Meika W., who played this game at Camp Laurel in Maine, has fond memories of it. "I love Pass the Parcel. I remember having to do some hysterical things -- serenading my counselor, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a Porky Pig voice while standing on my head and chewing gum. I never won the candy bar, I don't think. But who cares?"
A cross between hot potato and musical chairs, Pass the Parcel is the quintessential icebreaker that gives everyone the opportunity to be silly. This homespun version is great for birthday parties, family reunions, or just some after-dinner fun.
To prepare, put the prize in a bag and write the following on the bag's front: "Share with everyone after you make someone in the circle laugh without talking or tickling."
Stuff the bag inside another and write a different silly task on the front of the second bag, such as "Sing 'Row Your Boat' while doing jumping jacks" or "Pretend to make and eat a 3-foot-tall peanut butter sandwich." (We have more suggestions here.)
Repeat this stuffing and labeling until you have at least two tasks per player, then pack the finished parcel in an unlabeled grocery bag.
To play, have everyone sit in a circle, then play music while the group passes the parcel.
Stop the music, and whoever is holding the parcel pulls off one bag, reads aloud the task that's revealed, then stands in the middle of the circle and performs that task.
Repeat this process until the final bag has been revealed.
After the final task is performed, everyone can share the prize from the parcel's center.