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The Big Lunch - an Eden Project

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If all goes according to plan, everyone will be tucking into their Big Lunch and chatting with their neighbours and new friends. There’s always time for a good game though, and there’ll be those round the table who have finished first.

There are lots of ideas below suitable for all skill levels and can be played indoors or outdoors, no matter the weather!

Conversation starters

  • Kingsmill’s Munchy Memory Game

    This game is a great way to get people of all ages enjoying some brain-boggling fun!

    What you’ll need

    • Tray
    • Tea towel
    • Pen and paper
    • Various food items

    How to play

    You’ll need to use a number of food items for this game. Anything from your fridge or kitchen cupboards will do – although the smaller the better. Place some of the items onto a tray and let the participants have a good look. After 30 seconds cover the tray with a tea towel and get the players to write down as many objects as they can remember. The person with the most objects on their list will be the winner.

    For more fun ideas to keep your Big Lunch guests entertained why not visit the Kingsmill website or Facebook page!

  • Perfect partners

    Make up a list of great food combinations – enough for all your Big Lunchers, such as rhubarb and custard, strawberries and cream, or rice and peas.

    Each half of the combination is attached to a Big Luncher’s back without them seeing it. Everyone then tries to find out what they are by asking other people questions. You could limit the number of questions people ask or use a time limit to encourage more mingling. Questions should only be answered with yes or no. For example: ‘Am I a vegetable?’ or ‘Am I sweet?’

    When someone has worked out what they are, they have to find their perfect partner and the first pair to find each other wins.

  • Community treasure hunt

    Create a list of questions and give the list to all the Big Lunchers. Everyone has to try and find someone who fits the bill for each question. You only need a couple to get the conversation started. Here are a few ideas:
    • Who has lived in the street the longest?
    • Who’s the oldest resident? Who’s the youngest?
    • Who was born the furthest away?
    The winner is whoever has answers for the most questions by the end of lunch.

  • Game of soup
    “My Granny made soup and she put in it…an onion, a can of coconut milk, a pig’s trotter, a litre of engine oil, a double whisky…” When it’s your turn just remember what everyone else’s Granny has put in, and add your own – the stranger the better.

Pen and paper games

  • Big Lunch consequences
    Write an answer, fold it over, pass it on, write the next, fold it over etc. You can either prepare these beforehand or simply have a caller.

    '.................. met ..................... at .................... for lunch. They had ..................... as a starter, then .................. for their main, with ................ on the side. They drank far too much ......................... and then had ...................... for pudding. After such a delicious meal they ......................................'.

    Or if your feeling creative and fancy having fun with some coloured pencils, download these special Big Lunch Consequences templates (PDF), courtesy of the Sensory Trust.

Playing with your food

  • The chocolate game
    • A bar of chocolate
    • 2 dice
    • Knife and fork
    • An outfit to dress up in – beachwear if it’s sunny or wet weather gear if its not

    Big Lunchers take it in turns to roll the dice. The first person to roll a double races to put on the outfit and tuck into that tasty chocolate using the knife and fork. The other players keep trying to roll a double. As soon as another player rolls a double it’s their turn to put on the outfit (as quick as the first player can take it off – no stalling!) and get eating.
  • Big Lunch Olympics
    This is our take on a pentathlon. Tot up participants’ scores across all events at the end, giving 10 points for first place, 8 for second, 6 for third, etc.
    • Food – tomatoes, peas, crackers, breadsticks
    • Utensils – straws, forks
    • A tape measure and a watch with a second hand
  • The flour cake game
    • Large bowl or pudding basin
    • Large flat plate, tray or baking sheet
    • Flour
    • A tempting sweet or a coin
    • Knife

    Place your tempting sweet or coin in the bottom of the big bowl than fill it with flour, packing it in tight all the way to the brim. Then turn this ‘flour cake’ onto your plate or tray. Players take it in turn to cut a slice off the side of the flour cake trying not to make the sweet fall. The player who cuts the last slice that makes the sweet fall has to fish it out of the flour with their teeth (no hands, knife, fork or spoon).

Money games

  • Shove ha’penny
    The granddaddy of coin games. Unless you have a shove ha’penny board, you’ll need to improvise. Shove ha’penny basically involves nudging coins from one side of the table towards the other, trying to get the coin to stop in the scoring zones.

    You’ll need a smooth table for this one and you’ll need to mark some scoring zones (use washable felt tip). The highest scoring zones should be nearest the far edge: no points if your coin falls off.

  • Pitch and toss
    Each player tosses a coin against a wall. Closest to the wall wins all the other coins facing the same way up as theirs (ie heads or tails). This one could get expensive, so maybe use 2ps only.
  • Penny football: The Big Lunch World Cup
    The World Cup on your table. All you need is a clear table, some coins and players representing different countries.

    Nudge one coin between the other two to score in your opponents’ goal. We've got some penny World Cup instructions (PDF) to start you off, but you'll probably find a few people who've played before and they might have their own rules.
  • Big Lunch horse racing

    Arrange a series of obstacles around the table (eg sauce bottles, mounds of used napkins, salt and pepper) and design a course through them.

    Players must get around the course in the fewest ‘shoves’ as possible, avoiding penalties:
    • Hitting an obstacle = a one-shove penalty
    • Coming off the table = a two-shove penalty

    If you’re really going for it, have a few rounds each and add some obstacles each round. After a few rounds when everyone’s used to the course, you could have a time trial – eg a 5-second penalty for hitting obstacles and 10 seconds for coming off.

    Oh, and you’ll need names for your horses.

  • Big Lunch golf course

    Ever dreamt of designing your own Gleneagles? If you have a table cloth you don’t mind drawing on, or a paper one, you can create a course around your Big Lunch table. Drawing round the bottom of a wine glass makes a good size ‘hole’ to aim for.

    Tee off from the edge, shove ha’penny style, and shove up the fairway until the coin is completely inside the hole. Avoid the traps along the way – steer clear of the sticky juice lake, take a drop out of the breadcrumbs. This is great played on a dirty table, so long as there are clear fairways. Don’t be too quick to clear up after lunch.




We are always looking for more ideas for these pages. If you’ve got any good table game ideas yourself, stories of your own Big lunch activities or even photos let us know on Facebook




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