5 Gross-Out Games for Kids

by Jenny Morrill

Kids have always been fascinated with the stuff adults try not to think about. Rude noises, bodily functions, and poop are part of most kids' repertoire of jokes, and toy companies have long been taking advantage of this. Some of the following games might be familiar to you—you might have even played them yourself at one point. But they all have one thing in common: you probably wouldn't play them in front of polite company.


Theme: Dog poop.
Object: Feed the dog and scoop up the "presents" he leaves behind.

Although invented in the late 1990s, Doggie Doo didn't reach the market until 2009. Now it's something of a household name, although not every parent is completely happy with the idea, and some have boycotted the game altogether.

Gameplay is pretty simple—feed the dog with special yellow "dog food," then roll the dice. The number on the dice is the number of times you must then pump the handle on the dog's lead. After a random amount of pumps, the "food" will come out of the dog's other end. Scoop the poop and you win!


Theme: Cow milking/cow pats.
Object: Milk the cow and try not to make the cow do a pat on you.

This game works in a similar way to Doggie Doo—you roll the dice then pull the cow's udders the corresponding number of times. Then the cow will either drop a pint of milk from its front (already in its bottle thankfully) or a cowpat from its behind.


Theme: Toilet blocking.
Object: Empty your “scuzz bucket” into the toilet and flush it.

Released in 1994 by Parker Brothers, Big John is the “electronic flush and burp game.” Each player has a bucket full of “scuzzies” (green balls of goo) which they have to empty into Big John and flush the handle. Big John then makes a flushing noise. However, if Big John gets too full, he will burp and release all the “scuzzies” out of his U-bend.

On one hand, this game might help younger kids along with toilet training. On the other hand, there's probably been a rise in the number of keys and wallets being flushed down the toilet since 1994.


Theme: Vomiting.
Object: Feed Ralph your leftover food, and try not to make him throw up.

It's probably obvious by now that most games of this ilk follow a similar pattern, and 1992's Eat At Ralph's is no exception. Roll the dice, then feed Ralph the corresponding amount of food. This game also has another option: if your dice lands on “stuff,” you can attempt to feed Ralph as much food as possible.

What happens when Ralph eats too much? You guessed it, he throws up all over the table. Thankfully, he only throws up the pretend food you just fed him. While the game would probably work just as well with actual food, any kids trying to make Ralph throw up the real stuff would likely find themselves grounded pretty quickly.


Theme: Nose-picking.
Object: Pick Louie's nose until his brains fly out of his head.

We've saved the worst for last. (Yes, this is more disgusting than a poop-scooping game.)

Louie is a plastic head with long strings of snot hanging from his nose. One of the snots is attached to his brain via a rubber band, and pulling that snot will cause his brain to break free and spring from the top of his head.

Why would anyone on Earth want to spend their time picking someone else's nose? There's possibly only one game that beats this: Piggin' Boogers.

With Piggin' Boogers, the snot is a lot more realistic than Gooey Louie's, considerably upping the gross-out factor. 

It's kind of like Russian Roulette, but with pig snot. Only one of the pigs has a snotty nose, and the goal is to guess which nose to stick your finger in. Technically, if you get the snotty nose you win, but in reality, that sounds like a loss.

The Surprising Reason Why Pen Caps Have Tiny Holes at the Top

If you’re an avid pen chewer, or even just a diehard fan of writing by hand, you’re probably well acquainted with the small hole that tops off most ballpoint pen caps, particularly those classic Bic Cristal pens. The reason it’s there has nothing to do with pen function, it turns out. As Science Alert recently reported, it’s actually designed to counter human carelessness.

Though it’s arguably unwise—not to mention unhygienic—to chomp or suck on a plastic pen cap all day, plenty of people do it, especially kids. And inevitably, that means some people end up swallowing their pen caps. Companies like Bic know this well—so they make pen caps that won’t impede breathing if they’re accidentally swallowed.

This isn’t only a Bic requirement, though the company’s Cristal pens do have particularly obvious holes. The International Organization for Standardization, a federation that sets industrial standards for 161 countries, requires it. ISO 11540 specifies that if pens must have caps, they should be designed to reduce the risk of asphyxiation if they’re swallowed.

It applies to writing instruments “which in normal or foreseeable circumstances are likely to be used by children up to the age of 14 years.” Fancy fountain pens and other writing instruments that are clearly designed for adult use don’t need to have holes in them, nor do caps that are large enough that you can’t swallow them. Any pen that could conceivably make its way into the hands of a child needs to have an air hole in the cap that provides a minimum flow of 8 liters (about 2 gallons) of air per minute, according to the standard [PDF].

Pen cap inhalation is a real danger, albeit a rare one, especially for primary school kids. A 2012 study [PDF] reported that pen caps account for somewhere between 3 and 8 percent of “foreign body aspiration,” the official term for inhaling something you’re not supposed to. Another study found that of 1280 kids (ages 6 to 14) treated between 1997 and 2007 for foreign body inhalation in Beijing, 34 had inhaled pen caps.

But the standards help keep kids alive. In that Beijing study, none of the 34 kids died, and the caps were successfully removed by doctors. That wasn’t always the case. In the UK, nine children asphyxiated due to swallowing pen caps between 1970 and 1984. After the UK adopted the international standard for air holes in pen caps, the number of deaths dropped precipitously [PDF]. Unfortunately, it’s not foolproof; in 2007, a 13-year-old in the UK died after accidentally swallowing his pen cap.

Even if you can still breathe through that little air hole, getting a smooth plastic pen cap out of your throat is no easy task for doctors. The graspers they normally use to take foreign bodies out of airways don’t always work, as that 2012 case report found, and hospitals sometimes have to employ different tools to get the stubbornly slippery caps out (in that study, they used a catheter that could work through the hole in the cap, then inflated a small balloon at the end of the catheter to pull the cap out). The procedure doesn’t exactly sound pleasant. So maybe resist the urge to put your pen cap in your mouth.

[h/t Science Alert]

Carnivorous Hammerhead Flatworms Are Invading France

It’s no hammerhead shark, but the hammerhead flatworm has become a real menace in France. Or at least a menace to earthworms, as Earther reports.

Believed to be an invasive species from Asia, the hammerhead flatworm was only recently recorded in France, as is documented in a new study (titled "Giant worms chez moi!") published in the journal PeerJ. However, based on reports, photographs, and videos sent in by citizens across the country, scientists determined the pests have gone undetected for nearly 20 years. This came as a shock, especially because the worms can measure more than a foot in length.

In recent years, three species of the carnivorous worm have quietly taken over French gardens and have even been spotted in metropolitan areas. Some species immobolize their prey with tetrodotoxin, the same powerful neurotoxin that makes pufferfish so poisonous. The worms secrete digestive enzymes, allowing them to dissolve earthworms and slugs their size.

Jean-Lou Justine, co-author of the study, says their eating habits are a concern. "Earthworms are a major component of the soil biomass and a very important element in the ecology of soils," Justine tells Earther. "Any predator which can diminish the populations of earthworms is thus a threat to soil ecology."

Archie Murchie, an entomologist who was not involved in the study, told The Washington Post that the worms will continue to spread in step with global trade. The worms were also seen in overseas French territories, including one worm with a blue-green hue that is probably a newly detected species, Murchie tells the newspaper.

[h/t Earther]


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