What’s Pin the Tail on the Donkey?

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Pinning the donkey’s tail is a game played at children’s parties where blindfolded players try to place a tail on a donkey picture. The winner receives a prize. To play, a donkey picture, tails labeled with participants’ names, a bandage, and a bulletin board are needed. Players take turns, and the winner is the one who places the tail closest to the correct position. Safety precautions should be taken, and substitutions can be made for some items.

Pinning the donkey’s tail is a game that involves movement, sense of space and coordination and is mainly used at children’s parties. When played at parties, it is often used between a number of games, such as musical chairs and blind man’s buff, which provide an opportunity for the host family to give small gifts to guests. The object of the game is to place the donkey’s tail as close as possible to where it should actually be. Typically, the winner of a round will receive a small prize or token.

Preparation for Pinning the Donkey’s Tail

To prepare for the game of putting a tail on a donkey, you need a large picture of a donkey without a tail and separate cutouts of the tail that belongs to the donkey, each labeled with a participant’s name or initials. You will also need a bandage. Commercial sets are available. You also need a bulletin board at least as large as the picture to attach it to and a thumbtack for each tail. Each tail has its own pin or tack to push through it, right to wrong, and they’re carefully arranged. Note that you can make substitutions for any of these items:
• you can use a photo of an animal other than a donkey
• you can carefully stick the picture to a wall rather than using a bulletin board;
• especially if young children are playing, you may want to use a piece of double sided tape rather than something sharp to secure each tail.

Choose a clear and safe area where players will wait their turn and through which the player with the tail will move towards the picture to try to place his tail in its place. Since players can go in completely the wrong directions, it’s important that a fairly large area is safe for them to walk around blindfolded. Tape the picture to a wall or pin it to the bulletin board and lean the bulletin board against a wall, making sure it is securely fastened.

Playing Pin the Donkey’s Tail

One at a time, blindfold the children, hand them the tails you’ve labeled for them, and slowly turn them back to their starting point. Point them accurately at the wall where the donkey picture is and step back. All other players should keep away from the blindfolded child as he moves to a vertical surface and attacks his tail.

The child should walk with an outstretched arm and put the tail down as soon as it touches the wall, with the help of an adult if necessary. For example, probing to identify the outline of the image is not allowed. Help the child remove the blindfold and join in the laughter at the tail placement before blindfolding the next child. Repeat the process until all children have had a turn. Then gather everyone to examine the picture and identify the winner, the player who made the best attempt to pin the donkey’s tail in the correct position.

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