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Play a Gift Stacking Game


Updated March 12, 2013

Stack of gifts
Plush Studios
Ready, set, stack! Which party guest has the best moves? Try two versions of a classic gift stacking game. This game is fun for mixed-age groups, can be played indoors or out, and works for birthday parties and holiday parties—any event where you have wrapped gifts. Which stacking game is your favorite?
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Gather a stack of wrapped gifts of various sizes and shapes (try to have pairs of similar boxes). The more gifts, the better. To make the game easier, use empty boxes. Boxes that really have presents inside will make the game a little more difficult. Make sure those presents aren't fragile, though!
  2. Divide the gifts into two groups, with similar items in each group (one round box, two rectangular boxes, three small boxes, and so on). Start with five or six boxes. You can add more as the game progresses to make it more challenging.
  3. Select the first two players and have them sit back to back. They will be working as a team. They should each have a group of gifts in front of them.
  4. Then, let the stacking game begin! In front of only one of the two seated players, have a third player create a stacked arrangement with the gifts: standing them on end, piling them on top of each other. Each gift must touch at least one other gift, and no other props are allowed.
  5. Now, the player who can see the stacked pile of gifts must describe it to the other player so he can recreate it, without being able to see it for himself. Use a stopwatch or timer to track how long it takes.
  6. Once this team has successfully recreated the stack of gifts, move on to a new team. Whichever team can complete the task the fastest is the winner. (Alternatively, you can give each team a time limit of 3 to 5 minutes and see how many stacks they can create and recreate in that time.)


  1. Don't have enough gifts, or enough to make two matching sets? Have the first stacker make her arrangement of gifts, then take a photo with a digital camera. Then disassemble the stack, and reuse the same gift boxes when the second stacker takes over.
  2. Stacking Game Variation: Gift Relay. Divide group of players into two teams. For each team, put a stack of three gifts on a table at one end of the playing area; have a second table at the opposite end of the room. Have half the team stand behind the tables with the gifts and half behind the empty tables. Players must race back and forth across the room with their stack of gifts until each member of the team has carried the stack. Anyone who drops a gift must go back to her original starting point and begin again.
  3. To make the relay stacking game more challenging, add more gifts to the stack, require players to carry their stack with only one hand, or add obstacles to the playing area (such as cones to weave around, hula hoops to step in, and so on).

What You Need

  • 10 or more wrapped gift boxes of varying shapes and sizes
  • Stopwatch or watch with second hand
  • Digital camera (optional)
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