Alternative Entertainment 101

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Alternative Entertainment 101

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Stuck in an entertainment rut? Maybe all you need is to throw a few alternative ideas around and see what brainstorms result. Here are some suggestions that can add interesting variety to your time with friends.

Unusual activities

These can help break the boredom. Anyone for that classic Chinese game of Mah-Jongg? How about an Italian sing-along followed by hillbilly clogging and Indian curry dishes? Whether you decide to do a fondue party or try a tiddlywinks tournament, be sure to plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and prepare to laugh!

• Build and decorate little pine cars for a derby. (Thanks to the Columbus, Ohio, UCG congregation for this idea.)

• Have a most unusual invention contest—eyeglasses with windshield wipers, cell phones with stun settings (first seen in the cartoon "Crow's Encounters"), etc.

• Create a band with unusual instruments like kazoos, spoons, "kettle" drums, combs, etc.

• Pumped up karaoke: Write a song as a group. Then perform it in various styles—reggae, blues, operatic, etc.

• Coffee house: Write limericks and/or haiku and have a poetry reading accompanied with special coffees Starbucks would drool over.

• Work as a team to write and illustrate a children's book.

• Have a cartoon-drawing contest. If someone laughs, you win!

• Write and create props for a skit for the next variety show.

• Or have a skit showdown.

• Put on your own variety show.

• Fair warning: Create booths that test people's skills at throwing rings around rubber duckies' necks and suchlike things.

• Have a novelty Olympics with crazy races that are fun to do and funny to watch.

• Shakespeare Party: read a scene from one of the Bard's biggest hits, like Hamlet or A Midsummer Night's Dream. Thankfully W.S. can't really roll over in his grave . . .

Nature beckons

Get outside and get your endorphins moving!

• Fly a kite. (But not in several cities in Asia where kite flying is so competitive and dangerous they had to ban it! No need for razor wire or sharp, jagged glass attached to the string!)

• Shoot some hoops (aka basketball) or roll some hoops with a stick like they did in the 1800s.

• Play Frisbee golf, volleyball, softball or tennis.

• Go hiking, running, cycling, swimming, diving, canoeing, kayaking, trampolining, hang gliding and rock climbing. (Not all the same day—it's not the iron man decathlon!)

• Go fishing, bird watching or photographing bits of nature.


• Have everyone bring a favorite board game and write the game names on slips of paper to draw out of a hat.Play the first one you draw.

• Have each person make a new rule about one of the spaces in Monopoly, and see how they alter the game.

• Have a hearts, spoons, crazy eights, poker or cribbage tournament.

• Play Pictionary on a blackboard or large newsprint.

• Have a scavenger hunt.

• How long has it been since you played freeze tag or Red Rover? (Not long enough? Oh, well . . .)


It's not only more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35 ), it can be more fun!

• Entertain others with a variety show and a bake auction fund-raiser! (Thanks to Ambassador Bible Center in Cincinnati , Ohio , for this terrific idea.)

• Help at a Ronald McDonald House that serves families with a family member in the hospital.

• Visit someone you know in the hospital.

• Visit someone you don't know in a hospital or nursing home (check with the management about who would appreciate visitors).

• Set up a food drive and/or help at a food bank.

• Fast to raise funds for the hungry.

• Kiddie litter: Clean up a children's playground, neighborhood, park or waterway.

• Paint a widow's house (if it needs it and she doesn't mind!).

• Build a house! (Help with Habitat for Humanity or a similar group.)

Friends, family, food, fiesta

These all can lead to fun!

• Have an ice cream social. Maybe make your own ice cream, come up with some interesting toppings and make up names for your final concoctions. I know you can do better than these: A flying bananarama, the final chocolatier or berry interesting.

• Try a progressive dinner. That's where you have appetizers at one place, move to another for a first course of soup or salad, move on for the main dish and finish at yet another place with dessert. (Don't forget to help clean up or you may not be invited back.)

• Put on a medieval feast, complete with costumes, lords, ladies, jesters and food you can eat with your hands. (Thanks to the young people in the United Church of God in Tacoma and Seattle , Washington , for this idea.)

• Fix foods that start with F.

• Have a "you can even eat the dishes" evening (everything from tacos to ice cream cones).

• Create a challenge cook off ("bet you can't make . . .").

• Organize an "eat with chopsticks or go hungry" meal.

• Do a dessert contest.

• Have a chili cook off.

• Have a wiener roast and sit around the campfire sharing stories and jokes and what you like best about each other...


Sometimes you need ideas for fun but inspiring things to do after church.

• Bible charades may be tried and true, but some skits are so funny you'll laugh till you're blue.

• Bible baseball tests our knowledge of biblical facts.

Maybe write some new questions to ask the other team after snacks.

• Have a hymn fest sing-along.

• Have a "topics" session where you take turns answering interesting questions about living the Christian life.

• Be crafty: Help the children at church have fun doing a craft for their mothers or fathers.

• Face the music: Put together a choral group to perform at church. VT