‘Tis the season for family holiday parties and (socially distanced) gatherings. As you and the kiddos mix and mingle with your COVID bubble, add some extra jingle, too, with the saran wrap ball game.
This fun project is a jolly way to shake up some of your traditions. When the merry crew of Metro Parent busted out the saran wrap ball game at a company holiday party, suffice to say, we had a ball (sorry, couldn’t resist!). Think of it as the ultimate stocking stuffer, only everyone gets in on the competitive fun and action.
Check out our video above, where Metro Parent chief operations operator Julia Elliott walks you through the finer points of weaving holiday goodies into layers of clingy plastic wrap. This is a great way to get your little helper elves involved and excited before those festive events, too.
Then, browse through our how-to below for some tips on what to include in your own saran wrap ball game, advice on how to get it all to stick together — and, of course, how to play the actual game.
Don’t forget: The saran wrap ball game is easy to adapt to any family or kids party. Simply stuff it with other cheap and fun goodies, whether they’re centered on a theme or a kid’s favorite candies and snacks.
Got some great ideas or pointers? Let us know in the comments!
Goodies to wrap inside
Here are a few of the items Metro Parent tucked inside our saran wrap ball.
- Big Lindt Lindor ball filled with smaller milk chocolates.
- Dollar bills (even a few bucks is fun, or go for broke with a $20)
- Festive oven mitt
- Holiday socks
- A saucy kitchen towel
- A bag of Hershey’s Kisses
- A bag of Santa Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Hanukkah coins
- Individual wrapped Rice Krispies Treats
- Super Dooper Reindeer Pooper treat/toy
- A bag of gummy treats (we picked Champagne Dreams, which are non-alcoholic)
- Ghirardelli chocolate squares
- Lots of small candy canes
- A sturdy ornament or two (we went with a nutcracker)
- Stuff that jingles (necklaces, more ornaments, etc.).
- Nutella & Go! self-serve containers
- Eclipse Candy Cane Peppermint gum
- Snyder’s Pretzels
- Gift cards (our choices here were Starbucks and Taco Bell)
- Flashing holiday light necklaces
Pro tip: Stumped on what to buy or on a tighter budget? Hit up your local dollar store for a variety of fun trinkets — holiday themed and otherwise.
The saran wrap
This is no time to be stingy. We got two boxes, to be safe, as we were making two saran wrap ball games. Each box had 300 feet of saran wrap. We didn’t quite go through one on the first ball — ditto the second.
We recommend having one box per ball, though you’ll likely have plenty left for the kitchen afterwards. Better safe than sorry, though.
Tips for creating the ball
Note: With a two-person team, this ball took us about 21 minutes to assemble.
- Start with the big Lindt Lindor ball as your base. We tucked in a $20 bill with it too — to the ultimate victor goes the spoils, after all! (Or, as our crafty editor-in-chief says, “Put something in there that’s sort of awesome.”) Around this core, create a foundation of saran wrap. Wrap it around the ball. Scrunch it together, wadding it in different sections.
- Along those lines, think backwards. Put your higher-ticket, more desirable items closer to the center. And save the light-up necklaces for the very end (more on that below).
- As you build each layer, rip off a good hunk of saran wrap. Smack (gently) the next item against the circular foundation, and start rolling the saran wrap around the item to secure it to the ball. We started with a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, which nicely nestled around the Lindt.
- Get a helper! We found that it was a little trickier to hold some of the more awkward pieces in place without an assistant. (Hint: Recruit the kids, or in our case, senior editor Stacey Winconek.)
- Alternate and mix it up. A bag of candy here, a towel there. Pepper in the smaller items as you go, too — the cash, the little candy canes, etc.
- Some of the softer stuff, like socks, towels and oven mitts, goes a long way in rounding out the edges — especially if you add something like the crowd-pleasing chocolate-pooping reindeer, which comes in a rigid plastic box.
- Another trick to keeping that ball shape: A few extra swipes of saran wrap. It’s a little sticky and pretty malleable. It’s almost like tape. Use it to your advantage.
- Tug as you go! Make that saran wrap taut. If it’s too loosey-goosey, it might make the game too easy. Especially if you’ve got competitive tweens and teens, you want to make it a challenge.
- Make it a mix of holidays, too. We tossed in plenty of Christmas stuff, but also popped in some Hanukkah coins and general winter-themed items. “This is a fun ball that has no specific holiday affiliation,” as Elliott puts it.
- Toss in noisy stuff — like those jingle bell items — to keep it merry.
- Freeform it. Really, there are no hard rules. “It doesn’t have to be pretty,” Elliott reminds families. Welcome and embrace weird shapes.
- Save the necklace lights for the end. By that point, the ball’s a nice girthy globe, providing something to wrap the strands around. Just be mindful to leave the light switch accessible, so you can turn it on when it’s go time!
Playing the game
The only other items you’ll need are a pair of dice — and, if you’d like, to keep them contained, a plastic dish to toss them in (they definitely can go flying).
Everyone gathers around a table. Pick someone to start. When you say “go,” they start tearing off the layers of saran wrap as quick as they can — while the person to the right of them keeps rolling the dice, trying to get doubles of any kind (snake eyes, a pair of deuces, etc.).
As soon as he or she rolls doubles, the current “unwrapper” must relinquish the ball to the dice tosser — who now passes on the dice to the person to the right of him or her. Repeat.
Any goodies that fall out along the way are kept by the person who unwrapped them.
Keep going until someone gets to the grand prize at the center!
This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly.