Recently, my family was planning on hosting my partner’s mom and dad for dinner. Though our families get along great, we knew that dinner and chit-chat wouldn’t fill the 3-4 hours that they would spend together. So we knew we would have to come up with a couple activities to help pass the time (and make it enjoyable for everyone).
We thought about watching a movie but knew that wouldn’t work; everyone had different tastes. We brainstormed a few popular board games, but that would exclude my grandma as she doesn’t speak or read English.
Scoop the Money Challenge
One language my mom and grandma definitely understand is money.
We remembered we recently came across several videos on Instagram and Tik Tok of Asian families playing a game that blindfolded the player as they attempted to scoop up money with a spatula. Also referred to as the #sandokchallenge (or sandok pera) and the “Christmas spatula” game, it seemed to be a big hit during the Christmas holiday with a lot of videos popping up around the 2021 holidays.
We were a little apprehensive whether our family would enjoy the game or not, but after my mom’s first attempt, we knew this would be a fun game we could easily play several rounds.
Scoop the Money Game Rules
We didn’t look up any rules of the game when we proposed the game; thinking it was an easy enough concept. Place a bunch of bills on a table, hand the blindfolded player a spatula and plate and give them 30 seconds to buff up their retirement account. However as we played the game, we realized there needed to be some game rules so that everyone had the same chances. Here’s five rules we came up with:
- Time limit: We found that 30 seconds was the right amount of time for the player to get some money but also a short enough duration that puts pressure on them to act quickly.
- Plate: The plate must be held up at chest level. This not only forces the player to focus on balancing the plate but also doesn’t allow for them to help scoop up money using the plate.
- Keep score: We kept score of how much each player scooped up” every round. That way we could put the money that was won back into the pile so everyone had the same chance.
- Money: We thought it was fun to put a handful of different denominations into the pile, not just single one dollar bills. After some thought, we thought a good mix would be 100 one-dollar bills, 4 tens, 2 twenties, and 1 fifty-dollar bill for a total of $250.
- Scramble: After the player puts on the blindfold, scramble up the money in front of them so that it’s completely random
- Everyone antes: This is optional, but we thought that for future games each player that plays contributes $25 to the pot (bringing their contributions in singles).
- Add twists: Some twists that could make the game even more interesting would be adding custom stickers to some dollar bills that say things like
- Bankrupt – where they lose all the money they picked up.
- +10 seconds – the user gets an additional 10 seconds to pick up more money that round.
- Monopoly money – adding some fake money (that counts for nothing) gives the pile much more variety
You wouldn’t want to add too many of these as you want them to only appear once every while e.g. not every round.
Is the spatula money game worth the… money?
After everyone had two turns playing (there were seven of us), we doled out the the winnings to our family members according to the scorecard. So not only was the game fun, but profitable for those that played it. The game definitely costs more than a $25 board game to play. For future games, we’ll ask everyone to contribute (see rule #5 above).
But what was worth more than the money won during the challenge was how much our families talked about the game the next couple days (including laughing at the videos we took). All in all, we’re so satisfied with how the #moneyscooping game turned out. There was so much genuine laughing, joy, and excitement and we’ll be playing it again during future holidays and gatherings. Not to be corny, but that’s priceless.
If you won, but don’t want to take the money from grandma social security, you can take your pile of winnings and make a dollar bill bouquet you can gift back to nana. She’ll be so happy she won’t have to eat cat food next month.