Use one or more of these hilarious candy cane game ideas for a candy cane Olympics with family and friends! Ten easy games that anyone can play make these candy cane games fun for any holiday celebration!
This year it feels like I’ve been sharing a ton of things that work if you’re looking for virtual Christmas games (like this fun Christmas trivia game) or if you want something that works for people spaced around a room (like Christmas music bingo). But I feel like I’ve been missing the heart of my typical Christmas party games and where I started – hilariously unique games that will have everyone laughing.
So this year I decided to have my family come over for a little candy cane Olympics. Two teams, ten candy came games, points awarded for the team that wins each game. Winning team takes home the big prize!
We had a few little elf size helpers on both teams, so it was a little tricky but still so much fun!
Candy Cane Olympics
I’ve put together everything you need to have your own candy cane Olympics at home! This would be great for families, kid parties, and honestly even a spaced out event if you just kept individual families on teams together and kept them spaced out!
Okay so real quick before we get into the actual games, here’s a quick run down of how we set up our candy cane games!
Choose the games you want to play – one of them, three of them, even all of them!
Print out a scorecard (get the free download at the bottom of this post). It has all of the games on it but you can just use the ones that you’re personally using.
Get together all of the supplies you need for the games you’ll be playing. I like to divide them into spots so that they’re all ready to go for each game!
Break your group into two teams if you have twelve people or less. If you have more than that, break into more teams. You want to have six people or less per team so that people really get to participate.
If you have more than two teams, you can give out multiple points for games (e.g., 1st team gets 3 points, 2nd team gets 1 point, 3 team gets 0 points), kind of like I do with these minute to win it games. Otherwise the winning team for each game gets one point.
Write team names on the scorecard along the side and you’re ready to play!
If you have two teams, I recommend choosing an odd number of games instead of playing all ten. That way there’s no chance you can end up in a tie at the end!
Candy Cane Game Video
I’ve included instructions (and supplies) for each of the ten candy cane game ideas below, but it can be a bit tricky to understand just from writing. I recommend watching the video below to see how they actually work – the video is super helpful!
1 – Candy Cane 4×1 Relay
Okay so the basic idea of this game is a team relay where you’ll be walking and passing candy canes (like a relay baton) to see who can finish first.
Players: Each team needs 3 or 4 players
- One candy cane per teammate + one extra candy cane
- Tape (to mark the starting/finish line)
How to Play:
Have half of each team line up on one side of your space (we did this outside, but you could do it inside in a large space as well) behind a taped starting line. Have the other half line up on the other side of the room.
Give each player a candy cane and give the first person (Player 1) on each team a second candy cane. That person should hook the candy cane on the bottom of the candy cane they’re already holding.
When you say go, the first person should walk across the room to their teammates on the other side. When they get there, they need to transfer the hooked candy cane from their candy cane to the other person’s candy cane, without touching it with their other hand.
That person then go to the other side again, transfers their candy cane to the next person. Continue until all teammates have completed their legs. Teams with four people will have each person walk one leg of the relay, teams with three people will have player 1 walk two (they’ll walk the final leg).
Once they’ve crossed the finish line of the final leg of the relay, they have to do one more transfer to the teammate standing there to complete the relay. First team to complete the final transfer and hold up the hooked candy cane wins.
2 – Caneball Derby
If you’ve ever done a homerun derby, this is kind of like that – baseball but with candy canes!
Players: 1 player per team (or if you have a small group, everyone could be given a chance to bat for their team)
- One candy cane stick (get a few extras in case one breaks)
- Regular size or jumbo marshmallows
How to Play:
Give each player three marshmallows and a candy cane stick (or people can share one).
Players one at a time get three chances to toss up the marshmallow and hit it with their candy cane stick. Keep track of where any marshmallow they hit lands.
Rotate to the next player and let them hit their marshmallows. Keep going until everyone has had a chance to hit.
The longest hit marshmallow wins a point for their team!
3 – Candy cane Stringing
This game sounds easy but definitely takes a little finesse. The basic idea is players have to transfer a candy cane to each other hanging on a string.
Players: Each team needs 2 players – I highly recommend two players that are about the same height (so not a kid and adult)
- One candy cane per teammate (have some extras on hand in case it breaks)
- One 14″ string/cord per team
How to Play:
Give each team a string and a candy cane. The two players on the team should take opposite ends of the string and walk to opposite sides of the space holding their end of the string.
When you say go, the person with the candy cane should hook the candy cane onto the string then try to transfer the candy cane to their teammate, hanging on the string. If the candy cane drops, they have to pick it up and start that portion of the process back (so if you’re on the back half, you can just start with the second half).
Sounds easy right? Here’s the tough part – no moving anything other than your arm. So you can’t bend down, you can’t go up on your tiptoes, can’t crouch. No moving, nothing. Just move your arm up and down.
This is why it’s really important to try and get two teammates who are close in height or it’s really tough to get the candy cane across.
First team to get their candy cane to their teammate and back wins.
Make this game easier for kids with shorter arms by removing the no moving rule. They’ll still likely have to be patient to keep the candy cane on the string, but it does make it easier.
4 – Quadruple Spin
This game is probably the easiest of all the games and great to get older family members or younger kids involved. It’s basically just spinning the candy cane on a table to complete the quadruple cane challenge!
Players: Each team needs 1 player
- One candy cane per teammate (plus a few extras in case one breaks)
- Table/surface with four sides
- Hershey kisses, colored dots, or really anything you could use to designate four different sides. You need one of each item per person playing. So for instance, we had four people playing so we had four gold kisses, four silver kisses, four red kisses, and four green kisses (four colors x four people)
How to Play:
Give each player a candy cane and have them pick a spot at a table. You probably don’t want more than four people playing at once unless it’s a really big table.
Place all of one color of the your kisses or other objects on one side of the table. Do the same with all four different colors, placing them on the four different sides of the table.
When you say go, players have to spin their candy cane. When the candy cane stops spinning, it will be pointing to one of the four sides (image an imaginary line going from the end out one of the sides). They should grab the item on that side (e.g., red kiss) and bring it back to their spot.
Spin the candy cane again and if it lands on a different side, grab the next item. If it lands on a side you’ve already completed, just spin again without grabbing anything.
Players keep spinning until someone has spun all four sides and grabs all four of the items. First player to complete all four sides wins.
5 – Candyboard
If you’ve ever played shuffleboard, this game is kind of like that but with what else? Candy canes!
Players: Each team needs just one player
- One candy cane per player
- Five marshmallows per player (or you can do 7 or 10, whatever you want) – I recommend different color marshmallows or marking the marshmallows in some way
- Painters tape or masking tape
How to Play:
Before your play, tape three lines of tape onto a table, spaced a little ways apart and at least a little ways away from the end of the table. These will be your scoring lines.
Give each player a candy cane and five marshmallows. To play, players take turns using the candy cane to push (or flick or whatever they want to do) a marshmallow down the table.
If they land the marshmallow in the first taped off space, they earn 3 points in the game, if they land it in the second taped off space, they earn 5 points, and the final taped off space is 10 points.
Take turns pushing marshmallows down the table. At the end of the 5 marshmallows, count up the number of points for each of the marshmallows.
Marshmallows only count if they are still on the table at the end of the round and if they are completely in the scoring sections, not touching the tape.
The team that gets the most total points wins a point for their team in the overall candy cane games!
6 – Candy Cane Canyoning
You’ve seen people rappel or canyon down mountains and cliffs right? This is a candy cane version of that fun sport!
Players: Each team needs 2 players
- One candy cane per teammate (plus extras in case they break)
- One plastic cup per team
- String that’s long enough to reach from the end of a table, over the table, and into a cup tied into a loop. For our table that is 40″ wide, we did a 12 foot string tied into a loop
How to Play:
Have one player on each of the teams sitting at the edge of the table and one player from the team standing on the other side of the table, a little bit back so they don’t get in way of the canyoning.
Give each team a string and a candy cane. Put a plastic cup at the bottom edge of the table on the opposite side of the players sitting. Make sure it’s placed in a spot that the candy canes on the strings can actually get into it (not too far forward or back).
When you say go, players must hook the candy cane on their string and do whatever they can (toss, slide, etc.) to get the candy cane from where they are to the inside of the cup.
- They must do this with one hand behind their back (so they can only use one hand)
- They cannot look under the table at any time to see the cup
Once the candy cane is over the edge of the table the second player on each team can help call out directions to get the candy cane into the actual cup. This makes it a lot more difficult (and funny) than if the first player simply looked under the table to direct their candy cane.
First player to get the candy cane totally into their cup wins a point for their team.
7 – Candy Cane Pond
This game is the equivalent of fishing for candy canes but with a little finesse! Fishing with finesse!
Players: Each team needs 1 player
- Large mason jar, candy, or some other heavy cylinder item you can put the plate on top of (so the candy canes hang down)
- Something large and heavy to put on the plate to weight it down
- A plastic plate with a slight rim on the sides (most plates have this)
- Seven candy canes per player (plus some extras in case one breaks)
- One plastic cup per player
How to Play:
Place your plate on top of the mason jar and add the weighted item in the middle. Hang six of the seven candy canes on the outside of the plate to create your fishing pond.
Place a plastic cup on the other side of the table, at least a few feet away.
Unwrap the final candy cane per person (at least the straight part of it, you can leave the curved part wrapped) and give it to the player.
When you say go, players must put their candy cane in their mouth and race to hook one of the candy canes from the plate onto their candy cane.
They then have to transfer that candy cane into the plastic cup to catch their cane.
Keep going until one players have successfully fished all six candy canes out of their fishing pond and into their cup. First person with all six candy canes wins!
8 – Candy Cane Catch
This is probably the most difficult of the ten games, this or the candy cane twirling marathon, but it’s definitely doable and pretty funny to watch!
Players: Each team needs two players
- One candy cane per team (plus extras in case candy canes break)
How to Play:
Have one player from each stand in a line side by side. Have their teammate stand opposite them, about three feet apart. You don’t want much further or this will be REALLY tough.
Give players on one side a candy cane.
When you say go, those players must toss the candy cane to their teammate who must attempt to catch the candy cane on one held out finger.
Any team who catches the candy cane scores a point for their team.
When you say go again, that teammate must toss it back to their teammate to catch on their finger.
Toss a total of six times (three per teammate) and whichever team catches it the most times wins.
If it’s a tie, do a sudden death round. Teams toss and catch and if they drop it, their team is out of the tiebreaker. Each round take a step back to make it more difficult (just for the tiebreaker, not the normal game). Last team standing wins a point for their team in the candy cane games.
9 – Candy cane golf
This is one of my favorite games in this entire series of candy cane games! It’s a great one for any age or skill level – just watch if a person has back or knee issues and can’t bend over.
Players: Each team needs 1 player (or you can do multiples and each player takes a turn)
- One large candy cane like this per teammate
- One marshmallow per teammate
- 3-5 plastic cups
How to Play:
Setup 3-5 golf course holes in your home (or game space) by designating a starting location for teeing off and putting a plastic cup somewhere as the hole.
They don’t need to be as difficult as say a regular mini golf course because the candy cane + marshmallow combination makes it challenging enough. Just put them a little ways away from each other so it’s not a one hit and done thing.
Play just like you would a mini golf game. Each player takes a turn teeing off and hitting from the starting spot for the first hole. After everyone hits their first shot, the further person away hits a second shot, then the next further away person, and so on.
Keep taking shots until you hit the cup with your marshmallow. Once everyone hits the cup with their marshmallow, move onto the second hole.
Keep track of how many hits total it takes to hit the cup for each hole. Add up your scores for each hole and the person with the least number of hits total wins a point for their team.
In case of a tie, set up one more hole. But this time, the teams in the tiebreaker get just one shot to try and hit the cup. Whoever comes closest to the cup on their first shot wins.
10 – Twirling Marathon
I recommend letting people practice this a few times before the actual competition – it’ll make it way more fun that way!
Players: Each team can have 1 player or the entire team can play
- One candy cane per teammate
How to Play:
Give everyone one regular size candy cane – ideally ones that have a little more space in their curved section than the super tight ones.
I recommend giving people a minute or two or practice this before you start the twirling marathon.
When you’re ready to start, count to three then say go. When you say go, everyone must start twirling the candy cane on one finger. As soon as someone either drops the candy cane or it stops spinning, they’re out.
Keep going until you everyone is out other than one person. That person wins the point for their team!
Candy Cane Game FAQs
I recommend leaving the candy canes wrapped unless there’s a particular game that calls for an unwrapped candy cane (I think just the candy cane pond game).
If someone breaks their candy cane, have extras on hand so they can grab a new one if the broken one isn’t usable. Luckily if a candy cane is wrapped, often times when it breaks it doesn’t actually separate and can still be used for plenty of these games.
I’ve linked to the types of candy canes (sticks, jumbo candy canes, etc.) on Amazon in each of the games above to give you an idea of what we used, but you can also find them at regular stores like Target, Walmart, etc. for MUCH cheaper. I got all of our supplies at Target in their Christmas section.
More Fun Christmas Games
- Christmas family feud
- Christmas rhyme game
- Christmas name that tune
- Christmas movie trivia games
- Christmas trivia
- Christmas bingo
Candy Cane Games Scorecard & Instructions
I’ve created a free printable candy cane games scorecard you can use to keep score! Either just print this out on regular card stock or get it blown up if you want a large scorecard the entire group can see all the time!
Plus, a PDF with written instructions you can download (since printing this page would be a lot). Enjoy!