‘What’s In The Bowl?’ Never Fails to Capture a Kid’s Attention

So simple, yet so entertaining.

by Dave Baldwin

‘What’s In The Bowl?’ is a kid’s version of the classic baby shower game in which blindfolded guests fish for tiny safety pins in a bowl full of uncooked rice. Obviously, since you don’t want kids collecting dangerous needles and/or drinking Mimosas before noon, the bowl is filled with other small (but safe) objects. The concept, however, remains the same. It’s one of the best activities for kids that can be tweaked depending on the age of the child playing, as it’s simple to adjust the difficulty level by using less rice or bigger objects.

Prep Time: 1 minute

Entertainment Time: 10-20 minutesEnergy Expended by Child: Minimal

What You Need:

  • A big mixing bowl.
  • A bag (or two) of uncooked rice.
  • A blindfold.
  • A collection of small objects from around the house: coins, pieces of crayon, marbles, goldfish crackers, a pen lid, the cap to the toothpaste, whatever you got. Just remember to keep an eye on all of these things when you’re done, as some may still be a safety hazard for kids.
  • Prizes for the winners, anything from a cheese stick to one of their stuffed animals.
  • A timer (optional).

How to Play:

First, pour the bag of rice into the bowl. Then mix in the objects, making sure none are exposed. If you’re playing with young kids, they may enjoy this part as well, as it’s a little like fake cooking.

From there, blindfold the first child and submerge their hand in the bowl. Depending on how much time you’re trying to kill, you can either set them loose to find every object in the bowl (either with or without a running stopwatch) or set a countdown timer and see how many they can collect before the buzzer sounds. How you play depends on the age, competitiveness, and number of players, really ⏤ just be sure to outline the rules before you start. If you don’t show the kids which objects go into the bowl, you can also turn it into a guessing game as they pull each from the rice. In that version, you only score points for correct guesses.

After the first player is finished, make a note of how many objects they found or guessed on a scorecard. In fact, best to make a note of how many objects are in the bowl before you even start, so you don’t spend 10 minutes searching for a phantom marble that was never there to begin with. From there, remix the objects in the rice, reset the timer/stopwatch, and send the next child off on the search-and-rescue mission. Be sure to cheer wildly every time they find an object or guess correctly ⏤ it builds excitement. When the entire group has had a turn, tally up the winners and hand out prizes in a ceremony befitting the occasion. It’s easy to play again and mixing in new objects can make it more interesting the second time around.

Wrap Up:

This game works for adults because rice and small safety pins feel remarkably similar and are difficult to differentiate. It works for kids because it’s just fun sticking your hand in a bowl of rice and hunting for hidden treasure. In fact, premise the game with a treasure hunting adventure story and you’ve added another layer of interest. Admittedly, I’ve never attended a baby shower and can’t vouch for how uproariously entertaining the game can be, but if the kid’s reaction is any indication, I have an idea. They have a blast. Just remember, don’t eat the rice afterward. Kid hands are gross.