Blizzard Search and Find Game
This fast game requires quick hands, a sharp eye, and a bit of luck! Find the item on your card quick, or you might get "snowed over" by the timer. This fun game is simple and inexpensive to make, and is a lot of fun for families, parties—or even for playing by yourself!
- Clear 16 oz. Plastic Jar with Lid: This holds the main part of the game.
- Small Trinkets: Raid your junk-drawer, the bottom of the toy-box, the craft box, and the old obsolete games you still have lying around to collect an assortment of small items to find. About 25-50 items is about right, depending on the size of the items. Some things that work well are paper clips, small pom-pom balls, small keys, tiny screws, dimes, marbles, game pieces, small erasers, metallic confetti shapes, beads, buttons, dice, small plastic animals, small seashells, rings, or whatever else you can find. Try to get an assortment of larger and smaller items, lighter and heavier items, and an assortment of different colored items to make things interesting.
- Small White or Clear Plastic Beads or Plastic Pellets: You will need approximately 1 to 1.5 cups, depending on the size and number of items you have to hide. These will make up the "snow" that you will have to search through to find the items. For the game pictured above, I used Colorfill vase filler that can be found in the floral arrangement section of many craft and floral supply shops (Colorfill consists of tiny clear plastic pellets and is about $3-$6 per bag—each bag will make 2-3 games). Alternately, you could use small plastic beads (4mm or smaller work best) that can be found at most craft stores, or plastic beanbag/stuffed animal pellets that can be found online or at some fabric and craft stores.
- Glue-gun: Used to secure the lid to the clear plastic jar.
- Cardstock, Heavy Paper, or Index Cards: Used to create the cards for this game. You will need about 3-6 sheets of cardstock, or 25-60 index cards, depending on how many items you put in the game.
- Timer: You can either borrow a timer from another game, or purchase an inexpensive "hourglass" style or electric timer online or at many specialty game shops. You can also simply use a watch or stopwatch. A timer that can time between 30 seconds and 1 minute works best.
- Gather your small trinkets together and write down a list of what you have to place in your game.
- Place the trinkets inside the clear plastic container.
- Fill the clear plastic container with your white or clear plastic beads or plastic pellets until it is approximately 2/3-3/4 of the way full.
- Screw the lid onto the jar temporarily and shake the jar to mix the contents together. After it is fairly well mixed, try to find each of the items on your list to see which ones are more difficult to find, and which are easier. You will probably find that some items tend to quickly pop up to the surface, while others tend to remain suspended in the middle of the mixture, making them difficult to find. On your list of items, note which ones are difficult to find, and which are easier to find. If there seems to be too many objects inside the jar, you may wish to remove a few.
- Once you are satisfied with the contents of the jar, unscrew the lid and place it next to the jar. Using the hot glue-gun, place a small line of glue between the two threads on the clear plastic jar. Quickly screw the lid tightly back in place while the glue is still hot. Allow the glue to cool, sealing the lid in place.
- Create a card for each of the items you have placed in the jar using the cardstock, heavy paper, or index cards. For cards like the one shown in the picture above, download and print this free template onto heavy paper or cardstock until you have as many cards as you need (there are 10 cards per page). Cut out the cards. On the blank side, either draw a picture of each item on the list, or simply write words describing each of the items on the cards. For a more professional look, you can also type your words using a word processing program, using a standard Avery business card template to arrange the words on the page, then print the words onto the back side of the card template before cutting them out.
- Caution: Be certain to always supervise young children when they are playing with this game. If the Blizzard jar is dropped or thrown against a hard object with enough force, there is a chance it may break open, leaving the small objects inside the Blizzard jar accessible to possibly be placed in the mouth, which could create a choking hazard.
There are two ways to play this game. Either as teams, or in round-robin fashion.
Object: Be the last player to survive the Blizzard by not being "snowed under" during any of the rounds.
- Deal the cards as equally as possible between all of the players.
- Decide who will start with the Blizzard jar and start the first round by starting the timer. The first player then flips over the top card in their pile and tries to find that object in the Blizzard jar. As soon as they find it, they call out "Blizzard", indicating their turn is over. The next player to the left then takes the jar, flips over their top card and tries to find their item in the "Blizzard" jar. Play continues in this fashion until the timer runs out. As soon as the timer runs out, the player who is searching for their object has been "snowed under" and is out of the game.
- The cards are then re-shuffled and dealt to the remaining players and the next round begins.
- Play continues until only one player is left. This player has survived the Blizzard and is the winner!
- Players cannot purposefully keep the jar from another player in order to keep them from finding their object. Any player who does this is disqualified and out of the game.
Object: Be the first team to score 7 points by surviving each round without being "snowed under" by the Blizzard.
- Divide the cards so that each team has approximately half the cards.
- To begin the first Blizzard round decide which team will start with the Blizzard jar, then start the timer (you may wish to specify one person as the official time keeper to keep track of the timer, or you can let players from each team keep track of the time when it is the other team's turn). The team with the Blizzard jar should then flip over the top card in their pile of cards and try to locate the object in the Blizzard jar. As soon as the team locates the object, they call out "Blizzard", indicating their turn is done. The second team then flips over their top card, takes the Blizzard jar, and tries to locate the object indicated on the card. Play continues in this fashion until the timer runs out. As soon as the timer runs out, the team holding the Blizzard jar has been "snowed under" by the Blizzard and loses that round. The winning team receives one point.
- If the timer runs out after a team has located their object and called "Blizzard", but the second team hasn't taken the Blizzard jar yet, the second team loses (as soon as one team calls out "Blizzard", they are no longer in danger of being "snowed under", and the other team is immediately in danger).
- Purposefully keeping the jar away from the other team is not allowed. Any player doing this loses a point for their team.
- After each round, re-shuffle the Blizzard cards and divide them between the two teams.
- Continue playing until one of the teams gains 7 points. This team has survived the Blizzard and won!
Alternate Ways to Play
- With younger children, an alternate way to play is to work together to see how many objects you can locate before the timer runs out. See if you can set a new record for finding the most objects, then try to beat your record again!
- Play solo by timing how long it takes you to find everything in the Blizzard jar. If it takes you over 4 minutes, you are "Frozen": Thaw out and try again. If it takes you 3-4 minutes, you are "Chilly": You might need to warm up some more. If it takes you 2-3 minutes, you are "Warm": Not bad, but move a little faster next time. If it takes you 1-2 minutes, you are "Hot": Now we're cooking!. If you can do it in less than 1 minute, you are "Blazing": You are too hot to touch!.
- Play "Blizzard Spy". One person chooses an object in the Blizzard jar that they can see, shakes or turns the jar so the object is hidden, then gives the Blizzard jar to another player along with the color of the object they chose. That player then tries to find an object of that color in the Blizzard jar. Once they have found an object of that color, they say what it is. If they have chosen the correct object, they score a point, if not, the next player then tries to find another object of that color. If none of the other players find the correct object, the player who chose the object scores a point. It is then the next player to the left's turn to choose an object. Play continues until one of the players scores 7 points and wins.
- To make the game more fair for players of different abilities, you may wish to seperate the cards into two stacks. One of the stacks will be an "Easy" stack with objects that are easier to find, while the other stack will be a "Challenging" stack with objects that are harder to find. Pass the "Easy" cards to younger children, and the "Challenging" cards to older children or adults.
- Add a couple "Double-Trouble" cards to the stack. These cards will have two objects that the player or team will have to find. When playing Round-Robin play, if a player successfully finds both objects before the timer runs out, they get to skip their turn the next time the Blizzard jar comes to them, and the Blizzard jar passes to the next player. If playing Team Play, if a team successfully finds both objects before the timer runs out, they get to double their points for that turn. If they are still holding the "Double-Trouble" card when time runs out, they lose half of their point total for the game (rounded up—if they had 4 points, they will have 2 left, if they had 5 points, they will have 3 left).
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