10. Chinese facial expressions

Equipment: none

This is my favourite game. I have frequently been in hysterics playing this game. I think we have played it 20 times or more. Basically it is adapted from Chinese whispers, but initial person does a series of actions and if they wish, noises, sounds and speech to the first player. The actions should not be longer than about 30seconds in total, and preferably shorter. The person who generates the initial action performs it standing up in front of the second player. Whilst everyone is watching. This game can also be played sitting down, in fact the most hilarious time I ever played it was sitting at a cafe in Thailand with my kids. I just simply could not stop laughing. Everytime my daughter did the action again, which in this case was a variant on ‘knock knock open the door’ but barely recognizable as such I dissolved into hysterics. You know when you laugh so much it hurts?

An example of a suitable set of actions might be pointing at the sky looking terrified then shrugging whilst slurring ‘What you gonna do about it, huh huh?’. Or saying ‘beep beep nan na  na  nan’  whilst looking at a watch then twirling in a dancing motion. Anything goes in Chinese facial expressions bar bad language and actual physical contact with another player. The best idea is to get the adults to start so children can see what required of them. Anyway, once the initial player has done their made-up action/sounds to the second player, the second player performs it as they remember it to the third player and so on. We normally let the action travel round the room two or three times then finish by getting the initial player to do the final version, followed by the initial version-as far as they remember it, but the comparative element is only really suitable for adults and older children.

Of course everyone in the room gets to generate a set of actions/sounds in turn. Although Chinese facial expressions is a fun game, it is only fun if people are enjoying it. If anyone gets upset or narky for any reason, terminate the game-in a nice way. But that has never happened ever-even with the moody teenage years nearly upon us. I am proud to say we invented this game ourselves-at least we adapted it from Chinese Whispers. And it is a whole lot more fun than Chinese whispers- a vastly improved version. There is no winner in this game. Everyone is a winner.