Got Chopsticks? Beat Cabin Fever with a Frugal and Fun Family Game Night!

Now that we're well into February, cabin fever is probably setting in! It never fails that once the holidays are behind us and the gloomy weather is setting in, kids and adults alike start to get bored and restless. Be careful, because this time of year might make you unnecessarily spend money to entertain yourselves. Movie rentals, game and music downloads, or even just shopping trips to avoid the boredom can quickly add up. But this winter, be smarter!

There are a variety of family fun games that can provide hours of entertainment on a dime. Got a pair of chopsticks handy? If so, there are tons of family friendly activities you can get started on! You don't need to be crafty, or purchase a slew of supplies to do these games. In fact, you can use items you already have around the house!

Take a peek below at all of the ways a pair of chopsticks can get you started on a frugal and fun family game night! For even more frugal fun, pair these games up with some inexpensive homemade pizza or nacho bar and really have a ball!


  • Several pairs of chopsticks (our cabinet is usually stocked full of these from when we order take out)
  • String
  • Small bowls
  • Mini marshmallows, peanuts, or marbles (basically just any collection of small objects will do)
  • Bouncy ball
  • Bottle

Game#1 - Chopstick Races


  • Each child will need a pair of chopsticks, and each child or team will need two bowls and a number of marbles, peanuts or marshmallows.
  • Place the bowls about 6 feet apart on chairs. Put the objects in one of the bowls. When you call "start", each child should pick up one of his objects, using only his chopsticks, and carry it to the empty bowl. He then returns for the next object, and so on until he has moved all his objects safely across and is the winner.
  • Be warned, hands must not be used at any time! If an object is dropped, it must be picked up and put back in the first bowl.
  • If you are playing with individual children, I suggest at least 10 objects to make the game last a decent time. For a team challenge, you might want only 3 or 4 objects, depending on the number of children in the team. It is up to you!

The giggles really get going with this game and kids will want to race over and over!

Game #2 - Pick up Sticks


  • The first player will take the bundle of 10 chopsticks and spread them on the ground. Sitting down in front of the group of sticks, throw the ball up. Quickly pick up one chopstick and then catch the ball, allowing the ball to bounce just once.
  • Continue the game until all the sticks are retrieved one at a time. If the person cannot pick up the chopstick or misses the ball, his/her turn is over. If the person successfully picks up the ten sticks he/she goes on to the next step.
  • The next step is picking up chopsticks by two's, then by three's, then by four's, five's, sixes, seven's, eight's nine's, and all ten!
  • The first player to complete all these steps wins the game!

This game is fun especially for older kids and adults who love a challenge!

Game #3 - Chopstick Down the Well


  • Give each player a single chopstick.
  • Tie a string around the end of the chopstick.
  • The object of this game is to get the chopstick into a glass bottle (or any other object with a small hole at the top) without using hands. Have the children lean over the bottle and try to lower the chopstick through the hole. The first one to get it in wins.
  • This game works as a relay as well. Choose teams. Time the rounds instead of stopping when the first player succeeds.
  • The team with the most chopsticks in the hole wins!

This game looks easy at first, but can get quite tricky and really entertain kids and adults for hours!

As you can see, it does not take much to create some really fun family games that can provide hours of boredom busting laughter. All you need is a few items from around the house and a few willing participants (which I don't think you will have a hard time finding!) to get started.

Beating cabin fever doesn't need to be pricey, just get a little creative!

This is a guest post by Ryan Preston from Ultimate Coupon Club. He is a current Ph.D student who realized graduate school tuition and expenses aren’t cheap and created the Ultimate Coupon Club  to help readers live better, spend less, and save money on everything they enjoy.

Image thanks to nhanusek on flickr.

Leave a Comment