Choosing an Activity or Game
Though there is no requirement to have any games or other entertainment at a shower, if you decide to play, the games or activities you choose should be carefully selected. Come up with a game plan addressing the following points:
Who is attending? The activity you choose for a couples’ cocktail party shower may not work well at a high tea shower with Grandmother and Auntie Bea. Consider the age, gender, and skill levels of your guests.
When will you play the game? If you want to use a game to get acquainted, start as the guests arrive. Once everyone (or most everyone) is there, take a moment, preferably right after the introduction and welcome, to explain the rules of the game, the prizes, and when the winner will be announced. Other games may work best when sandwiched between the food and the presents. Games should last no more than 15 to 30 minutes.
When will the entertainment or activity begin? If you have scheduled spa treatments, you may need to get guests started as they arrive to accommodate everyone. Some activities, like manicures and pedicures, may take place for the duration of the shower. Others, like bowling or a speaker presentation, should be scheduled after the food is served. Allow at least 30 minutes to one hour for an activity.
There are some other important factors to consider when choosing a game or activity. It should be well organized and well prepared for—have a trial run if necessary. It should create anticipation, not anxiety, and should be voluntary, not mandatory. It should have some rules, but not too many, and should be easy and fun, not a health or safety risk.
There is no hard and fast rule that you must have an activity or game at your shower. If you want to add an element of fun, but don’t think your crowd will like a game, give a door prize for the person who came the farthest or the person who finds the hidden baby bottle first.
Activity 1: Setting Up Baby-Massage Lessons
The practice of baby massage is fun and beneficial for both moms and babies. You can schedule an instructor to give baby-massage lessons or use an instructional video and then practice the techniques together. It is a great activity when guests are from a play group or new mothers group, especially if babies will be invited.
To incorporate baby massage as an activity at your shower, you must consider several logistical factors. The first is environment—you will need clear, clean floor space—enough to accommodate mothers and babies. Mothers will sit on the floor with baby on a mat or blanket between their outstretched legs. If you have an instructor, she will need room to maneuver around.
Given the calming nature of this activity, it is also recommended that the space be away from heavy traffic and screaming siblings. You will need equipment—a television, DVD player, boom box, iPod with speakers, or the like. Many community centers have a room available that would be a perfect venue for this activity.
Finally, remember to let all your guests know what you’re planning and suggest they come comfortably dressed; perhaps each one can bring her own mat or blanket.
Activity 2: Feeding Baby
Feeding baby is the number-one concern of new mommies and daddies the world over. This activity is a fun way to address this issue head on. There are several ways to approach setting up this activity.
The first is to hire a professional chef to demonstrate some cooking techniques and give easy recipes for harried parents. Many cooking stores, such as Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table have cooking facilities and offer classes. Some local cooking schools may also offer instruction.
While waiting for the class, have guests prepare their own appetizers, such as sushi-style veggie rolls made with sandwich bread, or create their own open-funny-face egg salad sandwiches—a pepper smile, olive eyes, a pickle nose, and sprouts hair. Give the “Egg on Your Face” award to the most creative sandwich maker.
Another approach is to ask your guests to bring a baby- or toddler-friendly recipe and tips. Include several note cards in the invitation. After guests have arrived and had a chance to eat and mingle, have them share their ideas, then gather the recipes and tips in a decorated file box for Mommy to keep. Consider putting kid-friendly food on the shower menu—mac and cheese, peanut butter and gourmet toppings, and hot dog kebabs.