person passes it quickly, like a hot potato, to the person next to him, while the DJ plays an up-tempo song. The DJ will randomly pause the song and whoever is holding the gift when the music stops, must unwrap one layer of giftwrap. The player that removes the last layer gets to keep the gift. Make sure to choose a gift with universal appeal.


Players: Unlimited, but use your judgment.

Fun factor: It gets bodies on the dance floor!

Boys and girls in their early teens can be shy when it comes to asking members of the opposite sex to dance. This game is a great icebreaker that will teach them that dancing doesn’t have to be scary. Place the bar mitzvah boy in the center of the dance floor and get all the other children to form a circle around him. The birthday boy then chooses one of the other players as their dance partner and they start dancing to music together. Shortly after they begin to dance, the DJ stops the music and calls out “Snowball!” Then the bar mitzvah boy and his dance partner have to separate and both choose a new partners form the circle to dance with. This is repeated until all the players are dancing, so make sure to have an equal number of players.

Singled Out

Players: Create several groups of your child’s friends, but no more than five groups.

Fun factor: Slow-paced but smart.

Prior to the event, write out 20 – 30 trivia questions based on your child’s interests, hobbies, favorite foods, and history. At the bar mitzvah, seat your child on the dance floor, with his back to the guests then have all the players stand on the opposite side of the stage. The MC will then ask trivia questions and the first child from each group to answer correctly, gets to move one step toward your child, until there are five finalists — one player from each team. The player who reaches your child first wins! And for added fun, have your child tries to guess who the winner is!

Keep in mind that the winner of each game deserves a reward for all their hard work, so make sure to have kid-friendly prizes on hand. To keep costs low, give away prizes like movie tickets or $10 gift cards to places like Starbucks, Best Buy, Amazon, iTunes, and Target.

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