Thursday, July 02, 2009

Party Planner: Pictures Included

One big difference between organizing parties in China and in America is the amount of time and types of activities one should plan. In America, you plan the menu of a dinner party and then let the guests drink wine and entertain themselves with conversations. In China parties and outings are filled with planned activities and they last for HOURS! I have been invited on 6 hour outings where you eat a meal, then play a couple of hours of Mahjong and then go on a long walk in the nearby park. I have been on 6 hour dinner parties where you first eat a banquet and then do a fun activity like karaoke.

So planning an appreciation party for our students who volunteered in the English resource center was a big challenge coz they are expecting to spend several hours playing games and eating. It is like planning a Chucky Cheese outing or a skating rink birthday party. Last semester we played white elephant, but it didn't last very long. That party was too short.

This semester because it is warm we planned an outdoor party and ate watermelon and cake at the back gate picnic tables. But what game? What form of entertainment?

We sent the students on a 40 minute photo scavenger hunt. It took the pressure off of us of having to entertain them for hours.

The students LOVED it!

Each team had a list that asked them to take pictures of

5 people jumping (the students thought this was SUPER fun trying to capture 10 feet off the ground)
5 shirtless boys (they tried to get the basketball players, but no one was willing to take off their shirts)
A boy with two earrings (because one earring was too small, they switched the small one with a big girly one)
2 people kissing (impossible)
A picture of chairman Mao
3 or more people riding a bike (the students staged this)
A child eating ice cream (The students made one little boy cry who didn't want his picture taken, but then found one girl who was very cooperative. The teams found the same girl. One team's picture had a non-eaten ice cream. The other team had a half-eaten ice cream.)
20 victory signs (Taught the students how to organize 20 people or 10 people if they were smart)
An old couple holding hands (This was challenging and taught the students persuasive skills. The older couple was extremely shy and said, “We have never done this before.”)
And a bunch more….

This was a super fun game for the students creating an activity that they can tell stories about to their roommates and classmates. It is hard living on a little campus where everyone knows everyone, where everyone is doing the same thing, where gossip has been repeated a million times. Stories become few.

Try a scavenger hunt if you are looking for a fun activity to share with your students.
Try a scavenger hunt if you just want an hour of chill time while waiting for your students to come back.
Try a scavenger hunt if you are trying to plan a Chinese party. Our party lasted 2 hours, a record for us.

If you want to see some pictures from one of the two teams, email me. In each photo is one of our students. One of the rules was to be in the picture with the found item.

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