Looking for fun activities for a party? Need to kill some time or stall the kids? Looking for some fun memories to pad your holidays? Then I might have just the thing for you.
I hadn’t heard of Tape Ball (or Candy Ball or even Saran Wrap Ball) before a few months ago, but I wanted a simple, fun and cheap activity to add to our Teen Halloween Party last month. And it turned out to be the perfect party experience! None of the kids had ever played the game and they weren’t sure what to think of it at first. But as soon as the action started, they were hooked! By the end, they were yelling and cheering and having a blast. It was a big hit and a lot of fun!
Apparently some people play this game as part of a Christmas tradition, but I think being mostly made of candy, it’s perfect for Halloween too.
Supplies you will need
Clear Packing Tape
Bits of wrapping paper or other scraps paper
Torn up grocery bags work too
Other fun prizes
A pair of dice
A pan to roll the dice into
Playing The Game
Have your group sit in a circle on the floor. There’s no minimum or maximum number of people, but I think more than a classroom sized group might be too big.
Figure out who in your group is going first. Hand them the ball.
Decide if you’re going to go clockwise or counter clockwise, and then hand a pair of dice to the appropriate person sitting next to the person who has the ball.
At “Ready Set Go,” the person with the ball begins trying to find an end of tape so they can begin unwrapping as many layers of the ball as they can, as quickly as they can. (This is not as easy as it sounds.) Anything that they manage to unwrap, they get to keep!
At the same time, the person with the dice rolls them again and again until they get doubles. Once the second person rolls doubles, the ball immediately passes to them to unwrap, and the dice pass on to the next person in the circle to roll.
The cycle repeats all around the circle, over and over, until the entire ball is unwrapped.
Of course, first you have to make your ball. (This does take time.)
The basic idea is that you use plastic wrap, packing tape, wrapping paper scraps, etc. and you literally wrap and tape candy and other prizes – layer by layer – into a ball.
Start out with something in the center, like a jingle bell or a rattle or something else noisy. The noise helps with the game. Or, do like one family did, and wrap a set of chattering teeth into the middle. The teeth were all wound up ready to go and scared the bejeezers out of the person who did the last unwrap.
Once you have your nucleus wrapped, add to it layer by layer with candy, socks and underwear, toys, money, weird stuff – whatever suits your fancy and that you think will be fun and appropriate for your players. Make sure every layer has something wrapped into it. You want each layer of tape or plastic wrap to b around 18 inches or so long. You also want your ball to be a pretty good size, and to tape it pretty well (without being completely evil) or the game will be over too quickly. Unless you plan to use this with little kids, then you’re going to want to ease up on the taping or it might be too hard and frustrating.
I would have liked to have made ours the size of a basket ball, which I read many others have done, but I ran out of tape and plastic wrap. So instead it was about the size of a small kick ball. But it was a lot of fun and with 16 or so kids, it took 15-20 minutes to play.
What to put inside?
I used Halloween candy, yo-yos, playing cards, pennies, Christmas socks, dollar store tie, a Christmas music box button from a greeting card (it kept going off inside the ball, so awesome!), jingle bells, bottle caps, milk rings and more in our tape ball. And when I ran out of plastic wrap, I grabbed grocery bags and whatever else I could find. It should be pretty hefty when you’re done.
Other tips? You could also add underwear, creepy things like a toy spider, “chance” cards that make a player perform a task when they unwrap them, extra dice for extra possible twists to the game, money, gift cards, fruit cake, white elephant gifts – you name it! Get creative, because this is a game that let’s you do just that!
I wish that I could show you what our Halloween ball looked like, but I didn’t have time before the kids started the game and none of my photos from the game turned out either!
However, here’s a quick shot I took of the making another ball while it was still small. It should give you a good idea of how the ball looks and how to start with making it.
So there you go. A fun, wholesome activity everyone in the family can enjoy. Even Grandpa.
So what about you? Have you ever played Tape Ball or Candy Ball? How did you play it? Any tips? Because I totally want to take this to another level the next time we do this. Share your stories and tips below!
UPDATE 2015: Aside from comments below, people have reached out on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere to share with me their tape ball game stories! It’s been a heck of a lot of fun to be able to be a vicarious part of their fun. Families have added money, small tech items, lottery tickets, mementos, video games and more to make their cling wrap balls even more unique. Crazy love it! Here’s a video from LC about her hit ball made from wrapping paper and foil. Check it out!
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